Posted by Nordic Dave Adventure Series on Jan 20th 2022


Primeval is an adjective regarding the earliest ages of history in our world.

We are driving in the North Woods travelling to the Sisu ski event , crossing the State Line from Wisconsin into the U.P. on backroads, Nordic Dave was presented with a stupendous primeval forest that suggests what the entire upper Midwest may have looked like prior to the 1820's.

The local town of Ironwood is rich in history from the wonderfully preserved city Town Hall, the mining lore and the ghosts of Finns and Slavs who built this place. The culture is a mix of old and new, people clearly embrace the robust outdoor lifestyle. The primeval world of this land is what draws people from "The Cities" as it's a land that time forgot. 15 miles down the road, the coastline of Lake Superior is as rugged and pristine as when Fur Trappers first encountered Native Tribes. Naturlich, North America's only ski flying jump sits a top a hill with a daunting look that draws you into complete awe. Ski Flying an event so dangerous it's not much on the sports radar anymore yet the word "Extreme" an overused adjective that should be solely reserved for the world of Ski Flying where Ski Flyers go twice as far as Ski Jumpers, hucking so much "big air" that catching a cross wind or jumping too far and landing on the flats can result in serious bodily injury. Folks this ain't Park City, this is Ironwood, a place of uncorrupted beauty where Land Rovers and Californians posing as locals don't exist. Sisu , a Finnish word for gritty and tough. Such is the lifestyle in the land that time forgot. The people here are refreshingly authentic.

The premier event of the day was a 30k skate race that offered just about everything with 800 competitors showing up to have a go at the first big event of the year. Observing the local race suits of the Upper Midwest is always huge entertainment to Nordic Dave as it speaks to a wide variety of race Tribes that exist in the Midwest and makes racing here so fun. The younger kids wear these race suits that are so ugly, each exhibiting a unique expression of individuality and obnoxious color schemes and graphic designs that one would think they are attending an ugly Christmas sweater party. Then there's the next element of 30 something guys who still wear their old college racing suits from some small Midwest college or perhaps a suit they got for qualifying for JN's way back when. The beer gut is usually the dead giveaway of these guys who harken back to their glory days which is sort've like wearing your Varsity High School football jersey to a Sunday afternoon touch football game. Next are the more serious dudes and gals, there is even a team from the Twin Cities named "the serious ones" yet they use a Finnish term for it. No doubt many of these Team suits are worn by road bike racers that you see in the "Off Season". They are definitely bringing their A game to this event and take things more seriously; they are older but usually quite fit. Finally, there are a few old dudes and gals lining up still capable of being in the Elite wave yet we are relics of the past. Our race suits are Primeval we really don't care what it looks like, just glad it still fits and doesn't attract too much attention. Nordic Dave is sporting a mostly white beard these days, it tends to give him a crusty old Father Time look that just may mess with the heads of the aforementioned younger peeps in their various race suits that speak volumes as to who they are. Yeah kid you are drafting Father Time not the other way around, how's that feel ?

Meanwhile back out on course in the hills, ND is having a rollicking good time taking long pulls at the front of the pack seeing who he can drop off the back working the climbs and skating hard on the descent. He doesn't really care that others may or may not take a pull, it's an early season race let's just see what the fitness level is eh? For ND , he's a bit heavy these days, not sure if it's the weight lifting or the newly acquired married life and good cooking, but probably both. Ski Post recently had some article posted about "Less being better". Actually throwing down a few 20 hour training weeks to get fit felt damn good and following a diabolical training plan concocted from the mind of his friend "The Jacked Up Old Man", a two time Olympian, Doctor, Special Forces Afghan War Vet and father of 4 is just the ticket to race one's self back into shape. Racing just to race is damn fun and gaging where you are at, not totally serious but wanting be fit enough to enjoy the experience is a delicate balance at this point in life and keeps us young.

Speaking of which, Adam (Primevel ) Swank won the race that day coming in 1st overall. Adam is a mid to late 40 something year old doctor from Duluth who still keeps himself quite fit probably coupled with a ton of natural talent and was able enough to throw down against Das Kinder (the children) who chased him.

ND finishes 2nd in his Age group and just barely makes the cut to start in the elite wave again. He's contemplating a reduction in beer consumption.

From the Nordic Dave Adventure Series