Wednesday, January 23, 2002 - Perspective
X-C.com Team Update

- By: Werner Schwar

Hello everyone,

I am still alive after releasing that top secret Finn training workout in my last report. The skiing has been good for a while now, and today we were able to ski the entire 12 km loop at Lappe.

I write this as a racer who has felt all dressed up for the last few weeks with no where to go. Not being able to travel to far away races has meant, that other than the Boxing Day Race and our local Wednesday Night Race series, this skier has yet to ski in a real race this year and January is almost over.

Instead of bemoaning that fact, I will look at the positive aspects of this, believe it or not there are some. Since I have no races to report on, I will take the opportunity to be somewhat philosophical. I have had time to train now and feel ready to race and indeed have great desire to do so. More importantly though is that I have been able to give something back to the sport of skiing by sharing some of my time helping others with their skiing. Personally I feel this is necessary if our sport is to prosper in the future.

I have now been racing for over twenty years, yes before those that are juniors now were born. Something I have always been puzzled about is the number of people I have known ski racing that seem to have vanished from the ski world altogether. Some may say they got a life, or finally kicked the habit, but I feel this is really unfortunate. Yes as you get older, it is harder to be competitive and family and a job leave little time for training. But I ask so what? Put that ego aside and compete to just challenge yourself, have fun and enjoy the sensation of wanting to throw up as you crest the hill. Even if you don't want to compete there are many ways to stay involved and share the knowledge you have. Be a member of you ski club's executive, teach a masters group or help coach a racing rabbit group one night a week. Even an old guy like me can help push the young guys and girls and keep them honest in time trials and workouts.

Personally I never thought of myself as a role model or teacher, but I was amazed how appreciative people are when you are willing to take a few minutes to help them. They see you as a real person and not just an elite egocentric racer. In addition you get to subtly promote your sponsored products to those people that see what you wear and use.

We all can do our part to promote our sport. Even if it is as little as saying hello to someone you are passing on the trail, or making a wax suggestion to someone struggling up a hill. Get involved with your club and keep racing. Everyone needs to realize they are an ambassador of our sport.

Happy skiing, all the best from Thunder Bay,

Werner

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