I'm planning lots of hill repeats on my roller skis this summer, but I don't expect applause every time, or people calling out, "Hip hip, roller skiers!", or little girls, fingers in their mouths, shyly telling me they wish they could do that. No, that was special, and that was yesterday, when the first hill repeat of the summer coincided with Ballard's 17th of May (Norwegian Constitution Day) celebration and parade. This year is the 200th anniversary of Norway's Constitution, the 125th anniversary of the parade in Seattle, and the 60th birthday of the Kongsberger Ski Club -- a special day indeed!
Kongsbergers traditionally roller ski in the parade, but attendance has been a little sparse the last couple of years. With all the big landmarks this year, Rune put out the call for more participants, and we heeded the call -- 32 members showed up, about half of us roller skiing, the rest carrying the flags of Norway, Sweden, and Canada, and the club's flag.
Joy organized an after-party at Hale's Brew Pub, so I gathered up a posse (Rune, Peter, Per, Rob, and Greg) to join me in leaving our cars at Hale's and roller skiing through the mean streets of Ballard, dodging bikes and cars, up the long gentle hill that is 24th NW, past the crowds that had already gathered, to the start of the parade route. Thanks, guys -- that would have been a lot less fun by myself! I like to roller ski in the parade in a ruffled polka-dot skirt, and I give myself points for every little girl who stares at me with great big eyes and says, "I want to do that!" You can, little girl, and someday you will. Maybe you'll be the next Holly Brooks!
On our way back down 24th, officially in the parade this time, the roller skiers skied big loops down the street and back up again as we made our way down to Market Street. Peter and Rune added a fun twist: they turned each of their uphills into a sprint, racing each other back up the hill, Rune double poling and Peter skating. It was a big hit with the spectators, showing them what real, elite-level masters skiing looks like!
We turned off 24th onto Market, where everyone safely negotiated the war zone of potholes and cracked pavement, circled Market a couple of times, and finally regathered at the end of the parade route. From there, Peter and Rob and Greg and I skied back to Hale's and joined everyone else for scrumptious food and delicious beer and conversation and merriment.
It was a super fun evening -- many thanks to Rune for inspiring us and to Joy for organizing the after-party and to everyone who showed up and rolled or carried a flag or walked (especially the unbeatable Aase, who walked the route with crutches after breaking her hip last month -- amazing!). Roller skiing by myself for the rest of the summer is going be awfully quiet.
Hurra for Syttende Mai!