Monday, January 20, 2014

Birkie Tour 2014

I participated in the 5th Birkie Tour on Saturday, January 18th on the American Birkebeiner Ski Trail and it was an absolutely beautiful day with excellent snow conditions! A big thanks to the American Birkebeiner Foundation and all the volunteers that made it such a wonderful day.

This was my third Birkie Tour as I participated in the second, third, and fifth tours. The forth tour in 2013 was cancelled but I was signed up for it and have the T-shirt.

The Birkie Tour is not a timed event, but instead a fun and relaxing one but with aid and food stops. For those participating in the Worldloppet the tour will provide the same credit as doing the regular Birkebeiner ski race without all the crowds. Additionally, with only a small percentage of the skiers the trail stays in really good shape, especially on the downhills.

Also participating was Tim, who I have participated in two Birkie Tours with and twenty-six Birkie races. My friends from Minneapolis, Geoff, Deanne, and Carol joined us for their first Birkie Tour and also their first time on the Birkie Trail. Geoff, Deanne, and Carol participated in the 44K route and Tim and I in the 26K route. Pictured from left to right with me are Deanne, Geoff, Tim, and Carol.

This picture is of Tim and me at the top of the climb up the new Birkie Ridge access trail. This new trail was developed just this past year and is north of Seely, Wisconsin off of route US 63.

The climb, which is not part of the regular Birkie race is a tough 3K. Of course it was lots of fun coming back down, as the finish and start were both at the start of this new access trail.

This picture was taken on the Classic Trail going towards Double OO. You can see how beautiful this trail is, especially on a sunny day.  Temperatures ranged from -18C at the start to -8 at the end.

The tour followed the Classic Trail to Double OO then came back on the regular trail, which made for some diversity of terrain. Of course, those that have done the Birkie know that around every corner there seems to be yet another hill!

Saturday evening we all met up for dinner at the Rookery Pub east of Cable, Wisconsin. Tim and I have eaten at the pub in past years and keep coming back every year. It is a very quaint and comfortable place with excellent food. During the peak seasons, like the Birkebeiner, they have several different sea foods flown in. If you get up this way it is a great place for dinner or just a drink in the bar.

Joining us for dinner was Jackie who was staying at the same Bed and Breakfast as Geoff, Deanne, and Carol in Seeley. The picture was taken in front of the fire place in the bar. Pictured with me from left to right are Jackie, Geoff, Deanne, Carol, and Tim.

Tim and I stayed at the Lenroot Lodge in Seeley, where we have stayed before for Birkie Tours. The Lenroot is owned by the Sawmill Saloon, which is regular hangout all year around in Northern Wisconsin. They have delicious soup and chili.

On Sunday, I was supposed to attend the Birchleggings Club Board of Directors Meeting at the Hayward Library. Unfortunately, I did get up and go to the meeting but at the Cable Library. I realized my mistake when the library was not open and there were no cars. Of course re-reading the e-mail with the proper location detailed made me feel even worse! Knowing I was meeting Tim, I could not get down to Hayward in time.

Tim and I also had on our Sunday plan to stop by a new cabin that our fellow Birkie Buddy, Mike, had arranged for us. Since we were a bit early we decided to go over to the Telemark Lodge where the Telemark Chase - Junior National Qualifier races were being held. We were able to see the finish of the Classic Race and also take a few pictures. There were high school and college students from all over the nation competing.

This is the map of the Birkie Tour 2014 that shows the 26K and 44K routes. Both started at the new Birkie Ridge Trailhead.

The upload from my Suunto can be found at the MovesCount website. The time was slow because this was not a race and we stopped along the way several times to talk and take in the scenery.