…and into the BIRKIE.
To race the Birkie and all those around me is after all why I ski. I don’t ski the Birkie because I love nature and the beauty around me. Maybe someday I will realize what a gift it is to be on God’s playground. No, I ski the Birkie because the climbs, the twists, the heart rate, the wax, the stories, the friendships, and the yearning for perfection are what gets under my skin.
Nikole dropped Adam, Nate and I off at McNaught road just 2k away from the start. Its always the perfect warm-up and you feel a little bit like a great skier when you are warming-up with the elites. The start was bumped back ten minutes due to the congestion and overwhelming number of skiers. None-the-less by 8:30 the elites were off and by 8:40 the gun sounded and I was skiing the race that had been calling me back for months.
I came out of the woods and on to Mosquito Brook road, 38k into the race, feeling strong and knowing I was on a sub three hour race pace. Nikole once again made a perfect bottle exchange and after grabbing some fuel at the food station I was ready for the climbs.
I hit Lake Hayward with 2k to go and pulled every ounce of energy that I had left just to hold on to the pack in front of me. Main street couldn’t come soon enough, but when it did, the excitement and the smiling faces from my wife, friends, and family made it all worth the pain!
I skied the 2008 Birkie in 2:52:07, a PR by 1 minute. I skied to a 514th place and was embraced my those who have supported me throughout the year. It was good! No, it was awesome. And yet no matter how awesome I raced it, it still was not enough. And since Saturday I have already started searching for a better plan, a better training year, searching for that better Birkie time. Don’t get me wrong, I will enjoy this one as we did both at the bon fire that evening and at Sawmill Saloon that night.
Five months of training, three pairs of skis, and countless hours of waxing brings this ski season to a close. I’m constantly in awe at those who made this season worth the hours. Nate, who’s persistence helped him ski to his best Birkie ever, 3 hours and ten minutes. Adam, a shot a Yager and a beer later on Lake Hayward, skied to his worst Birkie ever and yet had a blast. The camaraderie and sharing of the stories at the Halberg’s (Thanks Hank, Jim, Aaron, Carl, Mark, and Sarah)! It’s through this that the Birkie calls me back. And its through this that I seek perfection.
I’m your average racer who brings stories from the middle of the pack. My passion is to be great, but in the meantime enjoy the view from the middle.
Cord under the Boards,