2020 will bring my third year participating in the "Book Across The Bay" race, and it's something I've come to look forward to each year! Reflecting on my first year, I can't help but laugh!
Growing up ski racing, I was hesitant to sign up for the "Book Across The Bay" race. I was a bit intimidated, a bit rusty, and a lot older! Isaac had done the race a few years and expressed how fun it was, plus my brother Justin and his family were coming to town for a fun-filled outdoor family weekend, and I knew he would try to persuade me into participating. So, we asked grandma and grandpa to watch all of the littles as there were four kids under 3. We quickly signed up online last minute as we raced around the house, trying to get all three of us outfitted in mostly my old ski gear. The guys thought if they at least looked the part, they might ski a little faster.
One major problem arose while we were trying to assemble some resemblance of gear. Issac and I had temporarily lost our ski boots in the process of moving, and you can't ski without ski boots. Luckily he has enough family in Bayfield that we were able to squeeze our feet into pairs lent from cousins (I only came out with one blister in the end!)
A quick drive to Washburn led us to race packets and the bus that would take us to the start line. It was a pleasant experience, and we meet lovely people on the bus chatted, and I felt the familiar and long-missed sense of racing excitement coming back. The bus pulled up to a mini party. A big bonfire was lit, music was playing, and a large tent held tons of people. We talked a little smack talk about who was going to win, and honestly, I had FULL intention of just skiing casually with my family and having fun enjoying the race. Isaac and Justin had different thoughts about how the race was going to go.
The race starts in waves – wave 1 was for competitive racers, wave 2 was for casual skiers, wave 3 was for snowshoers, and so on. We were placed in the second group, so once our gun went off, we were off! Isaac and I had a fun ski together... for a few kilometers, and then my competitive blood was circulating full force. I waved goodbye as a skied on into the distance. He still claims that I didn't even look back and just left him in the snow dust! ;)
As I skied through the entire 10k route, I enjoyed it more and more. The whole trail was lit by ice luminaries to mark our course. Lines of people met you at each rest stop, and if you chose to rest awhile, there were plenty of events, snow sculptures, fun, and encouragement to keep you busy! As I drew closer to the finish line, fireworks went off to mark the first finisher, and the crowd was just as excited for each finisher after that.
As I waited on the sideline for Issac and Justin to finish (it took them a while longer), I chatted with some locals and hung out by the fire. They announced each racer as they finished and even gave a shout out to Isaac and me as the new owners of Seagull Bay Motel (that's that small-town charm we love!) The after-party was held in a tent with a band and it's a fun experience to be outdoors in the winter. We went home exhausted and celebrated with pizza, and, luckily, all the kids were sound asleep thanks to grandma and grandpa!
Year two went much the same, but even better! Plus, we had found our ski boots! It's hard to find time these days for skiing, let alone training, so this year I planned on "racing" to get my fix and for the joy of being back on my skis.
"Book Across the Bay" has become a "can't miss" event for us, and we can't wait to see what this year brings!
It's not too late to register yourself! Click here to head to the online registration, and don't forget to book a room with us at your home away from home.