At around noon Noelle and I packed up the Subaru for yet another Northland adventure. This time our destination was our very first ski "race". We decided we would head over to the Ashland, Wisconsin area for the annual Book Across the Bay, a 10k ski race across Chequamegon Bay from Ashland to Washburn.
We made it to Ashland by around two, registered and then headed over to the nice Upper Great Lakes Visitor Center to check out the exhibits. From there we drove to Washburn where we parked the car and then caught the shuttle back to Ashland. We arrived in Ashland with about 2 hours to kill, which we spent milling around in the registration/warming tent. Finally it was race time.
The start was marked with a huge, warming bonfire. I hadn't planed on really going fast, but as the start approached my competitiveness got the best of me. I quickly started to pass other skiers staying on the skating track for the first kilometer. Finally I headed over to the set tracks where it was certainly interesting passing other skiers.
The skiing went remarkably well. I felt like I skied strong and could have gone faster if I really had wanted to. The finish was interesting in that it featured the only small hill on the entire course.
It was difficult to finish fast because the hill slowed many skiers down with a few even falling. I finished in 1:12, not bad considering it was my first race and I skied on my waxless, touring skis. Noelle finished about a half hour later.
The post-race festivities featured live music, great beer from Ashland's own South Shore Brewing, and free chili, hot cocoa, and soda pop. We plan on participating again next year.