Most often the drive in competition comes from the art of trying to put together that perfect one. I must contend that competition is an art and the Birkie is that fine piece of canvas waiting to be perfectly accomplished. The Birkie went down perfectly on Saturday and a perfect Birkie, some could say, it was.
Toko released their straight forward tip on the Monday of Birkie week and because of the weather pattern it did not change a bit throughout the whole week. That makes for easy waxing and little anxiety. One thing I find intriguing was Toko’s structure recommendation. Every time they release some new tool or gadget they seem to insert it in all their wax reports. Could it be to get desperate and gullible skiers to buy a product and boost their sales?..? I don’t know but I didn’t buy into the need for structure and stuck to what I have been doing to years. And to be honest – I had fast skies…riding up on everyone on the downhills and getting great glide out of them on the uphill. Who knows…but I called their bluff, not mention it saved me 60 bucks as well.
After skiing in from McNaught Rd on fresh cord, I continued to warm up in the -3 degree morning. It was picture perfect and as I watched the first two waves of the classic racers take off I made my way into the wave coral and did everything I could to stay warm for twenty-five minutes. Finally at 8:35 the gun went off and wave one was released. No more than ten yards out a skier ahead of me went down and there was nothing I could do to avoid what was coming. Before I knew it I pile drove the skier’s face into the snow with my knee and the domino affect began. In a split second I went from wanting to have a good start to be at the bottom of a fifteen skier pile with poles snapping and men cussing. It was not pretty, although I don’t really know what it looked like because as I mentioned before I was at the bottom. After what seemed like a minute I was able to wiggle my way out, stand up, check my poles and try to salvage a race the sure got off to a bad start. With both poles intact I found myself at the back of wave one with a lot of work to do.
I didn’t panic because I knew there would be no use in panicking. Instead I began the work of moving my way through the back of wave one and into a pace that I could sustain for 50k. I hit Firetower Hill feeling strong and yet needed to be patient because of the traffic. I felt awesome at the mammoth climb at 17k and I felt amazing at OO. I grabbed a new H2O bottle from my brother and decided to skier a bit harder and maybe work with some of the skiers around me. I was able to ski stronger but no one wanted to work together.
As the sun soaked the trail, the snow got faster along with my skies. I skied the portion from OO to Mosquito Brook the fastest yet and came out feeling strong and ready for the few hills that await. I skied my way to Bitch Hill, dominated the thing, emptied out onto Highway 77. The last part, including the lake, flew. I continued to catch everyone on the downhills and felt like I was effortlessly skiing across the lake. I skied a sub three-hour race and actually knocked ten minutes off my previous best.
This years Birkie, for me, was perfect. I felt like I had just performed my perfect race by perfecting the canvas that so many times has perfected me. Shout out to Aaron, Nate, Hank, and Sarah for great races as well. All five of us accomplished sub three hour races – something that I think some in the group didn’t think would happen three weeks ago.
Thanks to my Family for stopping in and taking care of Ayden while I got out on the skies to train. Thanks to Nikole for her support and encouragement and thanks to Ayden for…well…being Ayden. I began the season uncertain how it would go but ended up skiing a perfect race to end all seasons. Thanks for all your support. Now off to put the summer wax on the skies and pump up the tires on the mountain bike…