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"My Best Bonk" Contest Entry - Dan Murray
By:  Dan Murray   (2005/03/03)


As I floundered in the 2002 Keskinada World Loppet, I knew the worst bonk of my life was unfolding. I challenged all scientific theories in physiology that day as my body slowly digested itself. I was one miserable puppy to boot.

May I pause to say that I HATE soft, fresh snow conditions- hate it. It's bad news for heavier physiques such as mine. Hard fast conditions, I'm happy. Soft fresh snow- not good. After watching a warm classic race on Saturday, I was dreaming of blazing times on Sunday. That was the first mistake. I woke up to snow, lots of horrible snow.

It was a downward spiral from the gun. I gauged my pace according to skiers who I normally finish with. That was my second mistake. Craig Storey and Chris Algar seemed to be a good bet. That ended at Penguin. I had ignored the fact that I was breathing hard and straining the muscles. I went out way too hard. 40k to go.

I didn't really clue in to my fate, however, until my good buddy Moe caught me after Penguin. I've never been beaten by Moe. In fact, I sorta got Moe back into racing- I was the Master! Now he was passing me. It doesn't help that he wears an Edmonton Oilers jersey when he races. My foolish pride kept me going. But the hurt got bigger and I had to let him go.

The standings continued to get the better of me. Snowdrift after snowdrift, person after person- an endless train of folks cruised by the staggering Nova Scotian sinking into the fresh powder.

Finally the unthinkable happened. If there is one person I do not like losing to, it's Bryan Scallion. At the 40k mark I saw him catch me. At the 40k mark I saw him leave me. Bryan was the type who relished such opportunities.

I was girled 7-fold that day. The final two women, Megan MacTavish and Anna-Spring Doerfler, passed me with only 5 k to go. They said nothing as they passed. On the final climb I caught Megan who had stopped and hung her body over her poles, as most suffering, bonking racers do. That looked like a good idea so I stopped and hung my body over my poles as well. But I continued on shortly thereafter, desperate to bring this day to an end.

I crossed the finish line with little fanfare. A tired Anna Spring greeted me with a hug. She coughed out some sympathetic words- "I didn't say anything when I went by because I knew there were absolutely no words that could possibly cheer you up."

As I walked inside, I saw Bryan Scallion already on the phone with family and friends from Nova Scotia, declaring his great victory that day.

My only proud moment from the race was when I stopped and chugged 2 litres of Coke from a camelback in less than thirty seconds.

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