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2018 All New Adventure Talks beginning February 6th with Birkie Veterans Ben and Jim!

The Birkie AS A WAY OF LIFE!!!

It's approaching February and there is snow on the ground and that can only mean one thing: People are starting to get feverish about the American Birkebeiner!  So what better way to kick off our new 2018 Adventure series (talks and tech help) than to have two veterans of the Birkie present on this amazing race?

Looking for some inspiration? Sound advice? Waxing tips? Or humorous stories of what not to do? Then come to CyclovaXC on Tuesday, February 6th at 6:30pm for "The Birkie and how to prevent it from taking over your life and other lessons not yet learned."

Presenting will be none other than long time CyclovaXC team member hero Ben Mullin and new CyclovaXC owner, coach and world class triathlete Jim Kelley.

Jim and Ben will  discuss how "It takes a year to ski the Birkie" but of course a major focus will be on how to make the most of the last two weeks leading up to the race.  They will also go over the logistics -- revealing that even veteran Birkie skiers have different tricks to make it go as smoothly as possible.

Jim will also discuss what the Birkie means on the world stage -- including its esteemed position as a member of the World Loppet circuit of ski marathons.  And then yes, finally, the real title of the talk: 
The Birkie as a Way of Life.  (Perhaps it's not a bad thing when Birkie Fever takes hold....certainly some of the healthiest people on the planet owe their amazing fitness to this malady!) 

Ben, who only (ha, only!.... only a snob like me would say only!) has four Birkies under his feet, but has amazing algorithms/race analysis to make sense of his progress, will relate his development as a skier and even disclose all of his race strategy secrets, one of which he is already well known for -- going out like a madman and blowing up around Bitch Hill. (Sorry Ben, but I do follow your blogs....).

Okay, if I haven't yet convinced you to come to what will surely be a really fun and informative presentation with lots of opportunity for Q and A (or maybe just good old fashion interrogation) these two bios- in their own words - ought to do the trick:

Jim Kelley:  I began skiing cross country and nordic jumping in 10th grade in western Massachusetts in 1976.  Although I continued to ski after high school I didn't pursue college skiing due to the fact that you had to leave for races at college winter carnivals on Thursday morning and I wasn't going to miss 2 days of classes a week. 
My ski racing took a hiatus when I went to graduate school in Missouri in 1984 and subsequently took a job in Maryland after that, so I was essentially out of the sport for 13 years and missed the "skating revolution".  I did try to keep up with roller skiing during this time which resulted in a lot of weird looks from locals in the Bootheel area of Southeast Missouri.  At a work meeting in Florida (of all places) in 1996 I first learned about the American Birkebeiner from a friend that grew up in the Twin Cities but was then working in Florida.  He convinced me to sign up for the Birkie so I combined my road marathon training with getting ready for the Birkie.  For my first 3 Birkies I would drive to Hayward from Maryland, get on snow for maybe 1-2 days pre-Birkie, race the Birkie and then drive back home to Maryland.  That was my only skiing for those 3 years.  I decided I needed to move to this area in order to get back to an area that had real winters and then moved out here in 1999.  Except for the 2 cancelled Birkies since I started, I've made it to the starting line every year.  This year will be my 20th Birkie and I finally will earn that purple Birchlegging bib.

Ben Mullin: I started my nordic skiing career by naively signing up for the Forest Lake "ski club" in 7th grade.  Turns out it wasn't a recreational club but rather the ski team.  6 years of competitive HS skiing later I graduated from HS and promptly stopped skiing and got horribly out of shape. 
About 10 years later the love for endurance sports was rekindled and I started skiing again.  Two years later CyclovaXC opened and the rest is history as they say.  2018 will be my second attempt at my 5th Birkie (due to the cancelled 2017) and once again I will be chasing that elusive Elite Wave qualification. 

Steve says: I am betting Ben will do it this year! But can he beat Jim, the 20 year veteran? Come on down to Cyclova XC next Tuesday and place your bets! The talk is free and we'll even provide some nice snacks and feel free to bring your own beverages!

And here is the rest of what we have planned for this winter/spring so that  you can put it on your calendar today and not miss a single one!

6:30pm start time for all talks on the schedule...

Feb 6 -- The Birkie: A Way of Life; Racer insights by Ben Mullin and Jim Kelly
Feb 20 --  100 Marathons! 1,000 stories! Eric Olson
March 6 --  Surviving ..no, Thriving at the Arrowhead 135Dallas Wynne and Angus Morrison
March 20 -- Snowshoeing in Spain -- the World Championships - Jim Graupner & Steve Clark 
April 3 -- Crossing the Red Lake Peatland --Jason Husveth, John Storkamp & Rob Henderson 
April 17 --  How to Conquer (or at least live to talk about it) the Marji Gesick 100 -Steve Hamlin, Jason Kunshier and Starr 
May 1 -- The Yukon River Quest (450 miles in 53 hours)!  -- Natalie Warren 
May 15 --  Adventures in Nutrition -- Latest research on what athletes really need - Amy Sotis



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