Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Defeated and Itching.....

Let me just start by saying that Poison Oak sucks.

In a recent post, it was revealed that in Amsterdam, while Chelsey and I were busy training with the legendary Spider Man, Daniel was meeting with Darth Vader – apparently making some sort of dark pact to ensure our continued success in our expeditions and adventure racing.

Chelsey and I were a bit shocked when we were told of this development, but remained open as Daniel explained that the “Jedi force” and the “dark side” were essentially just flip sides of the same coin. He further reasoned, “We’ve been playing with that Jedi energy for a while, don’t you think it is time we explored the whole package? After all, what are the yamas without the niyamas? Asana without pranyama? Yoga without Slackcrs?”

Apparently, Lord Vader had initially requested that we sacrifice Chelsey, in return for ultimate domination of the adventure racing world. In the end, a lesser price of five Euros was arranged (the recession has been hard on the bad guys too).

We were all a bit skeptical of the deal.

This past weekend, was the Coast to Crest race, where we found ourselves facing strong competition – including Feed the Machine, True Grit, and the 2 time national Champions DART/Nuun/Sport Multi. DART is a team we’d long looked up to, and in their nine years together they have dominated the sport in the US.

I’d raced against them 5 or 6 times in the last two years, and always come up short. But this time we were sure it would be different. We’d won our last 4 races easily, and figured the five euro bribe would act as additional insurance.

Our two teams (DART and YogaSlackers) headed out strong on the initial ocean kayak, soon putting a gap between ourselves and the rest of the field. DART set a blistering pace on the first long bike leg and gained nearly 40 minutes on us. I can’t remember ever feeling so helpless, trying to keep pace with them as they passed. We’d just returned from the s5 expedition in Scotland, and hadn’t ridden for over a month – apparently the dark side is not a substitute for bike training.

We spent the next 20 hours trying desperately to catch up – closing the gap during the trekking legs (we ran almost the entire foot section), only to make small navigation mistakes in our haste. In the end, we finished over an hour behind DART – in 2nd place.

Our initial disappointment gave way to relief as we hung around the finish eating breakfast burritos and waiting for other teams to come in.

We still had something to aspire to. Something to train towards. It was obvious to us that we’d need to rely on hard work rather than promises from someone dressed in black. We all agree – we are done with the Vader.

The worst part of the whole thing though is this – Poison Oak. We bushwhacked through it for hours – somehow thinking that a win over DART would be worth the itching leather skinned ramifications.

But we didn’t win, and the Tecnu showers were too little too late. So now, as Chelsey and I drive to Seattle for an Acrobatics training intensive – our true test of will begins. We try to call on all the Jedi tricks we know, using the power of the mind, prana, the force, meditation, anything….to keep from tearing at our skin like crazed animals looking for a moment of peace.

As I sit here typing, I can feel the battle being lost. My will is weak. My fingers begin to lightly “caress” the inflamed areas. And I find myself wondering as my fingernails brush the raised skin. If ever there was a plant aligned with evil and suffering, it is Poison Oak….perhaps I should give the Dark Lord one more chance.

I’m willing to risk another 5 Euro.

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