Saturday, February 26, 2011

Dang That's Cold

This was the second coldest Birkie in the 38 years that it's been held. Based on how I was feeling with about 10 km to go, I have absolutely no reason to argue with that statistic. We (Sarah, Hugh, Denise, and I) rousted from bed a little after 5:00 am. After some last minute packing/changing and breakfast, we headed north to the start a little after 7:00. It was 10 degrees below zero. No biggie though, after all there were another 8,500 skiers or so gearing up to do the race. We ran the schedule a little tight; and by the time I finished putting on my kick wax and getting my boots on, I had missed my wave 5 start by a couple of minutes. Fortunately they allow for this, and I was able to tag on to the back end of wave 6. Despite the cold, course conditions were excellent. It's really amazing the amount of work (especially the volunteers) that goes into putting on the largest cross country ski race in North America. The grooming is excellent. The aid stations, of which there are 11 along the 54 km course, are staffed by dozens of super enthusiastic and helpful volunteers. It's a tough race to ski, but I really wouldn't be interested in standing around in arctic temperatures all day handing out drinks and bananas to the thousands of skiers that pass through each one. I was sure to thanks as many of the volunteers as I could. Even the volunteers manning the registration tables the day before seem thrilled to be helping out with such an awesome event. So anyway back to the race. I started off really well. I wasn't pushing too hard, and I felt really good. I was definitely cold, but not unbearably so. I was passing people pretty consistently, and managing to eat and drink pretty regularly as well. The course is just awesome. There are three sets of tracks set on the classic course, and so it's pretty easy to get around people. The downhills are also a real hoot. Generally the runout is clearly visible and straight so you can really let loose and carry some serious speed into the next uphill. I was still feeling strong with about 15 km to go, and then the cold finally sunk it's vicious claws into me. My speed dropped to barely moving, and when I limped into the last aid station with 5.7 km to go I had to bust out my emergency shell with the hood. Fortunately I didn't need to stay put for too long. I had 2 cups of warm Heed and 2 slices of orange before setting out for the finish. There were still a couple of long downhills that chilled me to the core, but once I got onto Lake Hayward I was able to get moving enough to generate some body heat. By the time you get off the lake, the thousands of spectators lining Main Street with all there cowbells and such pretty much make you forget about all the pain and the cold (until you cross the finish line that is). Another Birkie and another great experience. To top it all off, I was a little over 20 minutes faster than last year, despite reportedly slower snow conditions. I'll take it.


*I stole the picture, it is not me. by Richard Hoeg

From the 2011 American Birkebeiner Race Guide:
The numbers..what it takes to host the Birkie!
2,000 volunteers, 20,000 spectators, 11 food and medical stops, 2,000 oranges, 5,000 bananas, 5,000 cups of hot chocolate, 600 gallons of soup, 5,000 gallons of water, 1,500 gallons of sports drink, 98,000 cups, 16,000 cookies, 5,000 doughnut holes, and 165 portable toilets. Plus all the skiers and their support staff. Thanks Sarah.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Slacker

I've been slacking in the blog quite a bit as of late. I can honestly blame a lot of the slacking on the absolutely horrible weather we've had this winter. Our lack of snow has made it very difficult/boring to keep up with the training, but I've been doing my best. Besides, after this Saturday I can start thinking about the upcoming bike season (about which I am very excited). So to save Sarge the hassle of keeping up with his blog and this one, I'll put up the video for this Wednesday. This is a race that has been on my radar for a couple of years now. I know it won't happen this year, but I definitely want to do it at some point in the next few years.



I'll report in after the Birkie.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Video Wednesday

Does this mean that I'm now the self-appointed "Video Wednesday" guy?  Keepin' it real, yo.

Everyone should have one of these in their neck of the woods...



Saturday, February 12, 2011

Bodhi



Bodhi went to doggie heaven this morning around 10:00. He's been showing the signs of aging quite a bit over the last few months, but last night when we got home it was clear that something very serious was wrong with the big guy. Sarah took him into the vet this morning and left him to get some tests done. The Dr. called a little while later to give Sarah the bad news. I left work and met Sarah over at Bay Pines so we could both be with him at the end. We all are going to miss him for sure, but he did have a pretty great life. Have a good thought for the big guy this weekend.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Monday, February 07, 2011

WNR # 1 (Sort Of)


Saturday was the first unofficial kick off of the year for the WNR! And yes, it was still as competitive as ever!

Attendence: Chris, Amber, AC, Cheryl, Pete, Sarah, Racin' Rob, Kevin,Bobbi, Matt & Jessilynn.


While most of us have a secret passion for bowling, we are not very good. Except for Racin' Rob. R2 showed up just a bit late, threw some shoes on and walked right up and threw a lefty curve ball and a strike. All of our mouths just dropped. Yep R2 has more hidden talents!


Two games, beer, pizza, sore arms and laughs! Great start to the New Year!


It really was a great time! I loved our surprised faces whenever we knocked some pins down or the joy of actually getting a strike!


Good Luck to Secret Steve and Moriah, baby boy Schultz will arrive some time in March.




Wednesday, February 02, 2011

14 Minutes

That's how long it took the LBJ 100 to sell out last night starting at 8:00. Fortunately I went over to Hugh's about a quarter till and we both got in with about 6 minutes to spare. I'm already looking forward to it. Getting shut out last year left a gaping hole in my usual calendar, and it made it really hard to stay motivated through the spring. Not so this year. I've still got that little ski race in Wisconsin at the end of the month, but after that I'll be back in the saddle. Now that I've gotten my main objective nailed down for the first half of the bike season I can start filling in the rest of the race schedule. Over and out.