Friday, January 20, 2006

Racing and Touring

The difference between racing and touring is science.

The racer will follow carefully designed plans for nutrition and exertion in order to achieve maximum performance on race day. The racer will pay meticulous attention to ski base preparation and waxing on a molecular level.

Some would say that's the difference between racing and fun.

Some racers are more devoted to details than others, but all of them seem to be able to sling the lingo.

It does appear that the more focused you are the better you will perform. So if that is your idea of fun, you will enjoy it.

I hate to be forced to choose very specific activities all year long just to improve performance in one season. A season like we're having right now shows that you can't count on getting to do what you've trained for. Skiing evolved where warm or snowless winters were rare. We've simply transplanted it to places that seemed wintry to us at the time, but are pale imitations of skiing's ancestral home. And as the climate changes they are getting even more feeble.

New England used to boast of "eight months of winter and four months of poor sledding." It was probably always an exaggeration. Now it's more like "two months of summer and ten months of challenging biking."

Of course I hope it gets better. There's certainly room for improvement right now.

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