The Sprint Saga

3.Jan.2011 by Chelsea Little

Here’s a long story about what happened to me in yesterday’s sprint. It’s probably one of the more unusual stories from the day.

The morning started off like any other race morning: we arrived, tested skis, warmed up, and everything seemed to be on track. I got to the start with my race skis and my bib seven or eight minutes before I was supposed to start, put my skis down, jogged around a little bit: all normal things. As my start time drew near, I went to the start itself, where a nice man in a red jacket (Chisholm Ski Club’s trademark) was checking off people’s names as they lined up.

He looked at my bib and said someone else’s name expectantly.

“No, no, I’m Chelsea. Chelsea Little,” I replied, confused.

“Chelsea Little? No, that’s not right. Let’s see, you should be…. let me find you…. bib 240.”

The bib I was wearing was 242. Crap.

At this point, I was mostly confused. What was going on? I had looked at the start list in the lodge, where I was listed as bib 242. That’s the bib the ladies in race headquarters had given Pepa. I had no reason to think I shouldn’t be bib 242. And yet… I was staring at the start list in the official’s hand, and it clearly said that I should be bib 240.

It appeared that the officials had changed the start list after handing out some of the bibs, and neglected to tell anyone that they had the wrong bibs. That…. isn’t supposed to happen.

Lauren and Tara were having similar experiences. We were all dumbfounded, nobody more so than the race officials. And at this point, bib 241 was at the start. I had missed my start. Except that I had been there, on time, with the bib that the race officials had given me. I was still trying to wrap my head around this fact.

Tara realized that she was supposed to be bib 242, so I ripped off my bib and handed it to her, and she literally skied right into the start and out the other side, barely making it on time herself. Lauren had bib 245 but was supposed to be 243, so she skied up to the start and told the starter “I am actually 243″ with an impressive amount of authority.

Which left me standing there.

“I need to start!” I kept saying.

“This girl needs to start!” The officials kept saying. But nothing was happening.

I saw Judy over at the announcer’s booth, trying to peer in the window and see how Ida and Hannah had done on the live results screen. So I took off my skis walked over, and told her that they had changed the start list and I hadn’t been able to start, and proceeded to start crying. That’s kind of embarrassing, but it happened. Judy gave me a hug and ran off to find a jury member, who after acting very confused, helpfully walked me over to race headquarters to get a new bib so I could eventually start.

“Ah, yes, you should be bib 240, and here it is,” the ladies said. “We’ve been expecting this all morning.”

Really? Well that’s great.

So I put on the bib and headed back to the start, where the jury member explained that I needed to be started. There were still girls lined up to start, so I couldn’t exactly just jump in line – they were now on bib 270. So they had me start in a separate lane, not with the wand, and promised to write down the time when I started.

“Yeah, whatever,” I thought as a skied off the line.

I had a lot of adrenaline, and then I didn’t, and my race was pretty mediocre. I had used up a lot of energy and emotion as I cried to various people, found a new bib, etc. The details of my race aren’t that important.

On the plus side, I’m sure the next few races can’t go as poorly as this one did.

Until then, we’re chilling out in our cute little cabin and waxing our skis in the Silver Lake Lounge. Life isn’t so bad.