American Birkie 2018

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E365
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American Birkie 2018

Postby E365 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 5:01 pm

Who skied it? Any good stories?

What a wonderful day to ski. Temps, trail and scenery were all spectacular.

I did the Classic race and I had perfect kick all race. Multiple layers of Swix VR40 (blue fluoro) were a tad slow on my warm up, so I added a thin layer of old Swix VF20 (green fluoro, similar to VR30) and that helped noticeably. Base was ironed-in Swix VG35 that I allowed to set-up overnight as recommended by Swix. Never done the overnight set-up before. I had a friend loan me some Rex 30G hard wax (new snow, top layer), but I didn’t want to test that on race day when my kick was feeling good in the warm up. I see Rex was happy with 30G in a post-race social media post.

Glide wax was FastWax HSF-20 Tan with ironed-in Rex TK-245 powder. No complaints there as I didn’t notice they were any better or worse than others around me.

Used my 2010(?) Salomon Equipe 10s. This pair has always run really well in cold weather and hard wax conditions. Hasn’t been ground in years, probably worn to fine.

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Re: American Birkie 2018

Postby MN Hoser » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:00 pm

Maybe I should work backwards.

-Might be my last Birkie. I need some engine work.
-I finished the race and my wife broke out crying. Skis were great, ran a low heart rate, finished 350 places worse than any Birkie in 20 years.
-30 min before the race, I took a fast acting beta blocker, checked my HR on a big hill at about 13km and I was at 148 bpm. I averaged 130 bpm for the race. My threshold is somewhere in the 160s.
-Friday I was scheduled for a transesophageal echocardiogram and cardioversion, which got cancelled because I went into rhythm on Wed afternoon. Got an EKG on Thr and a thumbs up Thr afternoon. Drove up Fri night.
-After Mora, my heart went into afib (again) and I was out of rhythm for the next 9 days. During that time, I happened to have an appt with my heart doc who analyzed my data from races this year. He said that I've been racing in afib and that I'm in afib more than I realize. He recommended an ablation of the pulmonary veins (standard procedure). In the meantime, he prescribed some fast acting beta blockers for the Birkie but didn't think they'd do much. (This was 10 days before the Birkie.) The week of the Birkie, lots of relatives and friends were wondering what the hell I was doing thinking about racing.
-I wondered what the hell I was doing.
-Felt awful at Mora, basically the whole race. Wore a holter monitor during the race.
-Felt awful at National Masters 30 km, basically the whole race. Wore a holter monitor during the race.
-Etc.

Jay

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Burgesse
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Re: American Birkie 2018

Postby Burgesse » Tue Feb 27, 2018 6:39 am

I feel somewhat like Jay - might be my last one. This was number 22 for me, and the slowest, hardest I can recall. I’m never fast but 5:25 is slow. We had such very cold weather for most of Dec. and Jan. it was impossible to get many long days in, and I suffered for that. As many have reported, the snow was loose on all the uphills and even starting early in wave 70 I couldn’t maintain skating them. Fastwax HF Tan was good and my skis were rockets in the downhill tracks so that part was fun. I was 3 of 7 in the old fart group.... But it’s good to still be skiing. 8)

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Re: American Birkie 2018

Postby JeffOYB » Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:40 am

Darn, Jay, I hope you can get back to having fun outside after the docs get done buffing up your pumper. After they fix this stuff, don't folks often get back to going fast? I know a couple guys. I guess they're not contending for podium but I think one is still up there pretty good.

About the soft tatters snow in the late waves of the Birkie -- is this where Birkie skis come in? Aren't you supposed to use really soft skis? or at least have a really soft tip? I remember having "birkie skis" the one time I did it and they were able to swim very nicely in the deep soft stuff. But it was more like swimming the skis than normally skiing them. They were still rockets.
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Re: American Birkie 2018

Postby MN Hoser » Tue Feb 27, 2018 4:21 pm

First off, it was a fantastic day for skiing. I was skiing off the back of the Top 200 wave. In fact Nicolai and I were arguing for the final position since he has an ankle injury. So we talked a bit during the first km, maybe two, then he said I better lead. Since I was alone basically the whole "race," I was able to pick my line and I didn't have any problem with soft snow. Many times were was only one good line (not broken down). I saw a lot of soft snow considering only a few hundred skis had gone before me, and my skis are not good in soft snow. Love the new start line.

Yes, people like Bjorgen and Kalla (I believe) have had ablations, but I'm not holding my breath that'll get me back to what I could do 5 years ago. Of course maybe it would be better since I was already having problems back then, but I also have a beer gut problem now.

It's surprising how fragile conditioning is. I was doing pretty well until about Jan 1, and then I had to take time off because I wasn't recovering. I was doing walks for workouts and then for two weeks before the Birkie I sat on my ass. Also, I think the afib made my heart tired (sounds odd), but it's the best way I can describe it. So I think that was the big reason my HR was so low during the race. Maybe that was a good thing for overall health since I would have pushed the pace after about the 15 km mark.

The conversations are interesting because a number of skiers are fairly frightened of having heart problems. It seems like such a common thing particularly in the past prime age groups.

Jay

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Re: American Birkie 2018

Postby dcpattie » Tue Feb 27, 2018 5:18 pm

Hang in there Jay - no never know how you will feel 6 months from now. My dad was had issues with afib about 12 years ago - he was in his early 60's. He is a very active person and serious runner. The afib really put a dent in his running for about 6 years. He had several ablations and started taking coumadin; however, it was several years later when we started feeling better. Today (knock on wood) he is doing great and running half marathons in his mid-70's. Cutting out all coffee and alcohol seemed to be the biggest factors for his recovery.
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Re: American Birkie 2018

Postby Montana » Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:29 am

Burgesse wrote:I feel somewhat like Jay - might be my last one. This was number 22 for me, and the slowest, hardest I can recall. I’m never fast but 5:25 is slow. We had such very cold weather for most of Dec. and Jan. it was impossible to get many long days in, and I suffered for that. As many have reported, the snow was loose on all the uphills and even starting early in wave 70 I couldn’t maintain skating them. Fastwax HF Tan was good and my skis were rockets in the downhill tracks so that part was fun. I was 3 of 7 in the old fart group.... But it’s good to still be skiing. 8)


I'm 71 and skied my 38th Birkie Classic in Wave 70. For some 5:25 might be slow but for me my time of 5:22 was my best classic time since before I first skated a Birkie sometime in the latter half of the 1980s.

As I aged I gained weight for some reason ;) Seems a common problem though. My wife got after me a couple of years ago and I dropped 40 pounds. Training on snow is also hard where I live. Yes I live in Montana but groomed trails are a long way from me and driving conditions are often extreme. I try to get out once or twice a week but sometimes a week slips by with no skiing on groomed terrain. So I added gym workouts that include many reps with weights, almost daily work on a rowing machine, a stationary bicycle and snow shoveling.

I used Vauhti Quick Glide HF Mid for the glide zones. For kick I ironed in Vauhti Base Super on Thursday and let the skis sit. After the new snow Thursday night and given the weather forecast I applied 4 layers of Ski-Go HF Violet for grip on Friday morning. Didn't expect -8 F at the start but should have remembered how cold it often is near Cable. I thought about a top layer of a harder wax but shrugged it off. Had bomber kick at the start but skis were slow. After about 10 km they got better. The only place kick was iffy was in the heavily glazed sections of track like just past the Mosquito Brook feed that I encountered later in the day. Getting out of the tracks solved that problem. I doubled poled from Wheeler Road to Main Street (except for going up the bridge) and still had kick for the last uphill bit on Main Street. The weather was wonderful and the new snow was really nice. The tracks stayed pretty firm for me throughout but in some places the poling areas were soft and poling less efficient. I'll be back next year.
39th consecutive Birkie in 2019!
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Re: American Birkie 2018

Postby bmullin » Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:42 pm

My quest for Elite Wave qualification will continue again in 2019.

This was my fifth Birkie. I've steadily gotten better and this year was no different. I finished 318th overall and 293rd male in 2:43:53. Those are all personal bests for me.

It was a great day to be out skiing. I appreciate the soft snow. It is way better than no snow. Coming down the hill between B-Hill and Hatchery Creek I couldn't help but exclaim how amazing it was out there on the trail. The snow from the week was clinging to all of the trees and the sun was shining brightly.

Training this year was going reasonably well until I face planted hard enough at a Wednesday night fun race that I broke a couple of ribs back in early January. That set me back a little bit. I continue to need to work on both the numerator and denominator of my power to weight ratio. I think I'm also a bit of a head case when it comes to the Birkie. I don't ever seem to bring my A game mentally.

I raced on my cold ground soft Fischers. I went with the Pioneer Midwest recommendation of Rex Black, Rex HF Blue, and Rex 77 powder. They seemed a bit slow in the early part of the race, but seemed above average in the latter half.

I hit the demo day on Sunday and am now registered for 2019.

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Re: American Birkie 2018

Postby JeffOYB » Thu Mar 01, 2018 7:05 am

Soft snow for "swimming" the skis in skating doesn't seem daunting to me -- if you have the right skis.

But hearing about soft poling gives me the fear. Is there a "Birkie trick" for improving poling in the 'taters? Maybe a Birkie basket or a diff flex pole or longer length? Maybe also a diff style -- I could see maybe a longer arm action, forward reach, but w not so sharp of a hit.
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Re: American Birkie 2018

Postby Montana » Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:47 am

JeffOYB wrote:...Is there a "Birkie trick" for improving poling in the 'taters? Maybe a Birkie basket or a diff flex pole or longer length? Maybe also a diff style -- I could see maybe a longer arm action, forward reach, but w not so sharp of a hit.

I could have put on a larger basket. The Swix TBS basket system allows for quick and easy changes and they sell a variety of basket sizes.
39th consecutive Birkie in 2019!
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Re: American Birkie 2018

Postby Neuro » Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:48 am

Wow Jay, that's quite something.
MN Hoser wrote:Yes, people like Bjorgen and Kalla (I believe) have had ablations

The conversations are interesting because a number of skiers are fairly frightened of having heart problems. It seems like such a common thing particularly in the past prime age groups.
Yes, Sundby too. IIRC he had to be airlifted out of the woods from his training run as he thought he was going to die. I believe it was completely cured, although not sure how except that he had a break from hard training.

FWIW, I had it too but was cured (knock on wood). It happened after I had dieted too fast (10 kgs in 6 weeks) which the doctors were sure was the cause and likely was. It took a couple of months to get back, but never had anything since and that's years ago. I guess it's more common that one might think like you say. Hope you get it sorted or under control soon.

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Re: American Birkie 2018

Postby Neuro » Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:52 am

Montana wrote:I'm 71 and skied my 38th Birkie Classic in Wave 70. For some 5:25 might be slow but for me my time of 5:22 was my best classic time since before I first skated a Birkie sometime in the latter half of the 1980s.

bmullin wrote:This was my fifth Birkie. I've steadily gotten better and this year was no different. I finished 318th overall and 293rd male in 2:43:53. Those are all personal bests for me.

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Re: American Birkie 2018

Postby MN Hoser » Tue Mar 06, 2018 8:39 pm

Neuro,

I looked into reports on Bjorgen, and it sounds like she had a single episode of arrhythmia. It's hard to get excited about that, but since she was the best around at the time, it was a big deal. Sundby, it sounds like he probably drove himself hard on a badly beating heart. I don't know what they did to correct his problem. All I saw was that he thought it was genetic. That is pretty wide open.

Now Kalla, I read (in Swedish) that she had afib, but I don't see where there is mention of any treatment, just that she will be back skiing and healthy (a number of years ago). This sounds like an ablation, but I'd like to know.

Anyone know anything more?

Jay


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