It's time for ski racing. For those of us with unreal VO2 capacities, unbelievable webs of fast- and slow-twitch muscles, fantastical abilities to handle lactic acid, superhuman willpower, and/or the finest pharmaceuticals in the world, there's the 2009-2010 World Cup, including once again the Tour de Ski (January 1-10, 2010) but punctuated by the Winter Olympic Games (February 12-28) in our hemisphere, on the west side of the Atlantic east side of the Pacific. Can you say "home-snow advantage"? If you can, you'd better be a member of the Canadian team.
On the other hand, for those of us with lesser physical and psychological qualities but unlimited internet access and time to burn like so much overheated glide wax, there's Fantasy Nordic, back for a third triumphant season. And by "triumphant" I mean that someone won the leagues last year. It wasn't me, largely because my draft strategy was "draft every cute Norwegian woman I can afford."
But no matter! As I write - wearing four-year old Alpina skate boots, a waxing apron, and some windbriefs - we are merely days away from the World Cup season opener: freestyle interval start races on November 21-22 at good old Beitostolen, Norway. (Who's on track to be a Christmas star?) We're only 59 days away from the first event of this season's Tour de Ski at Oberhof, Germany: those funky prologues. (Are they long sprint races? short distance races? who knows! who cares! watch for the oddball podiums!). And just 100 days separate us from the first cross-country skiing event at the Olys: the women's 10k and men's 15k freestyle races. (Who's got the best line on figuring out the Callaghan Valley's crazy snow?)
So what does this mean for you - one of the very, very few people who are fans of nordic skiing? If you've ever played FN, go check airfares to Vancouver and wait for an email from the league's impresario. If you haven't played FN before but want to play this year (or if you can't remember whether you've played before, or if you've changed your email address), you should get yourself over to the Fantasy Nordic homepage rightfreakingnow to register and get yourself on the list for that email. If you're on the fence, register! It's a blast.
The draft for skiers will probably start on Tuesday, November 16, giving you just a few more days to ponder the mysteries of the nordic-skiing world: Has Astrid Jacobsen recovered from her training crash? Does Virpi Kuitunen have another good season in her legs (veins?)? Did the American and Canadian athletes train hard enough? Can Dario Cologna repeat? How many races does Petter Northug, Jr., have to win before I stop thinking he's a jerk? Do any Russian skiers not dope?