Birkie Fever is Alive in Minneapolis

Wyatt and I just arrived in the Minneapolis home of Aaron Blazar’s parents. I skied with Aaron during my first (slightly embarassing) year of ski racing with Colby College. The next year Aaron was my assistant coach under Tracey Cote.

The Blazars make an annual tradition of hosting Colby skiers on their way to the American Birkebeiner running from Cable to Hayward in Wisconsin. The cast of characters from Nordic past is deep and wide, including everyone from the class of 2004 (Colin Reuters) to class of 2012 (Jeremy Blazar). Altogether we have about six mules staying with the Blazars and another few who are coming to the race and might be seen at the finish line, or maybe in the bar next to the finish line. It’s a fine distinction. Needless to say this is the finest college reunion I could hope for.

As for the race, there is snow falling tonight and maybe some more tomorrow. The start temps are slated to start around 10 F which is a relief since last started at -3 F or thereabouts. I could maybe do that when I trained in New England but since adapting to California that kind of race start doesn’t sound too inspiring. I don’t think there will be enough snow to make things really punchy which is also a help. Of course, racers in the last few waves will have very difficult snow conditions regardless. 9,000 skiers snowplowing across Wisconsin farm country does not make for a level trail. The trail at the back of the 54km race has been described as a narrow bowling lane with piles of sugar on each side. A challenge for anyone but not something to relish. I am fortunate to have the support of Swix for my early starting berth and Wyatt was offered his berth by Fischer.

I am thrilled to be here representing Far West Nordic at the Birkie. We will keep FW in the loop with some results, photos, and stories of victory and triumph. I am not sure sure how the stories will turn out, but there will be stories.

About Michael

I am running, skiing, and exploring the Sierra Nevada. I first learned to ski at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. After earning a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, I returned to Los Angeles to work for two fire seasons on the Little Tujunga Hotshot Crew (USFS). This is my second winter in Tahoe.