Today my family raced the Yuletide Blast at Highlands Nordic. This is the first time everyone has raced at the same event. Normally race weekends have Dad captaining the wax room for our team, Mom shuttling and snapping pics like a pro, and me and Ryan racing. So to have everybody putting on the race bib was a nice change of pace.
I’ve been home for about a week now and head back up to Thunder Bay around Boxing Day. It’s only a short stint here in the SOD so I’m making sure to enjoy it. The skiing has been really good, full coverage at Hardwood meant I could ski all my favourite trails, including the re-opened Meadowlands loop. Being home and getting to ski with the Hardwood bro-squad, my parents, old Highlands family, and to just see so many familiar faces on the trails at at the Yuletide was really nice.
All the small reunions I’ve experienced over the past week got me thinking – is this what the holidays are really about? With this year being my first spent away from home I think I’ve come to realise and develop a greater appreciation for family and what it means to me. (There are a lot of thoughts flying around my head right now that I want to talk about but I’ll try and keep this concise and coherent.)
I guess the best way to do this would be to introduce you to my family.
This is my dad, Eric. He’s a pretty cool guy. In the winter he volunteers for Team Hardwood in the wax room, piloting the mission for fast skis. He also enjoys skiing on his own, especially when the wax is good and his skis are fast and the trails aren’t too crowded. In the spring and summer he spends a lot of time riding his bikes. He’d never be the one to tell you, but he’s quite a good cyclist. This year he actually did some cyclocross racing, won some races, and had a lot of fun with it. I always look forward to going for mountain bike rides with my Dad when I’m home in the summer and fall. Other than fast skis and bikes, my Dad is passionate about homemade bread and anything interesting or technical. He’s pretty awesome.
This is my mom, Nancy. She thinks she’s funny… Okay sometimes she is. Like my dad, my mom is pretty involved in skiing and other sport stuff. She’s done the Canada Ski Marathon about 400 times (6 of which were the “Gold” which earned her a permanent gold bib, #251), has run almost the entire Bruce Trail, has run a marathon in every province, was 2nd at the World Duathlon Championships when they were held in Cornerbrook (look out Nationals, our family has a history of racing fast in NFLD!), and sinks like a brick in the pool. One of her next goals is to complete 25 marathons in 25 years (she only needs 3 more and has 7 years to do it) and I have been recruited to run the 25th marathon with her when I turn 25. I’ve got a few years to get ready – can’t let her beat me! Even though she is pretty awesome.
This is my brother, Ryan. He is a junior boy of few words, but when he does speak… you will feel the reverberations of his sonorous voice through your bones and soul. Ryan is two years younger than me and also races for Team Hardwood. This past spring, after some wicked awesome races at Nationals (2nd in the sprint quali, and 2nd in the 7.5km classic), he retired from competitive swimming to actually train for skiing. Other than growing epic hair, Ryan enjoys hanging out with his pet turtle, Doug, training with the other TH bros, eating copious amounts of food, and sleeping. One of the things I look forward to most when I come home is getting to train and hang out with Ryan. He’s getting real fast now so hopefully he’ll be patient and ski good and slow with me when I’m around. Ryan and his hair are both pretty awesome.
Coming home and racing the Yuletide this weekend has reconnected me with my biological family, and my Highlands and Hardwood ski families. It’s been so great seeing everybody and getting a chance to chat and catch up. I’m torn over having to fly back up to Thunder Bay so soon because I want to stay here for longer, but I’m also experiencing some serious withdrawal from my NDC family. Alas, I must persevere. The good thing about being a skier and travelling is that everyone tends to travel to the same places. So it won’t be long before I get to see my southern friends again.
Well, I’m off now to a Christmas dinner with some of my high school amigos. This dinner is a tradition that has been going on for, well I guess 5 years now – crazy! The only catch with it is that it’s supposed to be semi-formal. Last year I trolled and wore this:
I mean, it is semi-formal attire, right?
Anyways, I hope you are enjoying the winter break and are spending some quality time with your friend’s and family’s. Best wishes, and happy holidays.