Friday, March 3, 2017

Birkie

Mitch Brunette: Director of Operations

Birkie Fever built up greatly this year, and came to an abrupt halt for only the 2nd time in 45 years!  There are a few places in the Metro Area that make snow, so Cross Country Skiers like myself and Tyler Olson, can ski as soon as the temperatures drop low enough.  Unfortunately, the Birkie trail in Northern Wisconsin, isn’t one of them!  With the unfavorable temperatures, there was no way to put on a race of any significance, and just like that, it was cancelled.

The last two years I’ve completed the 24K Kortie race, while Tyler Olson dominates the 50K.  Finishing in the Elite top 200 each year, a very high level class of athletes, is something in which Tyler can be very proud of.  While I don’t have a race to write about this week, I can write about all that I’ve gained since the last Birkie, 365 days ago. 

Last year I finished the Kortie feeling incredibly strong, well trained, and had cut nearly an hour off my time the year prior!  That was one heck of a sense of accomplishment and I left knowing I could train myself  to do the full 50k next year.  Unfortunately, the lack of snow got in the way of my goal and dream.  That doesn’t change the fact that I trained properly and was 100% ready to finish the race strongly.  In the last 365 days, I’ve raised my minimum training distance thresholds, improved technique, taken on more challenging trails over longer distances, built up my endurance/lung capacity, and most importantly, built up my confidence. 

In the end, I didn’t get to ski a race, but at the peak of my training, I found myself skiing 46K at the same pace or faster than I’d ski the 24k Kortie in the past years.  The way I see it, I get one more year to master technique, toughen up, and ski my way into Wave 1, behind the Elites.  Birkie Fever 2018 is well underway...time to get after it!