Story Within the Story: Noquemanon 2002
by Josie Nelson
January 30, 2002
Weekend Warriors do battle at Noquemanon
It had been quite a while since David, (my husband) Grant, (his
brother) and I had dreamed up a good ski adventure weekend,
so when we heard that the Ski Games were cancelled, we made
a last minute decision to make the 7+ hour drive up to Michigan
for the Noquemanon 42 km classic. Dave Fast-Waxed my skis for
me Thursday evening, and picked me up as soon as my classes
were over on Friday. We picked up Grant in Duluth, and as we
neared Marquette after 10pm, we watched helplessly as the car
thermometer oscillated between 39 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
It seemed safe to start with a klister binder, so Dave and I
put on an old faithful while Grant tried a new base klister
before hopping into bed. Our spirits were much brighter the
next morning (even though it was still pitch black at 4:45 am
our time) since it had dropped to around 20 degrees overnight.
It was also nice to get some fresh air, since our last minute
hotel reservations involved a VERY smoky smoking room.
David and Josie Nelson,
2001 Twin Cities Championships
We headed up to the start, which was on a lake due to the
conditions. We covered our klister with some hard wax, and
were happy to find we had great kick before we took off for
our first 6km of double-poling. There were many icy patches
that felt pretty abrasive, so I was happy to find that I still
had plenty of kick (probably more than I needed) when we got
into the woods. I was feeling good, and despite some survival
techniques I had to employ to make it down some of the crazy
turns, I was really enjoying the race. Regardless of how good
I felt, however, I never should have seen either of the Nelson
brothers in a point-to-point ski race, so I was alarmed when
I recognized Grant’s unmistakable form looming in front of
me about 2km from the end. When I got closer, I was relieved
to see that he was okay, but dismayed to see that his favorite
classic ski wasn’t. When I asked what had happened, all he
said was, “Hammer Josie, you’re almost there!”
After the race, I received the rest of the story from Dave...
2001 Governors Cup
Grant was flailing when they got to the hills, since he had
apparently sheared off all of his kicker on the lake. After
falling up a hill around 10 km, Grant felt some extra drag and
realized that his flimsy ptex base was the only reason his left
ski was still in one piece. He never even considered packing
up at the next aid station, but rather started asking every
non-skier he saw, “Duct tape? Does anyone have any duct tape?”
After skiing through a station with no luck, he realized he
should amend his request to just, “Tape?” at the next aid station.
He skied with about a foot and a half of his tip flopping until
he finally found a first aid worker who had some athletic tape.
Grant made a splint out of a stick and a generous bandage of
tape, making his ski “race ready” for the last half of the race.
The tape on his base actually seemed to help his kick substantially,
but I would have to guess that his glide suffered. Grant came
across the finish line a few minutes after me, and I realized
that although he loves competition, he was there because he
loves to ski. He's always up for a challenge, even if it's not
in the form he was expecting.
We all were amazed by the amount of work that went into
this event and were thankful to the many volunteers that made
the race a reality with such minimal snow. After post-race
story swapping with about 100 of our favorite skiers, we made
the drive over to the Nelson cabin in northern Minnesota.
Dave's parents welcomed us with open arms and a hot sauna.
We slept like babies after we had sweated out any tension
from the week. We headed over to Giant's Ridge the next day,
and were absolutely awed by the conditions. It was actually
WINTER there! After skiing some of our favorite trails, surrounded
by magical frosty trees, we started making plans for next