The high on the way down
Happy New Year!
I’ve done a count. There are 33 days until Maria and I don trainers, caps and god-knows-what else and head into the Andes using just our legs and feet. Is that exciting or what? Cruce de los Andes 2012 here we come!
I’ve been skiing over the past week, so although the trainers never got used, I am happy that my legs got hours of workout each day. There was also a path that snaked down to the lower level of the resort, which I endeavoured to walk up instead of taking the lift (though not in ski boots, I am no sadist as much as that). I did consider taking a day to do some snow mountain walking and then thought, This is my yearly skiing holiday, why don’t I just ski!?
However, while we would be whizzing down pistes, there were plenty of those muscle maniacs walking UP the mountain on skis. With thighs that put rugby players to shame, they power up the side of the slopes inch by inch. One day in the morning, we saw a couple of blokes doing just that. They had just started and were towards the bottom, facing that never-ending line of whiteness. We skied all day across the whole mountain and over the other side. On our last run down, those two men were about 500 metres from the top. Five or so hours of some near vertical going UP.
UP. On skis. Why?
And then I thought. We love a challenge. After the physical battle with gravity and nature to get up there, what a thrill it must be to ski down knowing it was your sheer power which had got you to the top. What a high, what freedom, what joy.
That’s why we put ourselves through painful runs and training, live through aching muscles and niggles and have to sometimes say no to life in order to rest, recover and run again. The sweat, the disappointments and the agony along the way is all because of that one thing:
The high of the finishing line; the high of that downhill you deserve, which you made all by yourself.