WAX TIP: 2014 American Birkiebeiner

Race day waxing can be hectic, so rest easy the night before the Birkie by waxing in advance.  Above, the author helps classic racers at the Mora Vasaloppet apply the structure of the day.

Following is the preliminary Cyclova XC Racing Service 2014 Birkie Wax tip for the 3 major wax brands of the region. Note that these are not officially endorsed wax tips by the wax companies, rather these are tips that I have personally created based on my 16+ years of professional experience in creating race wax tips. 

For the full scoop on how to follow wax tips, check out MY ARTICLE on the topic. 

If you would like Cyclova XC's waxing guru's to wax your skis up for the fastest skis of your life, CLICK HERE for the full scoop!

Event:  American Birkiebeiner, from Cable to Hayward, WI.

When:  23k, 52k, or 50k Freestyle / Classic. 10 waves, with the elites starting at 8AM at Telemark on Saturday, February 22, 2014.

Want More Details???  I expect the conditions of the 2013 Birkie to be nearly identical to the 2014 Birkie, therefore, my wax tip is very similar to last years.  See a very detailed commentary on the logic behind last year's Birkie Wax Tip, which again, is very similar to the 2014 Birkie.  This will help the most hard core ski dorks (yes, we're proud dorks) understand the reasoning behind the below information.  There is also a wealth of ski tech info on the Cyclova XC Ski Tech page.

Forecast & Conditions:  Overnight low close to 10'F, with a temp in the mid teens at the start.  Daytime high will be in the low 20's, with partly a primarily overcast sky. A light mix of snow and sleet is likely leading up to and during the race.  The snow temp will be relatively cold.  Expect machined track conditions comprised of primarily packed powder, with a bit of fresh fallen snow on the surface.  Some dirt will be present in the snow - particularly on the final 15 k of the Birkie course on the south facing hills - as well as in the vicinity of road crossings.  Classic tracks will be firm and somewhat glazed.

Ski Flex Tips:  Moderate to soft flexed skis for machined track conditions with a bit of fresh snow on top.

Structure Tips:
Structure (Elite through wave 3):  Cold SuperFine Grind or a fine structure (1 pass with the Blue Toko Structure-Rite tool).  
Structure (Wave 4 and back):  Cold Universal Grind or a medium structure (1 pass with the Red Toko Structure-Rite tool).  

Glide Wax Tips:
Fast Wax (Elite through wave 3): HS-10 Teal, Scrape, Brush, HSLF-10 Teal, Scrape, Brush, HSF-10 Teal, Scrape, Brush.  Apply Flite #11 Cold (Blue) Flourocarbon ironed (using the Fast Wax Base Saver) or roto-corked in, brush with dedicated flouorcarbon brush, and polished with polishing pad.  **NOTE:  As a more affordable alternative to Flite Flourocarbon, try the NEW Fast Wax Race Pro Arctic Arctic Paste - in stock at Cyclova XC**
Fast Wax (Wave 4 and later): HS-20 Blue, Scrape, Brush, HSLF-20 Blue, Scrape, Brush, HSF-20 Tan, Scrape, Brush.  Apply Flite #11 Cold (Blue) Flourocarbon ironed (using the Fast Wax Base Saver) or roto-corked in, brush with dedicated flouorcarbon brush, and polished with polishing pad **NOTE:  As a more affordable alternative to Flite Flourocarbon, try the NEW Fast Wax Race Pro Cold Paste - in stock at Cyclova XC**
Swix (Elite through Wave 3):  LF-4, Scrape, Brush, HF-4, Scrape, Brush, FC-7 (Cold Cera) ironed in, brush with dedicated flouorcarbon brush, and polished with polishing pad
Swix (Wave 4 and later)  LF-6, Scrape, Brush, HF-6, Scrape, Brush, FC-8 (Medium Cera) ironed in, brush with dedicated flouorcarbon brush, and polished with polishing pad
Toko (Elite through Wave 3):  Tribloc LF Black / Tribloc LF Blue mix (1 : 1 Ratio) Scrape, Brush, Tribloc HF Blue, scrape, brush, Jetstream Blue ironed or roto-corked in, brush with dedicated flouorcarbon brush, and polished with polishing pad
Toko (Wave 4 and later):   Tribloc LF Black, Scrape, Brush, Tribloc HF Blue/HF Red mix (1 : 1 Ratio), scrape, brush, Jetstream Red ironed or roto-corked in, brush with dedicated flouorcarbon brush, and polished with polishing pad (If you can get your hands on it, Helx Cold would also be an optimal Flourocarbon for this event - Cyclova XC still has a few in stock).

Grip Wax Tips:
Swix:  Roughen grip zone with 150 grit sandpaper.  Apply Swix VR-35 Base Binder, iron, and smoothen with cork.  Wait to apply your grip wax of the day until Friday night, and check wax reports / weather.    The optimal grip wax of the day will likely be 3 thin smoothly corked layers of Swix VR-40 lightly covered with Swix VR-30.
Toko:  Roughen grip zone with 150 grit sandpaper.  Apply Toko Base Green, iron, and smoothen with your thumb while still warm.  Wait to apply your grip wax of the day until Friday night, and check wax reports / weather.    The optimal grip wax of the day will likely be 3-4 thin, smoothly corked layers of Toko Blue (later wave skiers who want more grip will likely enjoy 3-4 thin, smoothly corked layers of Toko Red).


Should you have any questions on Birkie ski prep, feel free to stop by or contact the expert ski technicians at Cyclova XC.  If you're interested in having us wax your skis, ensuring lightning fast skis, check our our Birkie Ski Service Program HERE.  Give a fun shout out to all of the Cyclova XC Team Skiers on the trail - as well as everyone wearing the Ski Like Landgraf Hats!


2 comments:

  1. Wow wax recommendations a week and a half out? Things change!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello "timg",

    Yes, weather changes - and we're on it, but not in a knee jerk "Birkie Fever" sort of fashion.

    Having professionally been creating wax tips for 16 years now, you start to notice patterns, and stability in the forecast - from year to year - especially with the Birkie (more so than other events). In the past 15 years of American Birkiebeiners, 13 of those years have had a starting temperatures in the single digits, with warming temps for day time highs.

    When waxing, we obviously know that we are waxing for the snow conditions, not air conditions. Therefore, overnight lows the night before the event are generally more important than day time highs (most people are done racing before the day time high is even reached). Another major consideration is that every single climb on the Birkie course is a north facing hill - meaning that this snow is cold and unaffected by any sun shine - it's imperative to wax cold for these north facing climbs.

    Over the past 4 years, Cyclova XC has published wax tips for the Birkie (for all major wax brands of the Midwest) 1-2 weeks prior to the event, and I believe our track record is better than any of the actual wax companies. The best example of this was last year's 2013 Birkie (http://www.cyclova.com/2013/02/wax-tip-2013-american-birkiebeiner.html). We stuck to our guns on the cooler wax tip (always a safer call to error on the cold side), and the wax companies went for the warmer wax tip. Everyone who went with the wax companies wax tips generally had less than optimal skis.

    With all of this said, there is a ton of expertise, experience, on-site testing, and research that goes into our wax tips. But, if they need to be updated they will be. Today, I'll be publishing a slight update to the Cyclova XC wax tip - mainly addressing ski flex due to the large Winter storm bearing down on Northern Wisconsin.

    Thanks for reading, and please contact us with any questions.

    Many Thanks,

    Frank L
    Partner, Cyclova XC

    ReplyDelete