It's almost here. You can dang near taste the Burnett County cheese curds, and see a specific graffiti-ed bridge in your rearview mirror. You've put in the time to train. Is everything else for the biggest show on snow ready to go? Here is the Gear West Birkie guide and Birkie training plan checklist to help you feel confident going into the week!
Skis. Skate skiers, do you have the right grind for the anticipated conditions? Classic skiers, is your wax pocket marked correctly? If, you answered "I don't know" to either of those questions, come see us next week! We will be accepting skis to grind through 2/13, and any of our ski fitters can help determine appropriate camber shape & kick pocket adjustments for race day.
Boots. 51k is a long way, so is 26k! Is everything feeling as comfortable as it should? If not, consider an insole. We have some of the best boot fitters around at Gear West, and we do a terrific job building custom insoles. Even if the fit on your boots is good, proper support can help to improve balance & provide better control.
Poles. Are they the right height? Is the Velcro on your straps worn out? (Some of ours are...) Are your baskets in good shape? Check all the small parts to make sure everything is in working order.
Wax. If you're the DIY type, our head of service David Chamberlain will be testing all week on the Birkie trail we'll be posting his recommendations to our Facebook page. If he recommends something and it's not in your box, we will likely have it available for sale at the store or the Birkie Expo! If making the call on what's kicking and gliding sounds like too much hassle, leave it to us! Sign up for our Birkie or Korte wax service we'll not only prep your skis but deliver them to the start line.
But what will I wear?! If you're into looking pro, a race suit is for you. If you do not own one, we conveniently happen to have some fantastic-looking options from Podiumwear available for sale. If bright & tight is not your style, that's okay! A comfortable training pant or insulated tight matched with a wicking base layer and lightweight wind-resistant jacket. Remember, always dress in layers, and do not forget some merino wool socks! Top off the outfit with your favorite hat or headband, and pick a pair of gloves or mittens based on the extended forecast.
Hydration. Even if it's cold, you will still sweat! Have a plan for how you're going to stay hydrated - and if the only thing you plan to drink is the Jager shots on Lake Hayward, please call the store and let us know how that goes. We suggest carrying an insulated drink belt that will allow you to carry both your beverage of choice & some snacks.
Nutrition. Speaking of snacks... Gels? Blocks? Bars? Bananas? We all have things that we like or know work for us. If you don't, now is the time to test! Keeping your body fueled throughout the race is important, when it comes to having a good time. Eat early and often. Go with something that you enjoy the taste of and is easy to digest. Spring Energy's "Awesome Sauce" in the apple cinnamon pie flavor is one of our go-to's. It has great taste, a good number of calories, and none have frozen on us!
Eyewear. Here at Gear West, we are a fan of the big lenses. Bliz Breeze, Fusion & Matrix to name a few models. The bigger lenses protect your eyes not just from the sun, but the cold as well.