Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I can be stubborn. I don't give up easily. That certainly wouldn't be consistent with a triathlete, especially one who has finished two IMs. I've only quit one sport in my life. Freshman HS baseball. Let's face it- swimmers aren't coordinated, and don't excel at ball sports. Baseball is the antithesis of swimming. It's all about coordination, and often has nothing to do with conditioning. What kind of sport has it's players sprint just a few times over the course of a three hour game? A sport where George Scott, Mo Vaughan, David Ortiz, David Wells can excel...is it a real sport?

I've skied my whole life, and am pretty good at it. Two winters ago, my downhill skis delaminated. I tried to get them fixed three times, but they wouldn't hold. So a friend suggested at a party (drinking may have affected my judgement) that I give snowboarding a try. Our sons, who are good friends, both do it, and he picked it up the previous winter and loved it. The simplicity, lower cost and adventure were appealing. I also thought it would be a good bonding experience with Nick. So on December 26 2008, I took a lesson. I stayed on the bunny hill with the magic carpet. Traverse hill, sit down, flip the board over, traverse, repeat, repeat. The last run before lunch, I took the beginner's chair up for a longer run, and did fairly well. So I went into lunch full of confidence and pronounced, "We're going up!" Holy shit, was I wrong. To make a long story short, the next morning I felt like I had been hit by a Mack truck.

Numerous people told me it takes three days for snowboarding to click. So I went up to Sunday River with Nick and friend and rented a board again. It went a bit better, barely, but well enough for me to come home and buy my very own board & boots. Cool. I'm a shredder. Then towards the end of the next day, this time at Sugarloaf, it clicked. I got it.

Fast forward to Saddleback in March, where I has a slow-speed crash, forcing my elbow into my ribs, cracking one or more. That was the end of my season, and caused a serious dent in my training schedule.

This past Sunday was our first day of the season. I was a little nervous starting out, hoping I didn't forget it all. I actually thought about starting on the magic carpet, but went with Ed (the same guy who suggested I get into this GD sport in the first place) and his other son up the lower chair. I started nice and easy, slowly regaining form and confidence. It was going really well, and was fun.

Around 1:30, we went up the Barker Chair to the top, and headed for an intermediate trail. The first half is a narrow trail, and the covering was thin. I was ever so slightly out of control, nothing ridiculous, had my back facing downhill, caught my downhill edge, and went down very hard. In hindsight, I think I started my turn too soon because of the width of the trail. I hit hard just above my tailbone, about belt level, then whipped down to the ground, with my head hitting really hard. If I didn't have a helmet on, I'd be somewhere between badly hurt and dead. I instantly knew I'd pay for this. After lying there for a minute or two, I tried to get up and move to the side. My right elbow wouldn't support my weight. Shit, that hurts. I moved to the side, and tried to gather myself. I didn't think I had a concussion or that anything was broken, so we slowly headed down. I figured I would see how everything progressed before I headed out again. The pain all over got worse, and I got pissed.

Yesterday, the day after the fall, I was on the road for work. I could barely turn the key in the ignition or move the gearshift. I tried to swim today, but only lasted for 50 yds. of swimming and 300 yds of kicking. Shit, shit, shit. I was on a streak of 13 weeks in a row of a minimum of 10,000 yds/wk, and was swimming really well. There goes the streak. The good news is I ran 4.5 this morning and was fine.

So back to the title of this post....I QUIT. I'm going to sell the snowboard & boots and buy some skis. I have good boots and bindings, so I shouldn't have to empty the bank. Now I'll be able to do an entire mountain, be more aggressive (within reason), and have more fun.

The next two weeks are a bit lighter for training due to family schedules, then it's into 5 weeks before the Cape Midwinter 10 mi roadrace. I'm really looking forward to mixing it up again.


  1. Guess that's why they say it's a young kids' sport :) Glad you're not hurt too seriously

  2. WOW! Sorry to hear about your fall. I'm glad you're OK though! It was great to see you today and I look forward to joining you guys for a swim soon. Thanks for the invite.

  3. oh no! Only 50 yards huh...I'm sorry. Great job with the >10000 week streak though!
    snowboarding would most definately kill me too. I'm glad you weren't more seriously hurt.
    MERRY CHRISTMAS !!! hope to see you soon..

  4. I can't even ski, let alone snowboard. :) Glad you chucked it! haha!
    Is the arm/elbow/shoulder okay? Did you get it checked out?

  5. Damn straight. Glad to see you're returning bcak to skiing.

    (Signed, a former ski racer...)