Project GT: Meet Team DadFit

Will old age and treachery in fact prevail over youth and exuberance?

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At the risk of stating the obvious, I would like to point out that the transition from footloose young adventurer to family man is a mixed blessing. The upsides are many, including all of the wonderful lovey-dovey things associated with the nurturing of one’s family. The downsides? Well, not being able to simply run off and train (or quaff beers) whenever one wants, for one. And not being able to obliviously enjoy a blissful lack of nagging injuries. [insert cliché here: something along the lines of “Alas, how youth is wasted on the young.”]

It’s those perceived disadvantages that define Team DadFit, one half of this Project GT competition. In case you’ve not been keeping up with the #ProjectGT Slog Blog, click here to get the scoop. Basically, Project GT is about two teams of two skiers competing in one of North America’s most famous and difficult backcountry ski races, the Elk Mountains Grand Traverse, which takes place March 29, 2014. The “Slog Blog” is the way Skiing is keeping track of the training and gear required for the event.

Team DadFit consists of, you guessed it, two working fathers trying to balance the challenges of family-rearing and bacon-winning with the necessity of training for a 40ish-mile ski race, all while swimming against the inexorable current of time and the accompanying decline of our once young and vigorous physical bodies. We are Eric “Hende” Henderson, 40, and yours truly, 38, of Boulder, Colorado.

Eric is married with three young children and works as the communications manager for Dynafit North America, purveyor of fine boots, bindings, skis, and apparel for the discerning adventure skier. I’m also married (and if I expect to remain so need to find a way to keep my training from interfering with parent-teacher conferences, date night, etc.) with children, and I daylight as the editor of Skiing. We’ve both broken parts of our spines in the past seven years—Eric during a terrible fall in Alaska’s Chugach mountains, where he was working as a heli-skiing guide, and me when I head-butted an aspen tree in Utah.

By contrast, the two members of Team Grasshopper, or whatever they’ve taken to calling themselves, are both under thirty, childless, and healthy. They can train whenever they want, drink all night and wake up feeling fine, and think about and execute work duties outside of normal working hours. Must be nice. But it only means that Hende and I have to work a little harder and smarter.

Now if you’ll pardon me, I’ve got to go prepare some school lunches.