In a race with 8000 people, there will be at least 8000 stories by the time the day is over. Torbjorn has gathered talked to a lot of skiers since the Birkie last weekend and here is a selection of the stories he has heard.
Quotes from various skiers:
â€œMy skis were fast and might have been even faster had I not hit some sharp rocks and put some nasty gouges in the bases. One ski had a two inch string of p-tex hanging from near the center grove.
This was my 11th Birkie and I’ve never skied easier before. I went out conservatively and tried to relax and glide as much as possible. Had too much energy at the end and think that I might have been able to be a minute or two faster if I had started quicker and got in a little faster group — I’m already looking forward to next year!â€
Don Pollari, Salt Lake City,Utah- 56th overall full Birkie.
â€œLast year I was the overall winner of the Canadian Keskinada 50K skate race. I’m a FIS license holder and was the top ranked Canadian women entered in the Birkie. I came to race the best European and the top American women.
At8.10 Am on race day I was informed that I did not have the correct bib to race the women I came to race — I needed a green bib!
Instead I was in a â€œseparateâ€ race with 200 elite men. I feel this was unfair treatment. Why was I not informed about the FIS start in advance?â€
Sarah Peters, Canada — 9th overall, women’s 50K
â€œI had a very good day. The icy conditions were hard on the knees and not being sure of my overall fitness I skied quite conservatively. I focused on technique and gliding well. I had too much left at the end and passed several people in the last couple km’s. Much better than the other way around which I also have done. Skis were goodâ€
Jim Mullen, age 45-49 — 107th overall
â€œI started the Birkie feeling great but 200 meters into the race, when I was still double poling some guy skated right across my skis and another guy slammed into my back taking me down so hard I didn’t know where I was for a few seconds. When I became aware, I was facing several hundred skiers coming right at me. I could only protect my skis and poles until the wave had passed. For the next 10k I pushed the pace, passing ? of the first wave and catching the guy who eventually won our age group. I skied with him for 10K but started to bonk and devoted all my remaining energy to skiing with good technique. With 5k to go, I finally began to feel better and had a nice finish, but still finished 15 minutes behind where I normally would be — based upon a number of skiers I have raced against this year. I was disappointed but proud of my finish and realize that there are a number of things that are out of my controlâ€
Gordon Faulkner, age 59 – 450+Th place overall
â€œI had a pretty good race finishing in 2.33 and 128th overall. I was 2nd in the 50-54 age group just 14 seconds out of firstâ€.
â€œA quick note from the 11th Wave in the Korte-loppet Classic
Â I wasn’t expecting much for this year, starting so far back and all. The first 6k or so, to the power lines was tough, no classic tracks at all, just marathon sugar to plow through. There were also a lot of sticks and grass showing through. I was actually getting worried that my kick wax would be gone by the end of the race — I was glad I ironed in a layer of binder — it held through the entire race.
Once we left the Birkie trail things improved greatly — I was pretty tired from passing folks in that sugar snow though. On the Korte trail the tracks was great — except for the uphills where they had been thoroughly trashed by â€œherring bonersâ€ — even small hills that I could have easily stridden up had no tracks and I had to resort to the herring bone as well. I actually had a faster second half of the race — better racing conditions. There were also a couple of crashes that cost me a considerable amount of time — twice I was held up while ski patrollers cared to downed skiers at the bottom of hills. Three times we were made to walk down hill because there was nothing but ice and dirt left on the trail.
All things considered I was pleased with the race — 78th overall and 8th in my age class. Next year!â€