Saturday, February 23rd marked the 40th running of America’s greatest cross-country ski race. Although you wouldn’t think skiing had much to do with Peru, there is actually a strong connection. Peru’s first winter Olympian, Roberto Carcelen, happens to be a cross country skier, and every year he does several training camps in Peru on the Inca trail with his business Inca Runners.
I’ve been fortunate enough to go along on this trip on two different occasions. You can read more on those trips here, here and here.
In 2011 I went with Martin Koukal who is on the left in the above photo. He ended up finishing the 2013 Birkie in 5th place in a group sprint that left him less than a second out of 1st. The guy on the right is Marco Muehlematter who finished 13th, 4.8 seconds back. Pretty Supreme effort.
In 2012 I did the trip with Leif Zimmermann who also competed at the Birkie this year and finished 31st. Here we are at the Expo the day before the race:
Isn’t it neat how you can go to Peru and end up having a much more intimate relationship with one of the major events in your own back yard? As many of you know, I wrote a book about the American Birkebeiner which has been receiving really positive reviews. You can check that out here.
I did the race yesterday too and finished in 3:49, which I’m happy enough with. I’m not that fast these days, but that’s OK. It’s more about hanging out with people and having a blast (just like living in Peru).
I certainly hope to be able to join Inca Runners on their 2013 trip, and maybe next year I’ll have another couple of pictures of myself with elite skiers at the Birkie Expo!
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