Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Birkie Class 2-9-10 Hocus Focus

At first blush I thought nobody would come but a little snow does not deter the devoted…or the insane. With 17 days until the Birkie things are coming together in many ways. Our ski conditions are approaching great at a time when we need to be focusing on technical and physical preparations. Physically we have had well over 60 days (in) Green Bay with which you could have skied and more to come. Excitement over the Birkie itself is at an all time high. The 7900 skiers represent a record and the intensity and skill level of the field will also set records. The wave criteria in the future will almost certainly get tougher after this season. There should be great parody in the field as north to south, east to west as everyone has had good snow this year. So what does it all mean?

If you are looking for a good time or place you have a great chance at being in shape to do so but so do 7900 others. Technically most of you are considerably better off than a year ago and sometimes dramatically so. I know that aerobically many of you are at peak shape. So how to tip the scale a little when everyone is looking good?


For those whose only goal is to enjoy the Birkie, finish and have a fun time I say all the power. The sights and SOUNDS of the race are something that frankly I missed for a lot of years. Race aside it is a cool event and being part of this humanity has its own rewards. Focus on the technical sections will keep you from falling, breaking stuff and perhaps not even making it to the finish. That aside, enjoy yourself.
For those that are looking for that special time or wave placement focus has another meaning, especially this year. Focus means minutes or more. Focus can mean a lot of things but I think of these.

Keeping your technique together. More than anything else not letting your skiing deteriorate can save you energy which equals time. Your conditioning may not improve but your technique can.

Focus on your output. Ski within yourself. Going at the ragged edge almost surely means technique breakdown and subsequent efficiency loss.

Focus on those around you. The TACTICAL side of racing is being aware of what’s going on, where you are and how hard to push. Following a guy who looks like he may fall on every hill may dictate expending a little more energy for “insurance”. The Birkie is over at 46km… only it finishes at 52. The last climb to Duffy’s is your last hurrah; a tactical racer knows the course and when to go and when to hold back.

These next two weeks will be time to test your speed. Refine your technique. Figure out what works. Have some fun, do some modest speed work and find a hill and ski it like you want to be seen skiing it. To further get in the mood check out the http://www.wojb.org/listen.htm
podcast during the day and when the starting gun goes off you will be ready to burst forth with the power of ten million butterfly sneezes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYCXsqMfiRw

Good work tonight. Hope your core feels it tomorrow and enjoy the shot of Corey’s arm (dream). May the clench be with you next week as we start our countdown to Cable.

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