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Interview: Richard Chin

January 24, 2001

Richard Chin, a staff writer for the Pioneer Press, as well as a cross-country skier, competed in the 24 Hours of Telemark race, held back on the weekend of January 13-14, 2001. Richard competed in the insane "Solo Freaks" category, skiing the full 24 hour race on his own! We interviewed Richard by e-mail last Friday (January 19th).

  • Skinnyski: How did you handle things like eating and sleeping? Did you actually stop and do either?

    Chin: I stopped after every 10K lap for a few minutes and ate something: a half sandwich, or a bowl of soup or a Clif bar. I also changed my shirt and hat frequently. I found as the race went on, these stops got longer, up to 15 minutes or longer. I also took two longer breaks of more than an hour, once at about midnight and next at about 6 a.m., where I went to my room at Telemark, took a shower, ate a bigger meal and lay down for about a half hour. But I didn't sleep because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to wake up again. Having a support person is essential if you're skiing alone. (Thanks Lorelee!)

  • Skinnyski: In long distance events, many people describe periods of delusions. Did you have any strange moments/experiences during the event?

    Chin: No delusions (except for the one that led me to do the race). But at one point I had this sort of dream that George Bush won the election even though Al Gore took the popular vote; then I realized it must have been some low blood sugar thing. In generaly, my goal was to go slow, but keep going, so oddly I didn't feel real bad at any point in the race, just a great accumulating weariness toward the end. I may have been babbling a little bit then. But I've felt worse in 50k races, or even 10k races. Looking back, I think maybe I could have pushed it harder, but I think the general strategy of not pushing hard but just going works. In the first 1/3 of the race I dropped down to 9th place, but then climbed back up as the other solo skiers who started out faster hit a wall.

  • Skinnyski: Did you do any special training for the event?

    Chin: Just the regular training I'm doing for racing this year. Up until this race, I hadn't skied farther than about 60k or longer than four or five hours at a time.

  • Skinnyski: How long was it after the race before you got back on skis again?

    Still not on my skis yet. I'm a little afraid to see what the bases look like. But I've started biking to work again, and I hope to ski a bit this weekend.

  • Skinnyski: Will you do it again next year?

    Chin: Still too early to say. Right now I'm interested in being the manager/support person/masseuse for an all women's 24-hour team.

  • Skinnyski: Any other funny/humorous stories from the event?

    Chin: I was climbing up a hill when this woman skier pulled alongside and told me this joke about what men and snowstorms have in common. It was funny and situationally relevant, however, the punch line is rated pg-13. Maybe you can drop me an e-mail if you want to hear it.

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