The weather was the real story at this year's Dirksen derby. It was classic case of Murphy's Law. Plan an event and watch the clouds roll on in. That's what happened at Bachelor this weekend. It rained. We're talking torrential downpour -- sheets of it all day, with flood warnings and everything. It was a storm of Biblical proportions. But that didn't stop the Groms, the Women, the Sit Skiers, the Splitboarders and the Older and Wiser men from charging the chunder on Saturday.
There's no denying that the conditions made things challenging. No wax combination worked, and even Gore-Tex was unable to keep out the wet. Then there were all the race course electronics…
As contest organizer/namesake Josh Dirksen put it: "Rain and timing systems definitely don't mix."
Fortunately, the skies broke on Sunday and The Token Skiers, the Men's and the Men's Elite (racers who've won, placed or showed in Derbies past) got to race in near-perfect banked slalom conditions. The snow was fast and soft and the banks got bigger and better worked in with each lap.
"Last year a bunch of people [entered the event]," said Dirksen, "so we decided to spread it out with a parallel slalom to get going double time and also doing a two-day event. That was kinda lucky. It would've been a bummer if we had to end on yesterday's rain."
Despite the weather everyone in attendance seemed super-charged. It was silly, really, having so much fun in such nasty conditions. Maybe it was because it was all for a good cause. The Dirksen Derby is a benefit for Tyler Eklund, a friend of Dirksen's who was paralyzed in a snowboarding accident. Eklund now races in the sit ski division and, like everyone else who raced, he was all smiles, all weekend. As one racer put it as he was about to drop in for a post-race run with his friends:
"I'm smiling the second I drop in on this course. It's just so much fun."
And that's all there is to it.