This post is a little bit “late”, but after some fantastic inspiration over the last 48 hours, I have been called to finish it…Better late than never!
I finally understand why Whatcom County’s world-class 100 mile “Ski to Sea” race event is so popular locally and abroad. It’s not common for a city and county to be able to host such an epic event and and make it all “work”. This is what makes this little haven in the Pacific Northwest so epic. the 100th (annual) Ski to Sea race reminded me why I am right where I need to be at this point in my life.
Let me explain…
5 am: Race Day
WAKE UP!!! Everything’s ready to go…The coffee pot is steaming hot from the the 4:45am preset so we grab our cups and hop in the mountain rig to travel 56 long miles up highway 542 East (to Mt. Baker Ski area). The trip starts in North Bellingham and ends up at the top of Mt. Baker Ski area. At 7:30, The roads close about half-way up Mt. Baker Highway (for the safety of participants) so being on time is essential.
In some instances, as a first-leg racer, you’d be dropping off a canoe and two teammates at the Nooksack river in the small town of Everson. Fianally, you would also likely drop off a road biker about 8-miles before reaching the top of the mountain. Now if your whole team car-pooled for the race, you are one of three people left in the rig: A cross-country skier, a hiker/snowboarder (or skier), and/or a runner. Your last-leg kayaker is probably still back at camp enjoying the fact that they get to sleep in for a couple more hours.
So what’s next? 500 cross-country skiers gather around a start gate to anxiously wait the big blast-off. Families, friends, volunteers, helicopters and photographers gather around to catch a piece of history.
BLAST OFF! 500 x-country skiers take off in a cluster of epic proportions.
Next leg (mine): Hike halfway up a mountain and ski or snowboard down…Hand off to the runner, who then hands off to the road biker who hands off to the canoer who hands off to a mountain biker who hands off to the final leg kayaker who finishes the 100 mile race in beautiful Fairhaven in front of a anxious and energized crowd. The finish line festivities are something can only be truly appreciated by being there.
With that said, I hope that someday you can have the opportunity to experience the this epic and delightful day. It has changed me. It has changed our community. It is Whatcom county, and in my opinion, the Pacific Northwest at it’s absolute best.