The Birkie Is Tomorrow, So Here’s Some Random Photos of Cross-Country Skiers in Peru

Hey folks,

Actually, I lied, the pictures of the cross-country skiiers don’t come until later (you have to scroll down to the end of the article).
It’s been a busy weekend already and, as I write this, it’s only Thursday!  Things are about to get CRAZY, that’s because the biggest ski race in the Western Hemisphere is about to take place…The American Birkebeiner!  This is the race that’s so brilliantly detailed in the novel “Beyond Birkie Fever” which continues to gain universal praise for the author, while simultaneously NOT bringing him any checks (and I could use some checks).  To make a long story short…go buy the darn thing now, click here.
I tried to get ahead with my posting by uploading a whole file full of photos from my Inca trail trip with Roberto Carcelen and Martin Koukal.  In July of 2011, those two guys dragged me all over Cusco and basically pounded me into submission because…well…they were Olympic caliber athletes and I was an Olympic caliber football watcher and beer drinker (also, it’s a lot easier to run over a mountain when you’re 140 lbs, vs 220 lbs).
When I got done assigning all my photos from that particular set names and titles (as well as grouping them together) I had a bunch left over that I just threw into THIS article (OK, I just got tired of doing it and lazily dumped them all together…also, I thought many of the photos were weak).
I noticed that there were quite a few of Martin and Roberto trotting around in the wilderness of Cusco, and it just reminded me of the crazy year long journey of training it takes to get into Birkie shape.  Honestly, I’m not all that concerned about the 30+ mile event.  I’m pretty solidly fit right now.  I’m still a little overweight, but I’m a lot stronger than I’ve been in years.  Plus, my preparation this year has been far superior to preceding years.
In addition to doing the Inca trail this summer (which gave me a fitness level that I’ve built upon until now), I’ve done a huge amount of roller skiing and snow skiing including three 42 km races.  I finished those in 3:50, 2:53 and 3:13 (times vary widely depending on the trail conditions).
I’m expecting to do the Birkie in…let’s say 3:30.  Really, all I want to do is go fast enough to move up a wave.  It’s going to be an emotional year, as I mentioned before, a good friend and a man I greatly admire passed away this summer when he was hit by a car while training on his bicycle.  Dave Landgraf had done every single Birkie, so this is the first year he won’t be there at the starting line.  It’s going to be tough.
For those of you who have done a marathon, you know that there is a lot of emotion pent up when you cross the finish line.  This year, I think it’s going to be magnified by about a billion.  The whole trick will be to think about my friend while I’m out there, and remember that while I’m in the race, I’m in his temple.
Anyway, as you scroll down through these pictures, you’ll see some pictures of Roberto and Martin.  Martin’s been tearing up the Worldloppet circuit with the Skinfit racing team.  I’ve seen some pictures of him on the Facebook page smiling and holding up over-sized checks, so that’s awesome!
I’m pretty motivated to get my butt in decent shape for the Inca trail this summer.  I won’t be keeping up with Martin and Roberto…my goal is just not to suffer so much.  It’d be fun to get to the fitness level where I can hurt people in endurance events again, not world cup athletes obviously, but maybe some of the boys and girls in the local races…
Life’s good!  This Inca trail thing springboards a fellow, I hope to have you all come along with me at one point or another!

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