Monday, 13 February 2012

Birkie - post event

As Birkie weekend winds down, I have posted a few pictures of the weekends waxing adventures. I had hoped to post a few more but once Birkie fever hits the little things seem to be missed, like taking pictures:-)

Congratulations to everyone who took part, the tireless volunteers and the great event organizers, another great year with wonderful weather, tracks and post race hot dogs:-)
A little of everything.
Lined up ready for grip
Lined up ready for race wax.
A few waxes that were in the mix early in the week.
First round, lined up ready for pickup.
Extra bench on the floor for last minute wax applications or demos.
Robin applying race wax.
Reid making notes, notice the sweet waxing pants.
Tired skis at the end of a long days work.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Birkie - game time

Well its almost game time folks, we hope we have been of some help in helping you make the right wax choice and you have a wonderful Birkie experience tomorrow. Shauna and I will be toeing the line for the 55km lite and Reid will be at the start for any last minute touch ups and the rest of the shop staff will be manning the shop.

Keep in mind the delayed race start and aim to get to the start grid 45mins before the start of your event to test your skis and give your bag to the volunteers to transport to the finish line. In terms of your bag remember to pack some warm clothes for after the race in your bag including fresh socks, under wear and fresh shoes, there is nothing less sweet than changing into dry clothes and forgeting one of those key items.

I have forgot at least one every year, just because I am that guy, don't be that guy or gal:-)

The clock is ticking lets see what we got! 

Birkie - Start time alert & race time temperatures

Due to wind concerns, the 55km and 31km event will start 30min later;

  • 55 KM - New start time 9:30am
  • 31 KM - New start time 10:00am
Expected air temperature for race day;
  • 9am = -18C
  • 11am = -12C
  • 2pm = -6C
Snow type
  • Fine grain with some ice crystals.
Track condition
  • Firm tracks with some grass showing.
Have fun out there!

Birkie - final wax recommendations

The following are the recommendations from the Fast Trax Team;

Glide Wax
  • Layer 1 - Hard green glide wax
Glide wax
  • Swix LF4
  • SkiGo LF Green
  • Holmenkol Green or Black/Blue
  • Rex Green
Kick Wax
  • Sand kick zone
Base Binder
  • Layer 1 - Guru Green klister - thin layer - (green klister of choice)
  • Layer 2 - Guru Extreme 39 Hard klister - thin layer - (cold universal klister of choice)
Grip wax
  • Layer 3 - Rode Weiss or Guru  Hallgeir  Hard wax - 6 layers - (-2 to -10 hard wax of choice)
  • We did not test power grip but we suspect Rex Power Grip Blue will also be a good choice

Birkie - Swix wax recomendations

The following are the recomendations from Swix as tested by the Swix Team;
All Swix all the time!
Glide Wax

  • Layer 1 - LF6
Glide wax
  • Layer 2 - LF4

Kick Wax

  • Sand kick zone
Base Binder
  • Layer 1 - KR20 Green klister - thin layer
  • Layer 2 - KR30 Blue klister - thin layer - optional if you want more grip
Grip wax
  • Layer 3 - VR40 Hard wax - 4 layers
  • Layer 4 - VR30 Hard wax - 4 layers

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Birkie - Quick kick

No idea what we are talking about, I do not blame you, I myself glaze over sometimes when I see all the wax advice out there, stop by the shop between 1pm and 4pm on Friday and we will quick kick your skis for a $5 donation to the Cancer Foundation.

If possible have your skis clean to help speed the process.

Birkie - Day before the day before

So, are we stressed yet?

Not to worry things are well in hand, at this point all you need to have done is hardened your glide zones with a hard green glide wax and then we suggest the following for glide;

  • Holmenkol Blue/Black
  • Swix LF4 
  • Rex Blue
  • SkiGo LF Green
  • Toko LF Graphite or Blue
  • Solda F31 Graphite
The tracks have changed slightly now that they have been renovated, making the tracks softer and some dirt has been brought up so we are not recommending structure as this will slow your skis with the dirt and debris and this is also why we are suggesting a cold glide wax, also we suggest avoiding HF wax as that will also be slow.

Once you are glide waxed sand your grips zones and hold tight we will post base binder and grip options on Friday around noon. The results will be brief and to the point as once we figure out what the wax is it will be flat out working to get everyone's skis ready before 6pm:-)

We will also post any top coat options that test well in our testing.

For now, feet up, rest and hydrate you have allot of work to do:-)

Come Sunday you are going to feel like a smacked ham, as will I, but I digress:-)

(smacked ham = being run over by a truck)

Birkie - Power grip / Ski Go Blue

I have not tested these yet but my initial thought would be Rex Power Grip Blue would be a good option but based on skiing on Ski Go Blue(Universal) last week it is too soft a wax and would wear too quickly in this years Birkie.

Just some thoughts, now back to waxing.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Birkie - first test

Went out for some preliminary testing with four set ups;

  1. K-line base binder covered by Guru Haliger Hard Wax
  2. Guru Green klister covered by Guru Haliger Hard Klister
  3. Guru Green covered by Guru Purple Klister
  4. Guru Green Klister covered by Universal Klister covered by Vaughti Grip Powder

Overall the base binder covered by hard wax and the straight up purple klister were the better feel, the universal klister was solid grip but slightly slower which was to be expected and the universal klister covered by grip powder was great out of the gate but slowed as powder wore off, also to be expected.

That's it for now, tomorrow we glide and Friday we grip, today was hardening the bases and doing some preliminary testing to get a feel for how things will play out.

Good tracks, good wax, good ski:-)

Birkie - More specific

We are into the final push before the Birkie and at present the trails were renovated today with temps dropping to roughly -15 over night and warming to -5 each day through the week with a Saturday morning race time temp of approximately -15 gradually warming to -5 by late afternoon.

Glide Base Layer
At present we continue to recommend ironing in a layer of green glide wax into your base to harden the base and if you have some in your wax box a layer of Solda S30 to prepare your skis to be race waxed on Thursday or Friday.

Glide Race Wax
In terms of your race wax, we have not dialled that in yet but some good bets are as follows;
  • Swix LF4 as a all round go to wax or HF6 or HF6BW temperature dependant
  • Holmenkol Black/Blue
  • Solda F15 Blue
  • SkiGo LF Violet
Glide Top Coats

  • Swix LF3
  • Solda S30 or possibly HP05 depending how cold it gets at night
  • Holmenkol Speed Powder Cold
  • SkiGo C380 or possibly C44 (+1 to -14) depending on how cold temperatures drop

At present Swix VR30 is working straight up out at the SWC and it would be a judgement call as to weather you use a thin green klister binder or a hard wax base binder.

Base Binders
Hardwax base binders
  • Swix VG35
  • Vauhti K-base

Klister Base Binders

  • Guru Green, applied thin
  • Rex Blue, applied thin

Note let base binders cool as long as you can before applying grip wax or grip klister.

Grip wax
At this point it is still a judgement call weather you go with a klister base binder with straight up universal klister  or klister base binder covered with hard wax or forego the klister and go with the traditional base binder covered by hard wax. This we will not know for sure until Friday morning when we go out to test wax. 

If you are aiming to wax for speed and have free feeling skis I would say the following based on what has worked in the past;
Waxing for Speed

  • Vauhti K-base
  • 6-8 layers of VR30, Guru Haliger, Vaughti K-Line, Start MFW Blue

Waxing for Speed but tend to worry:-)
If you are concerned about the kick wax staying on your base;

  • Thin layer of green or blue klister, left to cool and then covered by grip wax options above.

Waxing for Grip
Then lastly if you want to be sure to have kick and not that concerned about the speed;  

  • Thin layer of green klister covered by universal klister.
I will be heading out tonight for a ski and check out the trails and will post an update each day as the race draws closer. Our aim is to dial in the glide by Thursday and then head out Friday morning to test grip and start grip waxing skis by noon to be ready for skiers to pick up their skis between 4pm to 6pm on Friday.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Birkie - Final week

We are now into our last week before the Birkie, here are some thoughts and suggestions in terms of training, waxing and nutrition.

Long Term Forecast Updated: Monday, February 6, 2012, 10:00 MST

Feb 7
Feb 8
Feb 9
Feb 10
Feb 11
Feb 12
6am - 6pm
SunnyMainly sunnyCloudy periodsMainly sunnyMainly sunnyCloudy periods
SunnyMainly sunnyCloudy periodsMainly sunnyMainly sunnyCloudy periods

Looking at the latest forecast things look to be stable through the week and having been out skiing on the weekend it looked to me that if you wanted to have fast skis and were an aggressive skier you could choose a blue klister base binder covered by hard wax but as the tracks glaze and in the exposed areas that were icy, grip would be minimal. On the other hand, if you went with a blue klister base binder with universal klister as your grip wax you might might have a ski with slightly less glide but would have a more consistent kick through the entire event.

In watching the skiers on the weekend, the ones that went with a soft hard wax had kick but they had to work to make it work where as the ones with klister were skiing more relaxed not having to work their skis as much to get a solid kick. 

The trail looks to be in great condition with deep firm tracks with some areas showing shallow tracks due to sun exposure. The big thing as with all birkies is managing all the quick turns and transitions from flat to short uphill, to gradual uphill, to downhill, to step turn. When in the track and approaching a downhill some downhills you can stay in the track and ride the corner, others the corners are too fast and sharp to stay in the track and in these cases it is best to step out of the track and ski in the middle and step turn around the corner and then step back into the track instead of snow blowing with one ski out of the track as if you do allot of snow plowing you will run the risk of wearing off your grip and losing allot of your speed which you can use to carry you over the next uphill.

The other tip is for the short uphills, if you are finding the tracks to be glazed or icy it is better to step out of the track early and use the softer snow in the middle to ski up with high tempo instead of staying the track and trying to power you way up the hill and using your arm strength. Also if you wait until you slip and then step out of the track you will lose your momentum making it harder to transition smoothly over the tops.

Wax Selection
It is always hard to predict the wax a week out from the event but based on current conditions and forecast I would suggest the following for glide and grip;

  • Low fluro green to harden base
  • Low fluro purple as your race wax

Aggressive skier waxing for speed;
  • Bluse klister base binder to hold grip wax to ski
  • 6 to 8 layers of -4 to -8 hard wax to cover klister

Less aggressive skier waxing for grip;
  • Blue klister base binder to hold grip wax to ski
  • Universal klister as your grip wax
We will be updating wax options as the week progresses.

    Waxing Methods
    Before any long event it is always good to work some wax into your skis to increase the durability of your wax so to keep the speed of your skis consistent through the entire event. Aim to heat in a layer of LF  green glide wax, scrape and brush and then heat in the glide wax you aim to use for the Birkie.

    Once you have glide waxed your skis, scraped and brushed you will need to sand your grip zone, apply base binder and then the grip wax you choose to use for the event.

    Below you will find a series of videos to guide you through the process from cleaning your skis, applying glide wax, applying base binder and finally the grip wax.

    If the conditions require klister the last two videos outline how to apply base klister and then klister grip wax.
    Removing old kick wax and preparing skis for glide wax

    Applying glide wax.

    Application of base binder in hard wax conditions.

    Application of kick wax.

    Application of base klister in apprasive or klister conditions.

    Application of klister in klister conditions.

    Waxing Clinics
    If the videos seem a little over whelming and you would like to brush up on your waxing skills sign up for our pre Birkie wax clinics.
    • Wednesday February 8th at 6:15pm at the shop - specific Birkie clinic
      • Space is limited so call or email the shop to sign up.
    Waxing Services
    If you would rather have us prepare your skis, drop your race skis off at the shop as we offer the following options;
    • Birkie Service #1 - $25 + gst
      • Glide Wax
      • Structure
      • Base Binder
      • Drop off your skis on Tuesday February 7th before 6pm
      • Pick up skis on Thursday February 9th after 4pm
        • Space limited to 25 pairs of skis so sign up early.

    • Birkie Service #2 - $50 + gst
      • Glide Wax
      • Structure
      • Base Binder
      • Grip Wax done day before event
      • Drop off your skis on Tuesday February 7th before 6pm
      • Pick up skis on Friday February 10th after 4pm
        • Space limited to 25 pairs of skis so sign up early.
      Note: No World Cup Service this year.

      Aim to drink 15grams of carbohydrates mixed in 150ml of fluid every 15minutes at aid stations or by carrying a personal water bottle / hydration system.

      It is very important to start your drinking early in the event so that you do not become depleted and need to slow the pace until your fuelling catches up by waiting too long to take in calories.  Your body only has enough glycogen to last roughly 90 to 120mins before you need to provide the body with more fuel. If you wait until you are depleted it can take up to 45mins before your body responds and can resume pace.

      If doing either the 31km or 55km event aim to have some caffeine at the around the half way point so that it kicks in over the last section of the course. The caffeine can be in the form of coffee, coke, a caffeine gel or even a caffeine pill. This gives you the ability to make the big push to the finish.

      Birkie Nordic Fair
      We will also be at the Birkie Fair on Friday February 10th from 12 - 8pm at the Ramada Conference Centre, Courtyard Balllroom with all your Birkie specific waxing needs, demos and waxing advice.

      Good luck and check back periodically over the next three weeks for further updates.

      Devon Loppet

      A few pictures from this past Sundays Devon Loppet, nice work team!

      Happy team!
      Sean making a move
      Sean pushing the pace
      Kes making a break
      Strong double pole
      Ready, set, go...
      Kes leading the charge
      Getting ready
      Their off!