Off to Canada

Lucy and DH left for Canada after school Friday afternoon. They and Lucy’s lifelong friend Hannah are going to cross-country ski parts of the Canadian Ski Marathon again. The marathon bills itself as a ski tour, not a race, as the course is 160 km (100 miles) and competitors ski as few or as many sections as they choose. Lucy and Hannah’s goal is to surpass their achievement of 85 km (51 miles) last year.

They have been getting ready for this big ski for months, in rotten conditions.

There has been so little snow this winter that the school’s cross-country ski team has trained by skiing on lakes and short, shoveled tracks.

They have also done a lot of hikes and calisthenics. Without snow, they didn’t have many options.

The man in charge of the after-school program told me in disgust, “This is the first year we’ve had to do ‘dry-land training’ right into February!”

When life has been too busy or another disastrous melt was predicted, Lucy and DH have skied together before dawn and after sunset, with headlamps.

After we got 4″ of snow last week, DH used his cell phone to take a movie of Lucy skiing and then annotated these frames with analysis to help her improve her skiing form.

This is the sort of nerdy, even obsessive, attention to detail that both DH and I enjoy.

Lucy likes it too.


DH has been the cross-country ski coach here most years since 1982. Over the decades he has kept records of children’s best race times. (Some of those children are now sending their own children to school and camp.)

Lucy is determined to try to beat the girls’ record before she graduates next year.

DH always says he is not a natural athlete, not gifted with talent or speed. He says he just has determination and persistence.

Lucy takes after him.

Two nights before they left for Canada, Lucy came down with a stomach flu. Oh, no! Few things could be less appealing when you’re suffering from intestinal distress than going for a 50-mile ski. We were all depressed.

However, by Friday morning she could keep down toast. By lunch she could eat a full meal. And by 3:00 PM she was helping DH pack the car.

The weather is due to be bitterly cold. It is 8° below zero here at 5 AM. I hope they have fun!

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