Sunday, February 25, 2007

Birkie Blog

Hi, it's Kate, with the post-Birkie report.

This was a particularly mentally grueling Birkie due to the changing nature of the press releases in the days leading up to the event. My boyfriend, Michael, went up to Hayward on Wednesday to set up the Craft booth at the expo. He called me that afternoon to tell me it was 52 degrees and raining there.

I didn't let that depressing news deter me from packing up my many bags of stuff and heading over to Northern WI on Thursday morning to meet my mom, sister and niece at the cabin we rent on Lake Namakagon. It was my mom's 24th Birkie, my sister's 14th, and my 4th. My 17 year old neice has done a Birkie event every year since she was three years old, and this was her 2nd Kortelopet.

On the drive over, I got a call from Michael "did you hear? the race is on hold unless they get snow before saturday morning." I started to wonder whether I should stop my carbo loading process, and was it worth it to pay to have my skis waxed? I remembered previous years when there was no snow on the ground anywhere else, but the trail still held that ribbon of white, so I dropped my skis off anyway. At Outdoor Ventures in Hayward, they looked at me a little funny when I said I wanted them waxed "did you hear about what's going on with the race?" Yes, but I was holding out hope anyway.

All day Thursday we wondered whether it would be another cancelled Birkie. The forecast didn't look like we'd get the three inches of snow they said they'd need to put on a safe race.

On Friday we got the good news. The Birkie was on for half the distance, but there would be no times recorded, and people could start anytime within half hour time frames. This was a little odd, but hey, we still got to ski!

The weather was great, the people were good-humored, and the trail, despite any snowfall prior to the race, was in surprisingly good condition.

Everyone was very cautious on the icy downhills, especially after we saw one poor guy lying on the trail who had a broken hip and compound fracture of his leg. It reminded me that even a seemingly safe sport like cross country skiing can have its dangers.

Even though it was a recreational ski, I did bring a watch and noticed that if I'd have done the whole thing, I probably would've done better than last year. It gives me something to aim for next time.

Sunday morning we attended the Birchbark Leggings breakfast with my mom, who belongs to that special club for people who have completed 20 or more Birkies. It's so inspiring to see all these people who have participated in up to 34 of these races, and they really want to pass along the enthusiasm to the younger people.

Our family is not the fastest bunch of skiers, but we know how to enjoy ourselves while keeping up a tradition. My mom dubbed us "Team Sturdy Women." I'm looking forward to next year, when my niece will be old enough to ski the 51 km race, and we can have three generations of Sturdy Women in the Birkie.

Hope everyone else who attended had a great time as well!

"if you're gonna ski the birkie, you better put some time in trainin'
cuz if you don't pay attention to that, you're in for a little pain-in'

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2 Comments:

At 7:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the report! Mmmmm ice and hills mmmmm. Some day I just wanna go see the thing and spectate. Or learn how to ski (in public that is) and do the Birke.
Barb

 
At 1:47 PM, Blogger manda said...

You so RAWK for blogging!!!

 

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