Sharon Chen photo
It's headlamp racing season again! Put down the remote, step away from the elliptical, tell your boss you're coming down with the flu, and get yourself up to Cabin Creek, exit 63, for another round of Wednesday night Totally Dark Cross Country Ski Racing.
The rules, such as they are, are pretty simple: the course is two laps around the Berg loop for masters (there is a map inside the cabin if you're not sure of the Berg loop), one lap around for juniors. Start any time between 5:00 and 8:00; record your own time on the sign-in sheet in the cabin. Race against your training partner or your car-pool buddy, race against your own best time, or just enjoy the pure sensual pleasure of skiing fast in the dark, listening to the rustle of small animals, drinking in the fragrance of a cold dark winter night, with nothing but your own headlamp and the other headlamps twinkling in the forest for light. It's magical, and totally worth the bleariness of Thursday morning back at work.
The schedule is posted over there on the left side-bar, and race organizer Brent Turner sends us some tips:
- If you're skiing trails other than the race loop, ski with a friend. Cougars, owls, and hypothermia are lurking in the dark.
- The best headlamps for this kind of activity are 100 lumens or more, and can be had for about $50 to $100. Notice that our series sponsors are headlamp purveyors Petzl and Mila. Just sayin'.
- Safety and course conditions may dictate a change in the course on any given night, but we'll try to keep you up to date on this blog.
- All racers are welcome in the Kongsberger cabin and waxing shed for prepping skis, changing clothes and eating dinner, but be sure to carry out your own trash.
- Snow-park permits with a groomed trails sticker are required; car-pooling is a good idea.
- This is a non-sanctioned, unofficial, off-the-grid event, so don't be expecting course marshals and marked intersections and feed stations and a lit course. Be the light.
At the end of the season in mid-March, we'll have an awards party. The attendance award goes to the person who showed up and raced the most times in the season; you have to put down a time on the sign-in sheet to be eligible. Awesome prizes from Helly-Hansen will also go to age group placers up to the top five, with weighted results: first in class with five people racing that night gets five points; first in class with two racing gets two points. Get it? Go!