A Grand Travesty
by Andrew Kastning

The Grand Traverse this year was an incredible adventure for me. I fell on my face, partially dislocated my shoulder, just an hour into the 40 mi. race, popped it back into place and kept going despite a bad case of the crossed eyes.  5 min later I hit a fence post coming into east river and landed on my face again, this forced my eyes straight again. After that we settled down and skied into second place going over Star Pass and down the other side we were within 5 min of overtaking the lead until my teammate lost his ski in the dark and blowing snow. THere was no way of finding it so we made the decision to hobble out to Taylor Pass and catch a snowmobile ride. We made it about 4 mi doing this and found a course marshall who said they don't give rides for equipment problems, only medical problems.  But the marshal went around the corner and radioed back to Star Pass for racers to look for it and grab the ski. For the next 2.5 hours we sat in a tree well huddled up out of the wind watching all the other racers pass us. My feet got cold and I got anxious to move. No one was bringing the ski so I decided to ski onto Taylor Pass and find someone who would pick Bryan up with a snowmobile plus I could get warm.  Thinking the race was over I sent a snowmobiler back and took a huge slug of Jack Daniels given to me by the local newspaper photographer, who took the attached picture.   However, 5 min before the snowmobiles arrived, the ski arrived and my Teammate Bryan put it on and skied to where I was. We decided to finish the race, for Mike. On one condition, he had to drink some whiskey too.  When we reentered the race we were probably in low 50's placing. With our 2.5 hour break in the trees we were rested and skied strong into Aspen, finishing 29th.  When we crossed the line a huge roar from the crowed went up because the story had spread and built up about the two dudes, one with a bloody face, the other with one ski, sitting in a tree well. It was something I will never forget...
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