The (super cold) Canadian Birkebeiner is done, and I survived it! It was a long cold way and I had some trepidation coming into it since I don’t have lots of kilometers and the day was forecasted to be highs of -18!
It turned out to be around -25 at the start, windchills estimated to be -30 or so. DAAAYAM! That is the coldest I have ever skied in, and 20 degrees colder than I ever imagined myself skiing in. The Halvvasan in Sweden was so nice and temperate with perfect tracks, that it made 45km seem easy. The notion of doing 55 km in the frickin’ cold with dry, crusty tracks seemed a lot harder. The race organizers cancelled events for kids, delayed the start time, cut 3km off the race to avoid going across the windy lake, and also instituted frostbite checks at the aid stations. Happily, there were lots of aid stations serving hot chocolate, gatorade, and fig newtons. I was SO grateful to pass all the frostbite checks and be waved on!
I ended up breaking a pole with what I thought was 3 km to go, but due to labeling errors was actually more like 7 to go. I held onto it thinking I didn’t want to lose it and it could be repaired; I probably should have grabbed one of the spare ones at an aid station. Overall it was a good event, although I’d like to do it under 5 hours next time. 🙂