Day 11: Birkebeiner (spectator perspective)

by Liz

Jørgen

My morning started at 5 am when Kennedy’s alarm went off in the bunk below me. A few moments later, our apartment hummed with the sound of excited skiers getting ready for the 54 km race ahead of them. I will admit that my original plan was to wake up to wish them good luck, but my bed was too cozy and my eyes were too heavy :). As the rest of the team boarded the bus to the start of the race, I contently slept and dreamed of skiing on swimming pools and almost drowning. A few hours later, my watch alarm went off and I got ready to meet Dennis for breakfast. Over breakfast, we discussed the best plan of attack to see all of the Ford Sayre racers and used the Birkie app to track the racers and see how far along they were on the course. Next, we packed up and prepared for a full day of spectating!

As we sped along the road, we kept a close eye on Jørgen’s progress on the app. When it was evident that Jørgen was moving faster than we had expected, we decided to take a risk, and took a turn onto a shortcut we hoped would intercept with the birkie trail. A couple of moments after we found the trail, he sped by and we were able to cheer him on. The next racers to come by were Chelsea and Chris, so we decided to move a little closer to Sjusjøen to see the remaining racers.

Merry Norwegian cheering John and Grant (while smooshing the tracks)

After trudging up an icy path to the trail, we ran into a small cafe on the side of the trail and got some delicious waffles and hot chocolate, which we consumed as we began to soak in the sights. There were many Norwegians lining the trail, many of which were very intoxicated. There was a particular young man who had ingested perhaps a little too much alcohol and was running all over the course cheering random people on and running beside them. Dennis and I enjoyed watching his progress as he merrily smooshed all of the perfectly groomed classic tracks, completely oblivious to the destruction he was causing.

After Chelsea and Chris had gone through, Adam arrived a couple of minutes later. After Adam, Ford Sayre racers began to speed through fairly consistently, and Dennis and I were able to cheer them on.

As John and Grant strided through, our drunken friend decided to target them and cheer them on. After yelling at John and Grant to his heart’s content, he chose another target and moved on. The streams of racers continued to come through, and it became almost impossible to move across the race course to the other side. After the last racer had come through safely, we drove home excited to hear all of the fun stories that had happened on the course.


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