Vakava Team Photo

Vakava Team Photo
Vakava Racers at the Mora Last Chance Race

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Selling My Soul and other Musings

Well, after much debate I did it.

And now I’m a bit more like Erik, who I swear has just about a pair of Salomon boots for every pair of skis he has because none of his boots and bindings are compatible!

So what am I talking about? The plight of the pilot bindings...what else?

Back in high school, 16 years ago, half my life ago, I got my first pair of skate boots and they were pilots- all the rage in the Nordic ski world. It was 2001 afterall and the Olympics were coming to Salt Lake City in a few months. And since then, I’ve been a pilot devotee. I love Salomon boots on my feet (well, not completely, but we’ll say 90% of the time which is bound to happen when spending lots of time in boots) and when I’ve demoed some not-to-be-mentioned other brands, my feet have screamed “get these off me now!”
My old quiver of skate skis, all with old pilot bindings. From left to right: my rock skis  that were my race skis in high school and early college; my race skis (obviously a decade old- the graphics don't lie); my B skis.

But alas, as the demise of the pilots has been foreshadowed over the past couple years and I’m desiring some new skate skis and some new boots, I have really procrastinated (and those of you who know me know I don’t procrastinate much). I was also kind of waiting for those new carbon Salomon skate skis to come out in my tiny 177 cm size. So when Devin at Finn Sisu finally secured me a pair, I had to decide on bindings. My current black beauty ski boots are 9 years old. Being a pilot devotee, I scoured the websites from every store I know in the Midwest and no one had a single pilot boot in my size. I’m sorry to report for all you other pilot devotees out there...pilots are dead:(

So to not delay the inevitable any longer, I got some Prolink bindings and switched one pair of bindings on another pair of skis. Walking out the door with my first non-pilot skate bindings in half my life felt, well, akin to something like selling my soul!
Ecstatic about my new carbon skate skis!!! Photo: Devin
My first ever NNN bindings. I may be smiling on the outside but on the inside I was crying. Photo: Devin

A few weeks later, over the holidays, I was out skiing with my brother.

“Sister, what kind of binding are those?” he asked rhetorically. “Sister, wow, you made the big switch!”

Intervals on the busy Elm Creek hamster loop: It just so happened that my first day on snow this winter I decided to do intervals. Now some might say this is not the best plan, but that week I wasn’t motivated to do my intervals running, bounding, or rollerskiing; I was motivated to do them skiing. I also figured that there is no better way to work on ski speed than by skiing fast, so why not do intervals my first time on snow for the season? I did my intervals skating and tried to work on my balance. It was extra difficult because there were some icy patches on the machine made loop and the donut hill. Since it was a weekend there was also lots of people dodging but I got my intervals done and added to my skills of skiing through traffic.

The next week I did intervals again on the hamster loop. This time I did classic intervals. It was the weekend again and very busy. Unlike the week before, being in the classic tracks it became so much more obvious how I passed a lot of people during my intervals and then these same people passed me back up while I was “resting” and skiing slowly. Normally I don’t do intervals in front of so many other people and I was a bit self-conscious of my uneven pacing even though this was quite intentional. I was wondering if these people were wondering why I would ski so fast, blow up, rest, then ski so fast again. Hopefully they caught on that I was doing intervals and not skiing stupid!
Me skiing at the Nordic Opener at Elm Creek on Dec 9, 2017. It seemed the crowds came in waves and this was a more quiet time. Photo: Bruce Adelsman

Indoor Running: The Minnesota Distance Running Association (MDRA) sponsors the US Bank Stadium run. This is not a race but a chance to do some indoor running during the winter without dealing with cold temps, darkness, or snow and ice. Check out the website:

Erik and I decided to do this one night. It was a good experience and a nice way to see the stadium for only $3! The loop is 0.44 miles. It was fairly cool in the stadium so I didn’t sweat too much. Even though I’m not a very good runner, I was still pleased to be passing many people in the “slow lane.” There is also a ramp on the east side of the stadium that can be used for hill repeats if you are interested. Despite the relatively short loop, I kept myself plenty occupied between people watching, looking at everything in the stadium, and trying to get some glimpses of downtown as I ran by the windows. The only downside is running on concrete. Usually MDRA hosts a few runs per months but this year due to the Super Bowl there are no runs in January. There are some February dates and I’m guessing they will sponsor this again next year!
Erik snapped this photo of my running inside US Bank Stadium. He said it was uber artistic. In case you find it too blurry, that's me running with the football field in the background.

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