As we all know, this past weekend was Birkie weekend! Growing up in the Midwest, I’ve watched my parents, friends, and countless other athletes ski in this event, so it was pretty cool to finally be able to race it myself! Although I’ve done my fair share of skiing on the Birkie trail system, the race was honestly a lot more challenging than I was expecting. If you’ve ever raced the Birkebeiner, you know that there is a considerable amount of climbing and a minimal amount of rest on the course. The trails wind all around the woods and bring you up and over just about every hill the area has to offer. The challenging course combined with the competitive field of skiers made for one of the tougher races I have done.
All the Birkie necessities- Bliz Fusion was a must (:
The race started out controlled, and the lead pack stayed tight together. Skiing in a big pack was super fun as most of us haven’t gotten to do any mass start races this year. There are a lot of tactics and technique that go into pack skiing; this is something that the older and more experienced athletes are generally better at. Between pacing, deciding when to surge, taking feeds, knowing when to draft, and when to break away, there are a lot of ways to gain time on you competitors, but also room for error. I’ve done a few marathons over the past couple of years in Alaska, but I know that I have a lot of areas to improve in regard to my racing tactics. I think the only way to get better at marathons is to keep on racing them, so I’m looking forward to many more in my future!
Around 20k I could feel my legs starting to get heavy and I felt like I needed to slow my pace down. Another skier and I fell off of the lead pack and continued working together for the next half of the race. During the last 10k, my energy started to come back. I was able to pick up my pace and catch back up to a few of the skiers in front of me; finishing in 9th place. I had a ton of fun racing and was decently happy with the result- but I am eager to come back next year for more.
Crossing the finish line!
|As for now, the BSF pro team is spending a few more days in Wisconsin skiing on the Birkie trail before heading to Minneapolis for some regional races. After this race series we’ll have a bit of time at home in Bozeman before heading out to Sun Valley for spring series.|
That’s all for now, happy March!!