Sunday, February 12, 2012

Skating the North Half of the Birkie Trail

Left the house around 4:20 this morning, picked up Dayton in Shoreview and after a short pit stop in Hayward arrived at the County Highway OO trail head at 7:40. 

Pristine corduroy on the Birkie Trail and I'm the first to ski it!
We were the third car in the parking lot and since the others were skiing south, we skied on pristine corduroy for the first 15 km. I took a wrong turn and ended up having a little escapade on the classic trail. I took my first rest at the highest point of the trail at 527 m (1730 ft) where I had a good drink and a Hammer gel. 

Warming up my Hammer gel under my hat, next to my skin. Easier to suck it
out of the tube that way ...
On the way to the northern trail end, I skied across a few trails that were in today's North End Classic race. Dayton saw our sometime coach Andrew Tilman in the crowd, he won his age group. Skiers were warming up when I passed the start area and I finished the two km to the end of the skiable trail. Another Hammer gel pack and a good drink, a chat with a North End Classic volunteer who finished the end of his shift witha ski back to OO and off I went again. 

Had to wait for just a moment as a siren signaled the start to the race. On the way back, I had to hesitate a few times to let the racers pass. Stopped again on the apex of the Birkie trail, only for water this time. The hills felt harder as I got closer to the starting point but I made it. 

Finally skiing on real snow! The temps climbed from -15C to -5C during my ski and the total climb was 490 m per Garmin Connect, and 910 m per SportTracks, both with elevation correction enabled. In spite of the discrepancy between the two products doing a ski from OO to the start of the Birkie and back has 100 m more of climb than the Sisu Ski Fest in Ironwood.

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