The Sleeping Giant Loppet: One Step, Slip and Stride at a Time Part II

By Bobbi Henderson

I’m practically floating across the freshly groomed trail, and the bright warm sun is beaming upon my face where it finds a cheery grin. It’s race day. I’m at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, and off to a terrific start in my solo skate dance. I glance back to see all eyes upon me as I push into my highest gear. In that instant I become ashamedly aware that, aside from my boots, poles and skis, I am skiing the Loppet naked! Snapping awake, I angrily heave the covers back from my greedy, comforter hogging bedmate and realize that, despite being into my third week of skate skiing lessons, I have some serious insecurities to overcome!

I admit, this recent cold weather has led me to wimp out of the practice my conscience is telling me I so desperately need. And I was somewhat relieved when I learned that our lesson was cancelled this week due to the extreme temperatures. My thoughts reflected to last week and our very patient instructor, Kim, who after skiing with our snail-like group, may be missing some fingers and toes. At the end of the last lesson, I suggested to him that, if he planned to ski with us, he may want to consider warmer attire.

During a practice at Kamview last Saturday morning—finally blessed with fresh fallen snow—I felt a twinge of pride as I zipped past our instructor, Jen, as she cheerfully encouraged me (the fact that she was skiing in the classic lane with two pros posing as six year olds is irrelevant and shall never be mentioned again). Satisfied to be making long strides, learning to effectively shift my weight, and offsetting uphill face-plant free, I am beginning to see how this can turn into an obsession. I’ve had momentary glimpses of the speed I could be achieving while going over the instruction checklist in my mind. Making subtle adjustments in my technique really helps to propel me forward at an invigorating pace; however, the two guys who lapped me three times on the beaver trail are a good indication of how far I still have to go. Show offs!

This is the second in a series of blogs about Bobbi’s transition from classic to skate skiing in preparation for the Sleeping Giant Loppet. You can read her first blog here.

Bobbi and her sons after an afternoon of skiing at Kamview