Rebecca Dussault won both the Elite Sprints and the American Birkebeiner Worldloppet last year. She ended last year’s race in a sprint to the finish with Holly Brooks for a fantastic lunge across the line which she won by a toe in a photo finish. Dussault is riding a wave of impressive victories, and is a heavy favorite for the 2010 Birkie title this weekend. Coming off an amazing string of 7 wins in the past 7 SuperTour races she has entered, Dussault was also crowned champion of the 2010 Winter Triathlon World Championships in Eidsvoll, Norway earlier this month.
How many times have you raced the Birkie?
What are your best finishes (besides last year’s win):
7th in 2004.
What are the most important things you’ve learned about marathon racing which helped you to win last year’s Birkie?
I have learned that the race is very long and there is ample time for strategies to play out. I also know that the race pace gets lifted from time to time and you just have to grit and hang on because usually it dies back down and you can settle back in.
What are the most important things you’ve learned specifically from your past birkie races?
I have learned to dress warm cause it is always so cold at the start! Actually, as true as that is, I have learned a lot just in doing two Birkies. My first Birkie is marked in my memory as being mainly uphill and last year’s race is marked as being downhill. I just know that the start is often intimidating with the amount of climbing, but the course mellows out as you tick off the kilometers. Racers need to keep the faith and hold the pace. Somewhere way down that trail is Hayward!
Will you compete in the sprint?
I plan to take part in the elite sprints. These are a great way to get the legs moving at this low altitude.
Which of your teammates are entered in the Birkie this year? Who else do you think will be the main competition in this year’s race?
I think that all of the women on the CXC team will be taking part in this year’s race. The main competition will come from anyone entered who is serious about winning one of the hardest ski races in North America.
Your favorite thing about the Birkie:
My favorite thing is finishing downtown through a tunnel of screaming spectators. It is the most Alp d’ Huez feeling you can get on nordic skis. I hope all of you who read this will either be racing or there screaming for us.
I am psyched to have my family here this year rooting me all the way to another victory!