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High School

Mora Vasaloppet 2002

By Jill Troutner
February 10, 2002

Mora brings out what is best in Minnesota

What is it about Mora that inspires me? I have not put skis on snow since the King Boreas about 3 weeks ago and have been haphazardly biking, running, nordic tracking, and hockey skating instead. I am completely bummed out about the weather. I'll even say that I feel betrayed by old man winter. I am a Minnesotan, and as such, I am cold conditioned. The thought of going out on a lake and "skiing around" as my only option held no appeal--until today. I train to race. I love to race. I don't always love to train. This was my second "Mora Experience," and once again I could have been better prepared. I could have actually trained on skis. I could be without a sinus infection. And just like last year, I was darn glad I was there.

So here are my Mora highlights in haphazard and random thoughts... This event is just the nicest darn ski race. The lake was awesome. The classic track was great--how did they do it? The volunteers are just so NICE and there are so many of them. And again, they are just so Darn Nice--this day was like a snapshot of Minnesota at its best. You hit the finish line and the Swedish Princess with her sash puts a medal around you--can you beat it? The start is nice and calm and "friendly" --unlike the frantic "move it or get out of my way" unpleasantness I have experienced in other races. Something about Mora just rubs off on everyone and brings out their best attitude.

Maybe we are just grateful to have a ski race not get cancelled-but it is more than that. Little things in this race have some serious charm--like the fact that there were enough porta-potties (hey--this can really be a problem--last winter's Birkie springs to mind) and that Katie Campbell (who is way cuter and fitter than the Average 30 Year-Old American Woman--really--take a look around next time you go to Mall of America or some such place) gets the "oldest female skier award for the marathon race" award.

Also charming: the high school band played the National Anthem; Chad Giese and a slough of other Mora natives take home some horsies; blueberry soup; Sara Zimmer (women's marathon winner) was absolutely charming to a complete stranger who just bumbles her way up to her and says "Hey, are you Sara Zimmer?" and complete stranger then proceeds to offer her LEFT HAND to shake because right hand has important food items in it (these would be my hands); the nordic ski building and the fact that it has a sauna in the men's and women's shower room; also sort of charming (but not at first) was that when I arrived at the race I heard "Who let the dogs out" over the speaker system. When you put it all together the Mora Vassaloppet defines all the things that make me proud to be from (imagine Jesse Ventura saying this) Minnesooohta.

So I am inspired, again, by this race to get out and train. You will be seeing me out on the frozen lakes of the Metro area even when and if the grass starts to show. Thanks Again to the Mora Vassaloppet Organization, the volunteers, and Mora itself.

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