Hi Everyone!Just a quick update about my latest adventure in America!! I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to race in the 41st American Birkebeiner, thanks to my sponsor Out There and the organizing committee!
The next morning I made it to the airport and checked in...no problems with the rifle (first time ever!) but was charged 400 euros for my bags (damn!). BUT....I made it onto the plane to JFK so life was good! Arriving at 9:30pm into Minneapolis and I was greeted by a smiling-bearded man who could have only been my sponsor, Bjorn, owner of Out There! Yahooo!!! After being intercepted by two lost Russians also on their way to the Birkie, we 4 jumped in for a 2 hour drive to Rice Lake,
|Where skiers go to get picked up at the Birkie|
|The driveway out from the house|
The course was just gorgeous. 2 nights before there had been a massive snowstorm with 18 inches of new snow which not only collapsed and ruined two huge warmup tents, but also made the conditions very slow. There we were, us tiny spandex-clad ladies speeding through the trees of Wisconsin, working together to be faster by switching leaders periodically. One lady and I were working very well together until at the 25km feed station she got it caught under a volunteers foot and broke her pole- shoot!
After getting one gel and a couple sips of water at 25km, myself and another competitor teamed up to work together to catch some more women. It was amazing- we attacked the hills, pushed up and over the tops, and at this speed, we passed 10 or so girls putting us in 10th and 11th position. It was an amazing feeling. Coming into the 39th km feed station, I tried to grab some gels from the volunteers, but missed both of them, as well as the water. The girl I was skiing with was already heading out, so I though "10 more km, I can do it". 30 seconds later I hit the wall so hard that I cannot even explain the pain I was in trying to just stay with this girl.
|Imagine this but 10 thousand more.|
Slowly but surely she made time on me...I was losing her. My legs did not even feel apart of my body. I remember coming to one hill, putting my head down, and just staring at my leg, willing them to keep going one in front of the other. I was in autopilot, just trying to suffer through and finish. This is when the first 2 girls passed me. As they passed, I tried my hardest to jump in behind them, but there was no chance- I lasted 30 meters, and they were off. At 46km I got a drink of some Enervit sport drink, which felt like heaven coursing through my body, but it was too late. I was done.
|Post Birkie bratwurst and beer!|
After a luke warm shower and a hot soup, I stayed and cheered on the finishers. 10 500 racers! CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT NUMBER= TEN THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED! It was incredible. My sponsor (Bjorn and Kris) both raced the classic 54km birkie, making an amazing atmosphere at the finish line of tired, ecstatic racers. I cannot thank them enough for their hospitality and kindness, their support and love- They are not just a sponsor, but a friend, and now my Birkie family.
I was able to get on the flight Monday morning, and arrived back in Canmore after 10 months away. That was a long trip, a little too long, and I am so happy to be back in a place I know, with my family.
I hope this finds everyone happy and healthy! Ill try to find some photos to send through!!