I’ve decided to do the 2010 American Birkebeiner (skate course) despite the fact that I live in Brooklyn and I haven’t done any serious cross-country skiing in eight years. It will be a fun challenge and I got some of my more athletically-inclined family members to join me. I’m really looking forward to spending the weekend skiing with them.
The race is on February 27th, 2010, in Cable, Wisconsin. It is 50 kilometers (31 miles), with a total elevation gain of 1,398 meters. The average low temperature in Cable, Wisconsin, on February 27th is +13F and the average high temperature is +34F. The record high is +42F and the record low is -20F. Last year the low temperature on that day was -16F, with a high of +8F.
The race has an interesting history:
“It started in 1206. Birkebeiner skiers, so called for their protective birch bark leggings, skied through the treacherous mountains and rugged forests of Norway’s Osterdalen valley during the winter of 1206, smuggling the son of King Sverresson and Inga of Vartieg to safety. The flight taken during the Norwegian Civil War took the Birkebeiners and prince from Lillehammer to safety in the town of Trondheim.”
Unlike the Norwegian version of the race, skiers in the American Birkebeiner don’t typically carry a 3.5kg bag simulating the weight of an 18-month-old baby.
I train most days in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, though sometimes I run a course through Red Hook where there is little traffic and some other nice parks. Prospect Park is beautiful and full of smiling people, I always look forward to my time there. I’ll spend 2-3 weeks before the race in Duluth, MN, so that I can actually train on skis.