When I’m 64/Screw New Zealand!

Another event my gym recently held was its participation in the SkiErg World Sprints.

But let’s back up for some definitions. A SkiErg is an indoor skiing machine. It’s made by Concept2, the same company that does rowing machines, and it uses the same mechanism for resistance. The World Sprints are a worldwide virtual 1,000 meter race. A gym is a place where people go to exercise. An event is… I think I may be over-defining here. If you disagree, you are probably stupid.

Man on a camel.

I don’t have any interesting SkiErg photos, but if you do a Google image search for “ski erg” and limit it to photos that are labeled for reuse, you get ones like this, which comes from https://www.ph.iha.com/short-term-rentals-riad-merzouga_8238, a site that offers vacation house rentals. It’s much more interesting than any other photo I could post.

Anyhow, bunches of us did it, although we aren’t turning up in the official results. (I think it’s because the gym didn’t collect ages, so we can’t be put into our appropriate age groups in the results.)

Nevertheless, I did the race, so I can at least compare my results, and it happens to make a Beatles reference. I did the race twice, but my better time was 3:41.8—good enough to finish 64th in my age division. (Well, tied for 64th, but let’s not quibble.)

The event was not without international incident, however. My first time was 3:48.4, which was considered not bad—it was at the time second at my gym after only one of the trainers.

But it wasn’t to last. The next day a faster time arrived on the board, and it was from a name I didn’t recognize. That’s because it wasn’t someone I recognized: A fellow from New Zealand, in town for only a brief period, had beat my time.

And so it was nationalistic fervor that fueled my second run. And terror. Mostly terror, really. That’s because I’m an endurance athlete at heart: I can go at 91% of my maximum pace forever and 92% for 12 seconds. In the second race, I went out way too fast and expected a lot of pain before the end. My pace did slow, but the race didn’t completely fall apart, and by the end I had defended America against the Kiwi Scourge.

It lasted about an hour. The New Zealander had a friend, and when I’d finished my class (sort of; everything about me was shaking for a solid half hour) there was another name on the board, with a time ahead of mine. And, as if to taunt us all, he’d added “From New Zealand” after his name.

Oh well. They’ve left now, and since their ages weren’t recorded and our times aren’t in the official results, it’s entirely possible they never happened. So there!



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