From the sublime to the ridiculous. Two weeks ago I was racing in sunshine and short sleeves; this weekend I was heading up to Edmonton for the Canadian Birkie, an awesome-sounding 55k point-to-point race in a Unesco biosphere, rolling trails through a hardwood forest and across lakes. What's not to love about that? And if I finished, I was going to get a special award for completing all three Birkebeiners: Norwegian, American, and Canadian. I would be traveling with some fun guys and staying in a nice hotel and probably having some excellent meals, oh, and a fabulous ski. Jim had warned me it could be "butt-naked cold," but I wasn't worried; I'm pretty tough, and I have warm clothes, and I thrive in difficult conditions.
But then I started following the Edmonton weather forecast and the polar vortex that was consuming the entire midwest, and I watched the predicted race-day temperature get lower and lower and lower, into Jupiterian double-digit negatives. I don't even know what this means in human terms!
On Tuesday, as the forecast "high" continued to plummet, the race organizers got together and reluctantly decided to cancel the race, rightly citing safety factors for both skiers and volunteers.
But first, the cold and snow have hit Seattle, and it's time to play!
PS. Today, Birkie Day, it was a fresh -37C in Edmonton. I think everyone is happy the race was canceled! But I still wanted an adventure, and Snowmageddon had dumped a good six inches of snow at my house, so I stepped into my skis from my back porch and went street skiing. I skied down to the locks, then, in a cold north wind and spitting snow, out to Golden Gardens. I skied on the beach -- how many times do you get to say that! -- and watched some seriously expert kite surfers put on an amazing aerial show for the few people standing on the beach. Then I skied back home, back up the long hill. It was not the adventure I had planned for today, but it was a marvelous adventure all the same.