Results Rehash: American Birkie, Great White Ski Chase

This is still a rough time of year for riding and running in the Cleveland area, but it’s perfect for skiing!

The major news of the weekend is Mike Schaefer’s assault on the American Birkebiener, a 57k race modeled after legendary ski races in Scandinavia. Dr. Mike was 203rd out of over 4000 entrants from around the world, landing him again among the country’s best distance ski racers. We have some pictures and a race report that will make your quads ache– click through below.

Also this weekend, Kevin Krol, Leah Halloran and Andy Cornwell competed in a very fun local ski race– the Great White Ski Chase, held in North Olmsted. The format was a relay, on a 1.2k loop. Andy raced with Jason Halloran, and Leah raced with Jessica Cornwell. Jason and Andy traded leads with Rudy Sroka of the Lake Effect team for 15 laps before Jason put him away for good to finish in 1st overall (Of course, Rudy did the whole thing by himself…). Leah and Jessica won the women’s team division, skiing classic style, and seemed to have a great time. Krol suffered through an hour by himself, winning the men’s solo Classic style division. This was a very fun local race, and a huge thanks to the volunteers from the Ohio Nordic Ski Club for putting on a great time.

Click through to see more of Mike’s weekend and see more pictures from both events.

From Mike:

mike finishing the birkie

It was a spectacular day for the country’s largest ski race – bright blue ski, very fast conditions, and TONS of positive energy. The race is such a spectacle, with over 7500 racers in 3 distances, and OVER 1000 kids under age 12 in Friday’s “Barnebirke”. I had a pocket full of GU packs, body full of carbohydrates, fresh legs, My folks, sister, and a few other close friends/family members in the Cabin, telling stories about races past – does life get any better??!!

There were a lot more European contenders this year, and I got to start with the “Elite” wave thanks to last year’s breakthrough performance. So I was unsure how hard to go out — I had what seemed like a slow start but realized quickly that it was all I could manage this year, having to drop out of my group on the climb to the high point of the course just to keep from blowing up. THESE guys can ski! I settled in nicely on the following decents, though and the middle 20K of the race was PURE SKIING BLISS – rolling hills, nice paceline and we were FLYING.

Unfortunately, EVERYTHING was flying this year, and the repeating steep climbs gradually took their toll. I got dropped from my pace group at 40K due to quad cramping, but regrouped with a strong chaser for last few Ks. My 2:23 (PR by 12 min) was only good enough for 203rd (the top 200 make up next year’s Elite wave..) Bummer. BUT I still may be granted admission if a few people decide not to race.. Hopefully next year there won’t be 10 Europeans in the top 20 finishers!! Then again, I hope they do come – it really makes a cool international event. (There were people from 47 US states and 20 countries!) Ahh next year – it will be hard to measure up to this one!
Mike- climbing at the birkie

And here’s a photo of the Ski Chasers, too!

Kevin, Andy, Jessica, Leah, and Jason

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