If you’ve been following along, you can probably tell that it was an awesome weekend for the Birkie. The weather and course were both awesome, which as you probably can figure out, makes for some fast times. Of course, that makes the whole process of comparing results from year to year very difficult.
A couple of weeks ago I thought I was in 3:08ish. Last week I thought I had a shot at sub-3. Halfway through the race, I thought I was on-pace for a 2:58. With 10K to go, I knew that if I averaged 4:00 per kilometer – which is a very conservative calculation because I was skiing closer to 3:30 pace – I’d still ski 2:58. I probably should have factored in 3:30 pace over the last 10K instead of 4:00 pace because when I crossed the line in sub-2:53 instead of 2:58, I was very surprised. That’s a 20-minute improvement over last year.
Again, that sounds great, but then I started to figure out that everyone was skiing much faster than last year. So I thought I’d turn to overall placing to get a better feel. Last year I finished 929 out of 3,327 (28%) and this year I was 924 out of 3,646 (25%). Based on those percentages, I beat about 100 more people than last year.
I can’t say enough great things about this event. All the things I said after last year’s race still hold true. If you’re interested in doing this event, but are leery because you don’t know how to ski, let me say, don’t let that stop you. My friend Scott has gone from zero to finishing the Birkie in about 15 months. So it can be done in a relatively short amount of time.
More importantly than the race itself is the fact that I had a great time all weekend long; pre-race spaghetti dinner and waxing, post-race coffee, dinner, rehashing everyone's race report and finally hanging out at the Sawmill Saloon in Seely with friends, beer, and music. I was fortunate enough to stay with some really cool people. And I got to catch up with my college roommate who I have seen for probably 10 years.
Quote of the day;
“You have to fight. Reach the finishing line or die.” – Gabriel Torenfaelt, the oldest finisher at age 87 of the 90K Vasaloppet in Mora, Sweden