BIRKIE FEVER

BIRKIE FEVER!

I had limited internet two weeks ago up in the North Woods of Wisconsin, so I’m just now posting pictures from the American Birkebeiner, a 50km marathon race from Cable to Hayward. I arrived on a Sunday night and had aaalllll week to really get the “Birkie Fever” stoked hot. Warning: this post is photo heavy…

DSCN0618Sitting in the giant beer chair outside the grocery store.

DSCN0621When we exited the store, there was a cop car….Hmm…

DSCN0619Birkie takes over this town this week. Birkie key racks alongside major sports team racks. It’s a BIG deal.

DSCN0624Welcome to Hayward!

DSCN0623Main Street on Wednesday

IMG_8798Main Street on Thursday!
The finish is at the end of the street where the banner is.

IMG_8795Fitz showing off her Skhoop skirt at the finish area.

IMG_8799Giant ski practice!

IMG_8807Checking out the Birkie Trail. Birkie Fever is HOT!

IMG_8810Fitz and me taking the new snow in stride.

DSCN0625Earlier in the week on a run. The landscape makes me think of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book, “Little House in the Big Woods” which was about her growing up in the North Woods of Wisconsin.

DSCN0626Stayed in a cabin on a lake for the first few days. Thank you so much to Scott and Kay Wilson at Crest Hill Resort for letting me stay there.

IMG_8803The sun shone all week until the day before the race. Woke up to extreme silence in the falling snow.

IMG_8801Just some nature photos I took at the cabin.

IMG_8800This little guy was trying to steal birdseed.

RACE DAY

Race day was brutal. With the fresh snow the day before, the trail was significantly softer and slower than it had been training all week. The elite women started at 8am, which is possibly the earliest ski race I’ve ever done. I didn’t warm up enough, so my calves cramped a bit out of the start but relaxed after a few km and I was able to pick up the pace and ski with a good pack of 4-5 girls. Unfortunately, I took an ill-timed feed around halfway, got dropped from my pack and was never able to tag back on. So I ended up skiing the whole second half of the race alone, which is just a recipe for disaster. In a race that long, it’s crucial to ski in a pack; it’s much easier to push yourself, as well as trading off leads and drafting, so that was a bummer. Then I started bonking around 35-36km, got passed by several women over the next torturous 15km and finished way down in 23rd place. I tried to stick with them, but my body just would not respond. I was determined to finish though, no matter what, and so now I can say that I have completed the American Birkebeiner. It wasn’t the top-ten finish I was looking for, but I did finish second in my age group, which got me a nice workout shirt and mug!

birkie-juliejoywennerSkiing solo… (photo by Julie Wenner)

claire-birkie-podiumClaire (left) placed 2nd in the 54km classic race! AND she used my skis to do it 🙂 (photo courtesy Birkie Foundation)

Home for a week

After the Birkie, I headed home for a few days. I thought it was going to be relaxing week at home, but I ended up doing a lot of errands and promotional stuff for APUNSC:

IMG_0299I was one of the “talent” (along with Greta and Reese) in a commercial shoot for Conoco Phillips Alaska, one of our biggest team sponsors.

Aces-puck-dropFriday night was APU night at the Alaska Ace’s hockey game, sponsored by another one of our biggest team sponsors Carlile Transportation. Reese and I got to drop the puck! We felt pretty famous… (photo courtesy Alaska Aces)

I also helped out with an up-and-coming event called Ski4Lunch, where people can come ski on the Park Strip downtown during their lunch-hour, with demo skis sponsored by NANANordic. But I haven’t gotten those photos from Reese yet… Being home was nice though, I got to unload a lot of stuff from my duffel that I didn’t need for the rest of the season and pick up stuff that I would need. It was also spectacular weather, with sun and warm temperatures. Now I am off to Italy for two weeks of OPA racing! 

IMG_8814View towards Anchorage, Fire Island with the wind turbines, and Mt. Redoubt volcano at sunset. And people wonder why I love Alaska…

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