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My Final Race of the Season (or, The Chipmunk Story)
By:  Tom McCarthy   (2006/04/01)

Have you ever had a small furry rodent dart across your path just in front of your skis during a quick descent? Of course you have, itís happened to everyone.† And Iím sure youíve wondered what might happen if you happened to hit that thing. Well, read onÖ I lived to tell the tale.

It was our final race of the season Ė a late time trial to decide which one of us has to wash all the dishes at our upcoming training camps. Usually we make the rookies wash the dishes, but this yearís rookies embarrassed us by skiing pretty fast, so we decided to have a time trial. It was a mass start classic time trial that started at Champlain lookout and ended at the bottom of Penguins, going on Ridge Road the whole way; because no-one likes working too hard at the end of the season.† As expected, it was a bright blue, warm day, and it was a red/silver klister combination- about the gooiest combination possible.

I hate washing dishes, so with my newfound sprinting ability I went out to an early lead, and established a good advantage over the rest of gang by the Ridge Road/Fortune Parkway intersection.† I was feeling good, but I knew I was going to start fading so I was pushing hard. It happened at the big dip in the middle between Keoganís and Penguin; I was coming over the top to start the downhill, and this big chipmunk ran right in front of me. And stopped in the middle of the trail. I looked at him, and he looked at me. I swerved right, he moved right. I moved left, he moved left. Finally, I committed back to the right- and so did he. I closed my eyes and heard an unearthly yelp.† When I opened my eyes, I was still going down the hill, and I was still being yelped at from close range. Looking down, I saw the darn chipmunk- would you believe- STUCK right in my klister. It was moving around and trying to get away, but like a fly in a spiderweb, it was just getting more and more stuck.† At first, I laughed, but that did not last long as I realized that the chipmunk, while being great for grip, wasnít doing much for my glide Ė and I could see the guys cresting the hill behind me, so I knew they were catching up.†

I tried kicking the ski into the snow, but the thing just squealed louder.† I tried scraping it off with the other ski, but I couldnít do it. Eventually, I just resigned myself to finishing the race as best I could with a live chipmunk on the bottom of my ski.† That was working ok until it partially freed its front paws, just enough so that it could start chewing on the bottom of my tights. Pretty soon, despite my best efforts, it had ripped my tights clean off me! So there I am, skiing down the start of Penguins, past the crowd of people at the lookout, wearing only my underpants, and with a chipmunk stuck to my klister and gnawing on my leg!!

I got some weird looks as I flew by the lookout (mostly on one ski), but I knew Karl and Ed were catching up, so I couldnít stop. Iím pretty sure I had caused the chipmunk some significant internal damage to that point, and we left a combined trail of blood on the snow as we went past. I took a look back at the crest of one steep hill, and saw Ed and Karl right behind me; I knew the chipmunk would have to go if I was to win the race. So I skied right off the bank of the trail, and pulled a quick front flip, while grabbing my ski to get the chipmunk off. It worked; I landed, and threw the chipmunk over my head as I tucked for the finish line. I heard a yell behind me, but I was focused on the finish. I just out-toed Karl at the finish line to secure my non-dishwashing spot. Ed crossed moments later, screaming something about me cheating- but I couldnít really hear him, because the chipmunk had hit him plumb in the head!!

Itís a week later now, and Ed still canít get the chipmunk-klister combination totally out of his hair. Nobody really notices though, because thatís sort of how his hair looks normally. But hereís some free advice: if you ever cross a chipmunk, donít let it get in your klister. And happy April Foolís day.

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