Both of these creatures are related to me. One by blood, the other by bond.
Realizing that I succeeded in offending almost everyone with my opening image last year, I've decided to run with a photo that should have universal appeal. The one possible exception might be our good friend, Lynn, who is a passionate dog lover, but whose gag reflex is violently triggered by babies. I envision a conflicting reaction of a smile suppressed by the overwhelming need to puke. This experience is commonly referred to as "mixed emotions", which kinda sums up my feelings about the past year.
2020 has been a cruel year and the sooner we get it behind us the better. I'm not naive enough to think that a simple turn of the calendar page will put all this chaos behind us, but I am done with 2020. COVID, George Floyd, the election.....jeez, enough is enough. We have vaccines on the way (barring a variant that upends progress), racial injustice is finally being acknowledged, and the election is settled. Let's move on, shall we?
Unfortunately, even with vaccines in our near future, COVID is still going to dictate our daily lives for a while. That includes cross country skiing and activities and events at the Seeley Creek trails.
OSCR is the premier event of the Seeley ski season and a lot of you have questions. Will it be cancelled? Is it happening? If it happens, what will it look like?
The short answer is, yes, OSCR is happening, at least for now. The long answer is it will look and feel very different than in the past. Missoula County has stringent restrictions in place regarding sporting events and public gatherings in general. Historically, OSCR has attracted up to 150 racers along with at least that many spectators. That won't even begin to fit within the county guidelines, and even if it did, the club wouldn't feel good about staging a traditional race. We considered sending racers out in small waves and limiting spectators, but that seemed risky, too, plus also added layers of complexity to management of timing, social distancing, numbers of people, and on and on. Additionally, we discovered that most likely we wouldn't be able to obtain liability insurance to cover our butts when some brain dead skier wanders off the course and somehow winds up in Lincoln with frostbite.
So....here's where we are at this point, with this caveat: everything is subject to change, up to and including, cancellation. OSCR will be a DIY event. The club will groom and sign the course, using the 25k, 2-loop configuration. We will still have 5, 10, 25 and 50k options available. You can ski either Saturday or Sunday and if conditions warrant we will groom the course again on Sunday morning. You will be responsible for your own timing. We will provide a table at the start/finish that will have a book where you can log your time. (Lynn says we can allocate $10 for a clock on the table, but I'm struggling vigorously to get him to spring for the $11 version with a snooze button.) We'll compile the times and post them on the club website where all you OCD participants can discover how you stacked up to the competition. No prizes, no awards, just good old-fashioned personal satisfaction with completing the challenge. And let's face it, for most of us that's all it ever comes down to, anyway.
Before or after you finish skiing we would be undyingly grateful if you would make your way to the donation tube/metal ranger and leave the ski club a nice fat, generous freewill love offering. Along with grants and donations, OSCR is our primary fund raiser and every cent we get from it goes right back into maintaining the quality grooming that you expect to find every time you make the drive to Seeley Lake. Since this is a scaled-down (non)event we won't have the overhead we would normally have with swag, aid stations, prizes, etc. but we also don't expect the numbers of participants. Any income we can pick up from this truncated form of OSCR is welcome.
That's my understanding of where we are with OSCR at this point. Keep in mind that I am not the race director, I'm just a pretty face who was told it was my turn to be club president based on my marginal social skills and a relentless ability to keep meetings on track. I fully expect to be corrected and/or excoriated in the comments section.