Some athletes in Ski to Sea claim to be experts in their event, but not Breanna Bart of the Logos team.
"I had only been cross-country skiing twice before joining the team," Bart, 26, said. "It was an opportunity to try something new and get good at it."
The Bellingham resident became Logos' cross-country skier for the Sunday, May 25, relay race after telling the team she would do any event, but she admitted it wouldn't have been her first choice. She would have been more prepared for the running leg, having completed two half-marathons and a full marathon.
"The fitness and muscle control from running helped with my training," Bart said. "It's a 4-mile intermediate to advanced course, so if you went out without training, you'd be toast."
As a competitive equestrian rider, Bart knows how to physically push herself and her horse during training and competitions. She uses that experience in her training for Ski to Sea to keep a competitive pace.
After learning she would be tackling the cross-country leg, Bart took a private lesson in Whistler, B.C. She had grown up skiing, but switched to snowboarding at age 13. The lesson helped her get a feel for the technique and gain the confidence to start training on her own.
"It's really rhythmic and gives you a full-body workout," Bart said. "You can do it all throughout your life. Once you get the technique it isn't too challenging. You just have to use your whole body to move forward."
Though the challenge of a new event in such a large competition might be daunting for some, Bart welcomes the trial.
"I'm not nervous, but there is a lot of hill work; it's not your typical flat cross-country ski course," she said. "Plus there will be about 500 people next to you, too."
Embracing her new sport, Bart wants to continue racing for Logos in Ski to Sea each year. As the team's only female this year, she hopes her example inspires other women to join next year.
"I think of it as a challenge where I can show that I can do anything," Bart said. "We're looking to be competitive and be a team, really push each other. I'd love to continue and keep doing the same leg every year. This is kind of the trial run."
Reach Alex Peterson at 360-715-2285 or email@example.com.