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…
Sitting in the giant beer chair outside the grocery store.
Birkie takes over this town this week. Birkie key racks alongside major sports team racks. It’s a BIG deal.
Welcome to Hayward!
Main Street on Wednesday
Fitz showing off her Skhoop skirt at the finish area.
Giant ski practice!
Checking out the Birkie Trail. Birkie Fever is HOT!
Fitz and me taking the new snow in stride.
Earlier 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.
Stayed 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.
The sun shone all week until the day before the race. Woke up to extreme silence in the falling snow.
Just some nature photos I took at the cabin.
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!
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:
Friday 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!