Saturday, 24 January 2015

Preliminary Birkie Wax Discussion #1

Event Information:

Saturday - mass start, classicRace notice - Birkie race notice

Looking ahead, afternoon temperatures stay below zero for the next two weeks. No significant snow in the forecast.

What happened to Old Man Winter?
Trail conditions:
By all accounts, the trails are extremely abrasive in the mornings, but in otherwise good condition. There is a substantial base, although that may have been impacted by last night's rain. 

Preliminary glide recommendations:
Base layer - Rex RCF Black or Rex RCF Pink - this is a critical step to ensure durability and speed throughout the course of the entire race. If we get minimal or no snow before the Birkie, RCF Black will be the right answer. If we get additional snow, RCF Pink will be the right answer.
Ski*Go LF Graphite would also be a very good option.
The graphite waxes from Swix and Toko would not be good options. These are very soft waxes and serve a different purpose.
Both RCF Pink and RCF Black can be a bit tricky to apply. A demonstration video is above. 

Base layer options
  • Vauhti K-base 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 little/no snow in the forecast, it seems highly probable that the 2015 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. 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. 

Pole straps - Now would be a good time to inspect your pole straps to make sure they aren't any significant frays or tears. There is nothing worse than tearing a strap right at the start or, even worse, half way through the race. 

Bindings - Now would also be a good time to quickly inspect your bindings to ensure that everything appears tight and well in place.

Updates - We will be posting updates with increasing frequency as conditions change and as we approach the day of the race.


We're in the midst of another warm, wet weekend. But, this may be the last REALLY warm weekend we get for a while. Colder air drops in next week & Edmonton will likely be 10-15 degrees colder by next weekend (Jan 31/Feb1).
Don't worry about the temperature range on these waxes. The other qualities of the wax are what we are after for the underlayer.

Race paraffin options - Given the extremely old and transformed nature of the snow, Holmenkol Speedbase Mid will be an amazing choice. This wax has the added benefit of having an extremely high flouro content and a very reasonable price. This will ensure speed not only at the beginning, but over the course of the entire race. 

Preliminary kick recommendations:

Other things to think about:

What happens next?