Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, welcome to Bonktown! My name is Ollie and I’ll be your tour guide today. You may have noticed that before entering Bonktown you had to meet a number of stringent requirements. Think of it as a gated community you don’t want to live in. Or maybe more like a psych ward. I know a number of you are complaining about the first requirement, that you enter a 50k classic race. You’re probably saying “But Ollie, my classic technique is terrible.” Or maybe it’s not terrible, it’s just inefficient, so much so that a teammate told you “It’s not that your technique is slow, you just move around way more than anyone else.” Suffice it to say, I don’t have much sympathy. If you want to come toBonktown, you’ve gotta do a long race in your more inefficient technique. It’s just the rule.
Second you may be wondering why you were told that your “eyes have to be bigger than your stomachs” in order to come to Bonktown. That one’s pretty simple – you can’t bonk if you don’t dream big. Maybe you get to the race feeling pretty good. Maybe you’re lucky enough that the race is on your home trails – wouldn’t that be nice? And then maybe you start and find yourself easily skiing with the leaders, not working too hard on the uphills and cruising elsewhere. Maybe you even lead for a little bit. Wouldn’t that be a trip? But then, as you all know, things start catching up with you. You start to slip a little bit on the hills. The gaps in front of you in the train get a little bigger and a little harder to close easily. Here’s where you have a choice. You can back off and ski your own race, but if you’re here on the tour, we both know you didn’t do that. You pushed it a little harder, thinking you’d be able to recover. Look where that got you. Bonktown, population: us.
Third on the list you’ll see that the temperature recommendation for Bonktown is single digits or negative degrees Fahrenheit. Think of it as a Bonktown zoning regulation. This will ensure both diminished mental faculties and basic motor skills. When the bonk comes, it’ll come fast when it’s cold.
The fourth requirement is a weird one: don’t eat enough. It’s not set in stone. I can see a few of you shaking your heads knowingly. You guys are the ones who really know about Bonktown. come to think of it, I think I’ve seen a few of you on the tour before. The hunger bonk, as it’s known, is not the only type of bonk. You can pop gels like candy and still find yourself riding the train to Bonktown. I know it. You know it. But, if you want to get to Bonktown quickly, don’t eat during your 50k. Maybe your gels froze and you assumed that every other gel the volunteers were handing out were also frozen. If you came to this conclusion after taking one frozen gel at the feed station in the stadium, you probably were already on the way to Bonktown before that fantastic feat of brainwork. Making foolish assumptions during a race is a classic trait of Bonktown residents.
So now that we’ve run through the basic entrance requirements, I’ll let you guys loose to explore Bonktown as you see fit. Share some stories, compare bonks, whatever helps you rationalize your experience while you’re here. Hopefully I’ll never seen any of you again. Also, before you leave, please pick up a copy of the Bonktown theme song, “Eat the pasta or else you’re gonna’ bonk,” which is song to the tune of “Alouette,” the French Canadian lullaby.
(Today I bonked hard in the Craftsbury Marathon. It was humbling. I still had fun, despite the hordes of unknown racers cruising by me like I was standing still. Congrats to Tim Reynolds (CGRP) and Jurgen Uhl (Craftsbury Nordic Ski Club) on a great race. Big Tim is skiing pretty fast right now. Watch out, America.)