In the final days of the 2010-11 cross-country ski season there are moments for reflection.  Thoughts turn to past skis with snow so white juxtaposed against a blue sky worthy of a poster in a visitor’s center.  Wicked winds that blew snow sideways for all 40 kilometers of a ski race and obscured the trail.  Intervals that hurt but made me feel faster after having finished them.  Races results with personal bests.  What strikes me this time of year is the fact that I keep skiing.  The competitive season is over.  It would be far more productive to exchange skis for running shoes or a cycling kits and prepare for approaching events in each of those disciplines.  Why ski in wet spring snow that sucks the skis to a slow crawl?  Perhaps it is because the season lasts only four months and the uncertainty of next winter’s snow leaves some anxiety.  The reality is that skiing seems to fill some unquenchable thirst.  The solitude and rhythm of a stride or skating motion tapped out over a variety of terrain matches some universal metronome.  The results of each race do not carry forward but the landscape and moments I encountered stride confidently into the summer months to nourish my passion for a coming winter.

Winning did not alter my passion for the sport.  Getting better each season has sustained me.  The never ending improvements that come with repetition and commitment regardless of scale has become my definition of winning.  What is yours?

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