Need a feel of the Birkie Trail? Want to hear what happens to a latent upper midwest accent when supplanted in to the Northwoods for a couple of days? Want to see some shaky iPhone video? Then you’re in luck! Take a moment with these short, uh, vignettes?—yeah, let’s go with vignettes—shot on the trail. From north to south, we took some short videos of some of the more noteworthy parts of the trail.
New start area: While not an airplane runway (and not quite as spacious), the new start area is wide, flat and graded, and should provide at least as good of a start. Busing will be easier with an adjacent drop-off area. Since it’s a graded area and not a grassy airport runway, it will require much less snow for a firm skate deck.
The new start: The start is up a slight grade, and may require some uphill double-poling to keep things in line. Unlike the old start, it will be well-groomed ahead of time, while the old start was often soft since it was ungroomed and unused before race day. After the upgrade, there’s a flat area before the classic trail branches left and the skate trail begins to climb, but at a reasonable grade, and at least five skate lanes wide.
The Power Lines: The big hill is out of the race, but the rest of the Power Lines headed west is still in play. Big rollers and a split trail, and since the end of the Power Lines is only 2.5k from the start, the feed has moved.
Timber Trail: Now at 7k, Timber Trail is your first feed. The feed has been widened with a building in the middle, skaters should probably stay left.
Bobblehead Hill: For those who only see this hill late-wave and iced-out, today you can experience a step turn keeping your momentum.
Firetower Hill: the big, straight climb to High Point.
High Point: Once you go over Firetower Hill, you reach High Point. From here, it’s all (net) downhill.
15k off-camber hill: This is a good place to practice your right-side V1 headed in towards Boedecker. While the climb here and the next to OO aren’t named, they’re pretty big.
Mosquito Brook: We take a break here before heading in to Mosquito Brook and the gradual climb there.
Bitch hill: And then the hill everyone knows. It’s short, but steep, and coming right when you’re headed for a bonk nearly a marathon in to the race.
The downhill from Bitch Hill: One of the longest downgrades of the race, this gradual-but-fast hill will test your legs and your tuck.
The Bump Lump and Hump (or the Three Little Pigs): Three climbs before Fish Hatchery. The middle hill is the biggest, but at least has the biggest recovery.
Rosie’s Hill: This hill, new in 2016, is a gradual uphill, similar in gradient to the hill after Mosquito Brook. It’s a nice downhill afterwards, before crossing Highway 77 and heading up the final climb of the race.
And then there’s Main Street. This year, everyone gets to ski Main Street.