Day 121: A Elking we go

Went for my last nordic ski at Eldora of the year. A meandering, mellow effort over patchy snow melting way too fast. Lots of nordic this month, intersperced with bigger days in the hills.

We're off the Crested Butte for the Elk Mountain Traverse today. It's kind of been a motivator for us for the entire year, and it's exciting to finally have it here. I'll be honest – it's been hard to motivate for huge backcountry skis with the lousy March we've been having – evidently the warmest and dryest ever – but hopefully our skate skiing sessions will suffice. Either way, we've had a lot of fun.

It's hard to say how we'll do. Our goal is simple – finish, have fun, meet the cut-offs and see some really beautiful places. I'd say our weaknesses going in are a complete lack of course knowledge and some minor but nagging physical problems going on. A season crunched into the TLT-5's has not done wonders for my feet, but I think I've got a system dialed to get through the thing relatively pain free. Needless to say, the TLT-5's will be going away after this season.

I'd list our strengths as being backcountry skiing tested – none of our preparations happened in the gym, and until the last couple weeks or so – was very backcountry ski specific. Doing the Power of Four was invaluable and important lessons were learned. And finally, Elaine and I make a good team. We don't have anywhere close to the lung capacity, strength or experience as Kloser or Wickenhauser, but I'd put our strength of team – meaning understanding each other, in good and adversity, and genuinely putting aside all individual ego for the betterment of the team – up there with anybody. We both love adventure, backcountry skiing and mountains more than just about anything else out there. And we love each other. I didn't want to do the Elk Mountain Traverse…I wanted to do the Elk Mountain Traverse with Elaine. Anybody else would just be silly. There's no searching or dilemna if she is the perfect race partner. I already know she is, and the only way I'd want to do this is with her.

So there you have it. Race starts Friday at 11 pm mountain time. Friends and family can follow the race here: http://www.trackleaders.com/

Wish us luck. We'll probably need it!

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