Ear to the ground:
“All my first dates start at Applebee’s. I don’t know about the second one, I’ve never had one.”
– Local bachelor lamenting his poor luck in restaurant preferences and love.

Man vs. Worlds
Durango’s man with lungs of steel, ski mountaineer Scott Simmons, is back from his latest conquest.

Simmons and partner, Olympic rower Greg Ruckman, placed 22nd in the SkiMo World Championship Team Relay held Feb. 8 in Pelvoux, France.
A record-setting 210 racers from 23 countries competed in the seventh edition of the Worlds. The events consisted of six races over the course of six days, with the team race being the most prestigious, pitting the world’s elite racers against one another. The event entailed 8,500 feet of climbing on a 15-mile course, with one racer pulling the other during moments of struggle, helping each other during transitions, and keeping each other fed and hydrated during the three-hour ordeal. Teams wear harnesses and carry a special bungee cord to keep pace.

In 2011’s World Championships in Italy, Simmons and Ruckman were the top American team until a crash and broken ski took them out of the top running.

Simmons, who is sponsored by Durang-based Verde PR, shared some race insights on his blog. “A cold start to the race today, -18c. We arrived an hour early for the start and huddled in the car for as long as possible. Typical Euro style, the bathroom was a hole in the ground.”

After the 8:45 a.m. start, Team Simmons/Ruckman were the first place North Americans  after 5,000-plus feet of climbing and were in 13th overall at the highpoint of the course. However, the downhills proved more challenging than expected, and they quickly found themselves being passed.  After a “spectacular crash” by Ruckman, the two were passed by fellow Americans, Tom Goth and Andy Dorais (20th) and struggled to catch up.
“We skated hard to catch them and skinned to the line neck and neck to lose by .5 seconds,” wrote Simmons.

Dorais’ blogged about the irony of the final seconds of the race, where he was pitted against his American cohorts.  “It was pretty funny that we’d traveled all this way to end up racing each other.”

The four U.S. mens teams in the race finished 10th, 17th, 20th and 22nd. The U.S. women's team finished in sixth place.