It’s been nearly 2 weeks since the American Birkie (and believe me, that time has flown by!). Before it gets too late and irrelevant though, I wanted to share a few behind-the-scenes photos from our GRP Birkie trip this year. Four skiers made the trip, three GRP rowers, and coaches Pepa and Nick. Most of us drove to Hayward, WI from Craftsbury, VT, a relatively unmemorable 2 day drive that actually passed fairly quickly, at least for me. Maybe that had something to do with enjoying my reading and knitting projects, and also with the fact that I knew I would be flying out of the midwest afterwards, not having to repeat the drive in a few days going the other direction like many of my teammates did. We did have a few issues during the trip…most notably related to the plumbing in our rental house and a brief “run in with the law” – but we grinned and groaned and laughed our way through that, in addition to the 51k race, and it was overall successful and a great trip!
I led the way results-wise with a 5th place finish in the Elite Women’s race, very happy to be back on the podium of top-6 and in the prize money! My teammates did impressive things behind the scenes in at the Birkie too — Kait fought back from a massive bonk early in the race, able to finish strong and pass people by the end. Maggie, Phil, and Steve completed the astounding feat of racing 51k in their non-primary sport, and racing it quite fast at that, with Phil and Steve finishing within 40 seconds of each other after skiing the race separately! Andrew successfully did everything he could to avoid muscle cramps during the race, then threw in a big finishing sprint and lunge, passed several people, and cramped about 5 feet after the finish line – perfect timing! (He did in fact have to be physically carried beyond the finish, as he could not move his legs for a few minutes.) And Gordon was a great teammate in addition to racing fast – when the pack he and Andrew were with caught me on the lake, he let me into the drafting line in front of him – and he kept our Birkie spirits (and fever) high and outlook positive in the days before the race. And thanks to Pepa and Nick too for all their work testing and preparing skis, giving advice and encouragement, and then feeding and cheering along the course during the race! Be sure you’ve read the news recap of the Birkie week here with full results details for the GRP, and enjoy the pictures.