For those of you who missed it, the American Birkie was held last Saturday February 26th from Cable to Hayward Wisconsin. This is 50km skate race through the woods in the middle of nowhere with 10,00 other people and is one of the largest nordic events in North America. The thought of 10,00 people on nordic skies racing through the woods is probably pretty foreign to most people from the western US; it is a sight to behold.
Let me give you a taste of the race: The start for the elite mens field came and went in a farm field at 8:25am under cloudy skis with the temperature hovering near -10 F. Yes, you read that correctly, -10 Fahrenheit. After two hours and 50km the race came to an end on Main Street in Hayward (literally a sprint finish down the main street of town, think Donner Pass Road in downtown Truckee) under still cloudy skis and a temperature of 0 F with a -8 F windchill and light snow beginning to fall. Quite a day as should be expected in the midwest…
Although I paint a less than desirable picture, this race is actually VERY fun. While the weather and location leave something to be desired, the course quality completely makes up for it. The relentlessly rolling, wooded terrain is great skiing. It is like skiing a roller coaster, up and down through pristine woods. There is no skiing like this in the west and it is a refreshing change.
Although there certainly are some odd rules and procedures embedded in the Birkie, I highly recommend bearing the weather and travel to take part in this race. While it might only be in the cards to race it a couple times in your ski career/ recreation, it is well worth your time to check it out.
For those interested, results can be seen here: Birkie 2011 Results
I apologize for the late posting, I had a nice write-up prepared a couple days ago when technology decided it was not going to my day to post…