Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Preliminary Birkie Wax Recommendation #1

Fast Trax - Preliminary Wax Recommendation #1

Canadian Birkebeiner - February 8, 2013

Time to start thinking about getting your wax on.

Event Information:

Saturday - mass start, classic
Race notice - Birkie race notice


Another cold air mass is sliding south into Alberta and this one looks like it'll hang around for a while. After a blast of warmth that pushed temperatures to +2 Tuesday, an Arctic High is dropping in today (Jan 29).

Looking ahead, afternoon temperatures stay in the -12 to -17 range for at LEAST Friday and the weekend. If anything, Birkie week could be even colder. 

No significant snow in the forecast for the next 10 days, just a lengthy cold snap.

Edmonton was about 10 degrees WARMER than average for two weeks. We could quite easily end up around 10 degrees COLDER than average for the next two weeks.

Old Man Winter?
 Trail conditions:

By all accounts, the trails are extremely abrasive, but in otherwise good condition. 

Preliminary glide recommendations:

Base layer - Ski*Go LF graphite - this is a critical step to ensure durability and speed throughout the course of the entire race. Note the not all graphite is created equal. Ski*Go LF graphite is extremely hard and serves a very different purpose that graphite products from Swix, Toko, etc.

Race paraffin options - Swix HF4, Holmenkol RacingMix COLD, Ski*Go HF green, or Toko Tribloc blue could all be in the mix

Other race paraffin options - Given the extremely old and transformed nature of the snow and the debris that has blown down from the trees in the past weeks, Swix HF4BW (aka HF4 black) would also be a good choice. If the temperature is trending on the warmer end of the range, Ski*Go HF violet may also be in the mix. 

Preliminary kick recommendations:

Base layer options
  • Vauhti Super Base
  • Vauhti K-base
  • Special Violet or blue klister

If the kick ends up being klister, obviously you will need a klister binder. If the kick ends up being hard wax, Vauhti Super Base or Vauhti K-base will be the best choices. These base layers have an uncanny ability to improve not only the feeling of the kick in old snow, but ALSO improve the speed. Neat, huh?

Kick wax options - At the moment, it is very much looking like hardwax will not be a good option for kick. The trails are extremely abrasive and the snow is old. Hardwax that kicks well at first (if you can find any) is likely to wear off in the first few minutes, even with a base layer. 

Based on the current conditions of the trails and the fact that there is no snow in the forecast, it seems highly probable that the 2014 Birkie will be skied on klister. Options to consider would be a mixture of universal and violet klister or perhaps straight violet klister, depnding on how conditions end up. Blue PowerGrip may also be an option with excellent kick and durability, although likely slower speed.

Please note that the kick wax options are VERY subject to change as we get closer to the event. 

Testing and recommendation schedule:

Fast Trax will be updating our recommendations throughout the coming days to the race:

Saturday, February 1 - forecast based recommendation
Tuesday, February 4 - forecast based recommendation and Birkie kick wax clinic
Wednesday, February 5 - forecast based recommendation
Thursday, February 6 - forecast based recommendation
Friday, February 7 - onsite testing based recommendation

Fast Trax Birkie Waxing Service - see details here.