Then it is done. The Birkebeinerrace 2015 is history and then some.
Somewhat unashamedly I go straight to my finishing time. As I have written about myself earlier , I’m heading toward some (any!) kind of proof of my amateur xc-race skills. This accomplishment will on my part not be an easy one, with 4.56 as the finishing time of my first trip over the mountains from Rena ti Lillehammer (The Birkebeiner xc-marathon). Therefore it was with recognizeable joy this year that I crossed the finish line at 4.10.
I´m for sure happy with a new personal record of totally 46 minutes better than before. But my goal is for certain not accomplished. So far.
With a dash of asthma ( doctor instructed me one month before the race that I have to train a lot more «threshold» (aerobe/anaerobe) training) , quarrelsome knees, and a local climate the last two years with conditions that do not exactly have encouraged long skiing tours in white surroundings and sparkling sun. There is enough of resistance to find, if you look for it.
And then the joy of success becomes even greater.
The image below speaks for itself. So did also the NRK (norwegian broadcasting company) and for sure a lot of other media as well.
The weather was sparkling, brilliant – but also a bit windy. I found myself securing a couple of mental images of the mountain outlook during my trip over the mountain. I looked to the right, I looked to my left. Once so long that I fell. But this trip is as much a tour and an experience as it is an «elite » race ( it is strictly speaking no «elite»-element whatsoever for 95% of the participants). The images are still sitting on my retina, but it doesn´t have any image of drifting snow , strong winds ( as last year ) , clouds, broken poles or precipitation whatsoever. This trip had no deep morals and no important lessons to be learned. No strict rules of participation limiting the experience. From the image above one can safely state that at least two of the participants are equally, naively happy after the trip as before. No costly lesson learned this year. Only one experience richer!
Not much To ponder over or discuss this year. Regarding the issue of grip and waxing the choice was as I see it not between a large range of options and methods, but wether to rely on Swix – or rely on Swix.
Swix provides, like several other wax manufacturers tips on waxing the last week leading up to the race. Especially this time tipping seems for professional waxers to be a slam dunk. Ten degrees below zero (celcius) and no precipitation are not the hardest snow conditions to recommend for. The only factor of uncertainty was klister or dry wax as the base for the wax of the day. Some feared aggressive tracks ( icy / hard ) because of the cold and number of participants (14 000) and therefore chose klister. Swix’ tips on a normal dry wax base solution using V30 gave at least myself zero – 0 – problems. Also the gliding performance of the ski was pretty good (with Swix white marathon ).
The Birkebeiner race – a logistic Bulls eye.
One would think that when between 14 and 17 thousand people arrive a little place like Rena ( about 2,400 inhabitants) it becomes chaotic. Cars, buses, skiers with skis, poles, bags, and waxing experts with their own trailers, security and organizers all have to interact in a pretty small area. Almost like a sofisticated clockwork. And they (we?) perform pretty good. Myself, I have arrived by both car and train, and always found sleeping accomodations, starting number, and all other necessities – and even had a good meal without queuing or other irritations. No one are stressed, no one are angry.
How the city and the organizers manage I do not know.
This year, in addition to the standard preparations one could attend the press conference with the » big stars » in the race. And it was conducted in a quiet, nice way that didn´t interfere with the right Birkebeiner feeling. I think the organizers deserve great praise for this – and I hope and believe they handle this the same way in the future!
See you at the Tingstadjordet in 2016!