Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Sea to Ski II

Sunshine!  This actually looks fun!
Last year Aurora had so much fun doing the Sea to Ski that the rest of the family decided we had to join in the fun.  It was on Easter Sunday, but we still managed to get to church, go register, change and grab a bit to eat and still stood around enjoying the sunshine and chatting with our fellow racers for an hour.

This year was a classic "Homer weather" race day.  It was warm (probably mid-40's) and calm while waiting for the race to start, but then a chilly breeze kicked up, coming off the water and by time the run started my hands were blocks of ice.  But then, I wasn't running the race, so no problem!

Aurora and a friend were doing the "ironwoman"--the entire 5k run, 7k bike and 5k ski--but just "for fun," not racing hard.  Denver, Douglas and I were racing as a team:  Denver was running, Douglas was biking and I was skiing.  So when the kids took off running, we got in the car and drove to West Homer Elementary to the beginning of the bike stage.  The run is flat or slightly uphill the whole way along the Sterling Highway, so it's pretty comfortable.  The kids got in at just about the same time.  Aurora pulled on a helmet and hopped on her bike while Denver tagged Douglas and away he went.

Bikes all lined up for pickup at West Homer School.
Denver, tired out from his run, and I hopped in the car and drove up Baycrest Hill to Roger's Loop to the start of the ski loop.  I got my boots on and got Aurora's ski gear ready (boots, poles & skis) for her to hop into.  Waiting for Douglas was fun at first.  It was sunny, everyone was chatting and people came through regularly....but then it got cloudy and started snowing.  I was dressed for skiing, not for standing around, so it seemed like an eternity before he came in.  As you can see from the pictures, it really WAS snowing!
This looks wet, cold and not-so-fun!  I think the sunglasses were for the sun, not for snow protection!
The biking section goes from West Homer Elementary, out onto the Sterling Highway, up West Hill, up the gravel Highland Drive (I kid you not about the up, up, up!  It's 900 feet UP!), and finally peaks and there were a few downhills as Highland turned into Sprucewood and then onto Roger's loop.  Of course, as you can see, it wasn't a dirt road as much as it was an icy, slushy, snow-covered road, varying depending on the elevation.  I was listening to stories of people talking about their falls (and how many), their almost-falls, and their avoided-falls.  People with toe clips were a bit nervous.  There's one pretty good-sized downhill with a curve at the bottom that sanity says one should take slow 'n easy.  Very exciting!

And this just looks plain crazy! 

Ready to ski--the easy leg of the race!
Finally Douglas came in and tagged me off and away I flew!  The ski section is pretty flat with just a couple little uphills, so it was fun though the final section was a bit slushy.  It was still snowing, but hey, it wouldn't be a Sea to Ski if the weather weren't a tad crazy.  Aurora came in after Douglas and she and her friend skied off and Douglas loaded up the bikes and drove to the DOT parking lot just down the road a 1/2 mile or so to the finish.

Standing around at the finish, the sun was almost peeking back out and it was nice out.  Aurora stood around in her shorts (And actually put on a sweatshirt.  I was impressed.).  The snack table was awesome, with a nice mix of healthy and unhealthy snacks, juices and whatnot. The awards are worth waiting for because nearly every racer and volunteer ends up winning something!  We didn't win the race, but we did pretty well on the prizes, taking home a pound of Captain's Coffee, a gift card to Captain's Coffee, socks, a neckwarmer, fresh oysters, and some ski wax.  The door prizes took almost 40 minutes, and as we were standing there, we could see the snow falling over Diamond Ridge, moving our way.  Pretty soon it was snowing again and people were shivering, eager to get in their cars and head home to Easter dinners.

If we can, this will be on our list of races to do next year.  Denver is determined to do the whole thing himself, and Douglas wants to run rather than bike (guess he didn't like the icy roads and snow!).  I'm actually contemplating doing the whole thing.  If Denver can do it, I can!

(Thanks, Don Pitcher, for the pictures of us racing.

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