Skieologians: looking ahead with Russ

Dreaming of the bye week … and snow

Before you know it, we’ll have winter again.
Ryan Sederquist/

Surgeon General’s warning: I don’t claim to know the future. Reading could have lingering side effects on your fantasy football team’s performance 

Broncos PR guy: Alright, time for two more!”

Reporter: Hey Russ, Ryan O’Halloran, Denver Post. It’s the end of October, you guys are 7-1 (dream big right?), you’re only trailing the 8-0 Vikings (Ok, maybe too big) and you beat the 49ers 63-0 on back on Sept. 25 (sorry Freud) … What are you hoping to accomplish over the bye week? 

Russ Wilson: Honestly, right now I just need to recharge the batteries, you know. (Typewriter sounds clacking, papers flipping, someone sniffs).

I’m going to head up to Vail with Ciara and just get away from the film room and the playbook. Maybe do some skiing. 

(Audible gasps and murmuring. More typewriter clickety-clacks. Paper is torn).

Broncos PR guy: Last one! 

Sederquist(Waving hand like a first-grader during story time) Oh! Oh! Russ!

Broncos PR guy: Hey, wait a minute! How did that guy get in here? (rushes to back of room). 

Sederquist: Russ, Ryan “” Sederquist … of Skieologians fame. (awkward pause; O’Halloran pauses from briefcase-packing and turns around to look at imposter). ….anyway … so, you said you’re skiing. Do you prefer skate or classic?

Russ: I, ahh …I don’t know what you’re —

Sederquist: (habitual interruption to insert self into story) I would suggest the Vail Nordic Center if you are a double-pole guy, as I am. A lot of flats and gradual uphills. Great views of the Gore Range. Nice lodge for your family to stay warm, too. 

Russ: I actually prefer going downhill, you know. 

Sederquist: In that case, might I suggest you head up Highway 24, swing past Minturn and hit up Maloit Park. Steeper, for sure (Broncos PR guy makes move to microphone; Sederquist’s eyes widen and pace quickens) but, ah, anyway, those SSCV kids out there can really show you great technique. 

Russ: So, I just want to clarify —

(Notebooks return, typewriters come to rest as fingers anxiously hang in the balance)

— we’re actually probably going to ski at Beaver Creek — we’re staying with Lewis Hamilton and he’s going to show me around. 

Sederquist: Oh! Beaver Creek has a Nordic center!

O’Halloran: Who is this clown?!

Broncos PR guy: (Grabbing Sederquist) Ok, enough of you. 

Sederquist: Russell, wait! Can I ask you one more?

(Bewildered PR guy grips Sederquist as awkward pause sets in.)

Russ: Yeah, that’s no problem, dude.

Sederquist: Can I record you saying something for my podcast? (Does not wait for reply) Ok. Repeat after me —

Broncos PR guy: Alright, no. You’re done. Russ — everybody — thank you, thank you. 

Sederquist: (being carried out by security, yelling, with voice fading away): Just say: “WINTER IS commmmmmmming! ….”

The snow is coming — are you ready?!
Ryan Sederquist/

Skieologians: Snail seminar

It’s not just about looking the part

Recently, I stopped mid-run to an observe an animal that apparently calls Vail ‘home.’ 

Not a moose, elk, mountain lion or goat — all of those flashy Alpine logos whose silhouettes embody Colorado better than a Patagonia-wearing Patrick Dempsey ever could — but a lowly snail.

First, I figured it was just one of those odd-shaped mushrooms I’m too stupid to forage for. I bent down and tapped it with my finger, at which point the gastropod slid back into its protective shell.

Well, I’ll be darned. 

Instead of calling Dillman — our photographer — to snap what would certainly be an avant-garde Vail Daily cover photo, I thought about the unconventional sighting and muttered a worn phrase in my house:

“There’s probably a column in there somewhere.”

At my high school basketball coaches’ behest, I would order two Big Macs and a large chocolate shake after every road contest. Despite lifting weights five-days a week and consuming calories ad naseam, soaking wet my 6’2 frame was barely 165 pounds, which, according to Coach, was all that separated me from greatness.

When I left the sport for cross-country and the 10,000-meters in college, I went from being the skinny guy on the court to the Incredible Hulk on the track — which is to say I was carrying around unnecessary upperbody muscle. 

At some point, someone pointed it out. 

“You’d probably be faster if you stopped lifting,” he said in the dining hall, an appropriate place for such a realization to be relayed to me.

If you’re curious what this has to do with snails, stay with me.

Starting-line strategizing gradually turned into sizing up slender runners against my stocky frame. All of the sudden, my nighttime musings echoed Jared Leto’s from the movie “Prefontaine,” where the legendary American record-holding harrier perplexingly inquires of his girlfriend one night: 

“Nancy, do I look like a runner to you?”

Over the course of the next 16 months, I gave up barbells and allowed high-mileage pounding to gradually slim my frame to 145 pounds. It was done healthily and my times dropped steadily. On the cusp of what was to be a breakout, college-defining senior season, however, I developed a nagging tendon injury that eventually sidelined me indefinitely.

During that depressing winter, I cross-trained religiously, hoping for a spring comeback, and, even though I wasn’t running, shed body fat I couldn’t afford to lose. Gradually, it became a focus — instead of the sport I pledged to be preparing for. 

I traded the only real foundation for my identity — Christ — for whatever number the scale read. I woke up to pee a lot. Veins popped from my abs, striations were visible in my triceps — which kind of freaked me out. Long gone were those innocent McDonalds’ meals with teammates — heck I probably went six months without having cheese on anything. Eventually, I reached a breaking point, and thankfully, it didn’t require intervention. In fact, it’s really just a brief side note few even need to know about. 

Today, however, as I ran across a snail colony, I didn’t receive an epiphany as much as a prompt to share it.

You see, given the choice of the entire animal kingdom, wanting to be a snail falls somewhere between ant and earthworm — who wants an existence of sliding across the mud and slinking into a shell? Usually, when kindergarten class polls are taken, eagle, wolf and T-rex are all safe bets to be drafted ahead of gastropods.

Yet, how many theoretical average Joes decline a local mountain bike race or trail run because they feel like a blob — a snail — racing up Berry Creek alongside coyotes, wolves and white-tailed deer?

If that is you, hear this. 

Covering and competing in sports all my life, I’ve seen athletes of all shapes and sizes do amazing things.

The litmus test for pitching in the majors isn’t whether your knuckles drag on the ground when you stand up. Just ask Chris Freud about Tim Lincecum. Playing quarterback doesn’t require a tall frame and huge hands — look at Doug Flutie — and tryouts for receiver aren’t open only to Randy Moss lookalikes — what about Jeff Campbell!? Being a runner doesn’t mean your calf veins have to be visible, though it’s probably an intimidation factor.

If you want to be a skier, you don’t have to drive up to the resort in a tricked-out Escalade. Just get there.

If you want to be a concert pianist, your parents don’t need perfect pitch and neither do you.  

Remember, King David didn’t look the part, and he did just fine.

If you love something — do it. Train ’til your hungry and eat ’til you’re full.

Don’t worry about where you live or what you look like. 

After all, even snails can live in Vail.

Enoch is transfigured

The sprinter van known as Enoch has returned to Leadville, Colorado after an almost 40-day escapade. The vehicle has sat in the parking lot of the Denny Menholt’s in Billings, MT since the end of July after striking a deer en route to Bozeman, MT.

Enoch lost his beautiful Mercedes grill in the crash, which was replaced by a logo-less grill. This social status contributed to the USSPC-sponsored van’s untenable hubris, according to some, and having shed that scrap of metal, the van is starting to care more about what’s on the inside — like a functioning radiator — than what is on the outside.

The vehicle’s primary driver, Ryan Sederquist, put his life on the line to rescue the van. He departed a greyhound station from Denver at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, heading north with a crowd so sketchy, it would have made John Wayne cower behind a nearby cactus.

Upon reaching the final stop for the first driver in Buffalo, Wyoming at 8:55 p.m., a passenger sprinted to the front and asked, “What time are we getting to Portland?” which should tell you almost everything you need to know about the trip.

After sitting at a Maverick station for 90 minutes waiting for the connection to Billings — a time that, even for a gas-station lover like Sederquist is far, far, far too long — the bus driver informed the crowd that the connecting bus was two hours behind schedule. The group was relocated to a hotel, so the first driver could get some shut eye. After pouring himself a fourth cup of hotel hot chocolate at 11:30 p.m. — an activity Santa Claus doesn’t even recommend for smiling children on Christmas — Sederquist nestled in for his fourth hour of reading about Covenant Theology while the rest of the gang discussed strategies for, and as Dave Barry would say, “I’m not making this up” … escaping from federal prisons.

At 12:05, a second bus appeared.

“What happened?” I asked a long-haired individual with a nice piece of metal holding most of the parts of his nose together.

I was then told that the bus driver forgot his wallet in Gillette and had to turn around to get it, which cost the crew an hour. Then, he backed the bus into a tree branch and ripped it across three full windows, one of which was perilously dangling on my left. In a shattered death trap, I decided the best course of action would be to crouch down and try to get a couple hours of sleep.

We arrived in Billings at 3:05 a.m., which is actually where the best part of the journey started.

With approximately 6.2 miles of dark Billings streets separating Ryan from the van, the frugal 31-year-old father of one — and soon to be two — packed up his backpack and started jogging to home. To a better life. To freedom.

His phone had been drained to 3% battery life during the harrowing journey across Wyoming and southeastern Montana. This forced the experienced runner, who once dreamt of running a 2:25 at the New York City Marathon, to memorize his Google Map route before electing to utilize the remaining juice to stream a comforting discussion on the state of education from Canon Press. Without the latter, there is no saying if he would have made it through the sketchiest parts of Montana’s largest city alive.

Luckily, Ryan’s navigational skills have taken a surprising upward swing since his days of playing make-believe football games with his animals in his childhood rec room. Despite running the final 2.8 miles without any map — AND NO PODCASTING MATERIAL — Sederquist, wearing a full sweatshirt and Courtney Dauwalter-length shorts — arrived at the well-lit GMC body shop around 4:30 in the morning, roughly an hour after leaving the bus station.

He then got in the van and drove it straight back to Leadville in 93-degree temps, a training session in and of itself, considering the van’s pathetic air conditioning capabilities. He was awake for 33 hours in a 36 hour span. That night, running completely on coffee, he joyfully pedaled his first mountain bike ride on the dirt of Leadville in over a month — and drafted a fantasy football team when he got back.

“We’re glad to have Enoch back,” said Christie Sederquist.

“Mum MOM MU-MU-Mu-mU-Mom! …. AH!” Novi Sederquist added.

One Way ventures into Alpine world

One Way seems to be making a resurgence of sorts. After going bankrupt in 2018, it’s patent and trademark rights were bought by Fischer. Since then, it’s revamped it’s logo and it’s “direction.” You can read more about the “relaunch” on the brand’s website.

Now, the company is venturing into the World Cup Alpine scene, and they have a Swiss slalom specialist on board.

Interestingly, the people behind the Nordic pole design/development — those that made One Way what it is as a pole specialist company — have been hard at work with a different brand, 4KAAD, since 2018.

I noticed that One Way’s top pole has a weight per meter of 49 grams. Meanwhile, 4KAAD’s Black Code X Ultimate 23 claims to have a weight of 50 grams per meter.

As the unofficial Official American Double Pole Ambassador, I’d be more than willing to test out both of these poles and review them extensively on the podcast and in a story.

My classic pole length is 157.5 cm, Andy Bennert and Severin Lehner.

6-hour challenge

Out There Nordic is presenting a 6-hour challenge for Nordic skiers to spice up their fall training. Participants will conduct six hours of training in a 9-hour period, earning one entry into a raffle for every mode of exercise.

In case you are wondering, we’ve registered.

I’ve entertained the idea of a “12-hours of Turquoise” in a similar vein.

I’d also like to organize a Tour de Turq, which would be a winter event including two laps around Turquoise Lake — one classic and one skate — and a fall event, including some sort of 3-5 hour mountain bike course.

It’s all just an idea at this point. So, pretty cool to see someone else thinking the same thing as me and then actually acting upon it! Nice job Out There. We’ll report back on how this goes….

Here’s a website every endurance fanatic should bookmark

The internet is large. It’s hard to know where to go and what places are just a waste of time. Luckily, we did all that hard work for you.

If you’re planning a training camp — you’re going to want to land here.

If you like organizing the big fish from the previous website — and you want to scare your wife as she looks over your shoulder when you say, “Honey, I’m working on a camping trip itinerary,” I’d recommend this site.

If you need some up-beat motivation to shake off the haters, try this.

If you have questions, you should probably go here or here.

If you don’t care about having answers, I’d maybe drop by here.

Should we care about what athletes do outside of the sport?

This column is a continuation off of yesterday’s …so….there….

Yes and yes.

Whether we like it or not, we don’t consume anything — much less real people playing real games — in a vacuum. We consider the nature of an athletes’ personality, values, beliefs and lifestyle choices when we develop an overall perception of who they are. If you disagree, get back to me after week 12 of the NFL season (when Deshaun Watson returns to action). To suggest the motivation for following an athlete rests on if they score points for ‘our team’ or break a record is simply preposterous.

What if every jersey just said “N/A?” on the back? Remember in Madden 98 (maybe the column should end right here!!!) when your franchise mode went to year No. 2 and you ‘drafted’ players with made up names like “James Williston.” I always hated that. Why? Because James Williston wasn’t real, and I knew it! It matters, even in a make-believe video game, if we’re playing with real people.

Speaking of the NFL — how many people view Aaron Rodgers differently after his clashes with the media over the vaccine and his recent decision to be a full-fledged hippy? I’m not even suggesting it’s a simple “I like him more” or “I hate him more” type deal. Really, in the case of him and many athletes we track, information about what goes on off the field often provides clarity to the results on it.

I would argue that for many — if not all — athletes, personal revelations coincide with athletic realities. For instance, understanding details about Michael Jordan’s backstory — his personal vendetta’s towards opponents, coaches and even several teammates — illuminate elements of his greatness, namely his willingness to win at all costs and insatiable drive to be the last man standing.

Similar clarity existed with Lance Armstrong. Perhaps we should have seen the doping lies from afar after learning of his severed childhood relationships multiple strained romantic affairs.

But, even if an athlete isn’t one of the all-timers, I care about what they stand for, and so does everyone else. They can say they don’t, and that might be true … until it isn’t. Athletes’ personal decisions, personal stances and personal lives have consequences. They also provide a window for us to understand more holistically who they are.

That matters.


Oh really?

Recently, a prominent runner publicly came out as gay, which brought a post to the forums I initially thought nothing of, but have since given great consideration.

I care how he does with his running. I don’t care at all about what lifestyle choices he makes. I wish him well with his running and his life choices. forum poster

Some people were quick to point out that “being” gay is not a “choice.” There’s a phenomenal skieologians episode right there, waiting to be chewed on, but I’m not sure it’s a battle I want to fight.

For now, I want to pose a question: is this poster onto something or ‘on’ something?

In other words, how much does it matter to you, me and fans in general, what an athlete does in their private life, away from the competitive arena? Do we care?

Should we?

To me, the answer to both questions is pretty simple.

This column will be continued tomorrow….