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Catching Birkie Fever With Katie and Micah!

Boots? Yep, on my feet. Poles? Skis? Both right and left? Is there a right a left? Well… two of each? Yep, yep, gloves, and BIB! Check. 
Getting off the bus at the new start line for the Korte at HWY OO is an experience in itself.  If you have ever done Grandma’s, it’s like that…. Except a helluva lot colder (well, I actually bet this year’s temp was close to some of the June days in Duluth).  Anyways, except with SNOW.  Now, the biggest ‘unknown’ factor for me was how do people race with these obstacles on our feet and in our hands.  Heck, when I am out for a joy ski I trip over my own pole and ski at least three times…. and that is just with my own equipment, So times that by 3,000 people, which makes 6,000 poles and skis, what we have here IS a miracle.  
The snow graced us with its presence the night before, leaving a solid 4-5 inches of fluffy powder for the racers and spectators to enjoy.
Back to the start, we gradually made our way into the woods where the tent and official start line was… just in time for Mirabelle (U 18 wave) to put on her skis and make her way. Micah, Rick, and I cheered all the U 18’s as they started the day off.  Then the impressive Over 70 pack, followed by the Elite.  I was an hour later… but my mental race had already begun, I had cold feet, literally.  My loving partner stood by me dodging the emotional shrapnel of my mind over body war (picture Rambo 2… with snow).  Most events are mind over body.  The never-ending struggle to reach that fine balance between excellence of personal performance and injury, between fun and fear. 
I was in the back; good old wave 4.  The course was BEAUTIFUL, the racers were friendly, and the spectators were supportive as we travelled ‘downhill’ to Hayward.  The snow turned to mash potatoes right away for the majority of us. On the actual downhills you picked your bobsled ice course, tried not to pizza pie it too much, and avoid poles and people as you skied along.  Time flew by (not literally as I did not move much faster than a turtle on ice).
An event is like a mullet, all business in front and party in the back.  When you are in the middle, or twilight zone, you once again, strive for that balance.  I found myself numerous times, huffing and puffing swear words at the top of a hill, then pausing, looking up because for some reason I think I will find better ‘air’ higher. Looking up gives a gift, noticing the sun breaking through the clouds and the rays of light igniting the snow crystals covering the tree branches. Making the wonderful north woods absolutely breathtaking, and without missing a beat I realize I am grinning ear to ear… balance.  All of this, made my first Korte such a great adventure.  The skis hit the lake and pretty soon I was on the Birkie bridge, crossing my fingers and asking the Ski Gods, to please not let me fall on the final slope that leads to main street!  Then, the best part of the race happened, seeing that finish and hearing from the side a, “KATE!!!!”  Looking over I see Micah and Mullin, waving and cheering.  Those cheers at the finish line are like the mushroom boosters in Mario cart, giving you just what you need to slide over that finish line.  I had finished my first Korte. 
The next day we volunteered at the Timberland Aid station, which was an amazing experience.  All the hard work and effort that goes into planning each detail for the race is astonishing.  Gives you a whole new appreciation for coordinators and leads.  And, when we were volunteering the most common phrase we heard from the racers, was “THANK YOU,” which one gentleman who was volunteering would always respond, “It’s a team effort, THANK YOU for racing!”  I loved that, Ying and Yang. Balance. 
Micah and Mitchel both had awesome Birkie races, and it looks like all our fellow Cyclova crew enjoyed the day.  The Birkie App live track feed was fantastic at keeping us updated on everyone’s finish. It is always fun when we are able to join our friends at the end or sometime throughout the weekend or next few weeks and share one another’s battle experiences.  The Bruns team will be back, because we caught the BIRKIE FEVER 
Adventure On