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Hello Birkie Friends,  


Happy Birkie 50 and congrats to everyone who skied this year! This recap is really late, but I am the mother of a busy toddler so I am going with “better late than never”. I am so impressed with all of the work that the Birkie team did on the event this year. Putting on a race of this caliber requires an immense amount of planning in a normal year but in a year with no snow?! The event was spectacularly run and the spectating was amazing. It was so fun to spectate the pro/elite races. I felt inspired and it was really special to watch those races with my one year old daughter – maybe someday she and I can be in that elite wave together! It was also really great for my family to watch me race, they could see me a few times every lap from one spot! 


As far as my own personal skiing and training this year goes, I skied maybe a total of 3 hours leading up to the race which is obviously not ideal. My fitness is in a pretty good spot because I have been consistently training on the bike, but the ski specific muscles were not as ready this year. Most of my time on skis was at a weekly ski lesson working on technique at home in Duluth. The big improvement I had this year was that I finally learned how to V2! (this was my 4th Birkie) I still have a long way to go to improve efficiency and become more coordinated with my poles (I was the one freeskiing a lot), but it felt good to at least have a start on some new techniques. I went into the race with the primary goal of having fun. I expected significant congestion with waves 3-10 all on course at once.  


I skied most of the race with a friend and we were really great ski partners, she was a bit faster and braver downhills and I was a bit faster up the hills so we pushed each other and kept a good pace, I think I was smiling for most of the race. The congestion wasn’t as bad as I expected, a bit slower up most of the hills than I would have preferred, but several were icy so it was a good way to keep speed in check and stay upright. The course held up shockingly well for having that many skiers on a 10k loop, conditions were similar from the first lap to the last lap. 


Looking back at the data, I skied 1 min faster/kilometer than last year! Even with it being a different course and a shorter race, I am encouraged by that improvement and think it still would have translated to a faster race on the full course!  

The Birkie is a fantastic race, it has the best atmosphere and it’s so satisfying to go out and ski hard. I am excited to continue working on technique next year and to keep seeing those improvements. In a few years I plan to be in the elite wave! Fingers crossed for a snowy 24-25 winter, I’ll see you at Birkie #51!  


Cheers, Madeline