MT140 8.1 – skiing & the commute

Talking about skiing earlier got me thinking about an analogy I once made between my commute & two famous ski racers – Franz Klammer & Ingemar Stenmark.

Franz Klammer was an Olympic Gold Medal winning Downhill Ski Racer. His Olympic Downhill run at the 1976 Innsbruck Games may have been the most exciting ski event I ever saw. He skied on the edge of control and possibly over it but somehow he kept it all together and squeaked out a Gold Medal. I admired his reckless abandon. I wanted to emulate him when I was on the slopes. Now I think of him when I walking to the office in the morning.

Ingemar Stenmark was possibly the finest Slalom & Giant Slalom skier we have ever seen. He was as close to unbeatable as they came. He dodged in & out of the gates with speed & grace. He made courses that looked like pick up sticks randomly tossed into the slope look easy. I knew I couldn’t ski with his precision but boy did I ever want to. Now I think of him when I am walking back from the office to the train each night.

In the early morning, the streets of New York are relatively empty. The sidewalks are clear and the avenues aren’t yet filled with taxis, trucks & buses. Much like Franz Klammer, I walk with great speed in big sweeping arcs in attempt to take the fastest & shortest route to the finish line. It feels good at the end of my 1.7 miles to come gliding into the building lobby. I can hear the crowd roar in my head even though I know the only way I could really get a reaction out of the lobby security guards would be if I lobbed a couple of doughnuts in their general direction.

At night, the streets are a bit more crowded and you need to bob & weave your way down the sidewalks. I slide in and around and between people in my race to the evening train just like Ingemar Stenmark slid so effortlessly between those gates. I am constantly looking two people ahead just like Stenmark was looking two gates ahead. You didn’t see Stenmark crash very often and it is very uncommon to see me crash into anyone on the sidewalk other than a bike messenger. I hit them on purpose but that is for another blog for another day.

So check back next time when I compare my commute across town to NASCAR.


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