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Jim's Journal   (Return to journal entry listing)
Posting Date: Wednesday, February 26, 2003
Subject: First Birkie Report

Hi Everyone -

Just wanted to get a short email off to say I survived a treacherous and bitterly cold Birkie! And I see by the results so did fellow CCC'ers Eric Lanners and Scott Andrzejczak - Congratulations guys! In fact, as I recall Eric thought he would do it in 5-6 hours and was under 4 hours! Nice job!

I got back Sunday night, and between family, a frantic day of work and starting my next round of Temodar chemo I have been quite distracted. Today I spent most of the day in bed or lounging. Temodar is supposed to be the "easy chemo" but it has socked me quite good. As I recall the first day after was the worst last time.

A few "highlights":

  • Around 25 patients signed my suit. I had no idea how motivating it would be for some. It hung in the chemo room for two weeks. The last day when I went in there was an elderly man I had not seen before. He was thin and had a gray pallor. When I went to talk to one of the nurses he sparked up and said "Is that Jim?" with a big smile on his face. From that moment on I knew I was going to finish the race no matter what.
  • The race began with the mercury in the single digits above zero, CCCCOOOLD even for us hearty northerners. Thankfully the 5-10 MPH wind was at our back
  • The course received a light dusting of snow overnight, which probably saved hundreds from broken limbs. The steep and winding downhills were lightning fast. I fell more times during this race than my whole racing career combined. There were lots of bloody faces at the finish, and a lot of broken gear. This was "The Death Ride" of skiing Will and Scott!
  • My race began uite auspiciously. In the starting gate there is probably room for 50 skiers per wave on the line. About 3/4 K ahead it bottlenecks significantly, and as I slowed someone behind me didn't, and when I stumbled a bit they skied right through my graphite pole, snapping it in two. I went back for the piece so I could get a warranty replacement, costing me eons of time. About 3K into the race I got a decent replacement and was able to ski normally again.
  • Attached are a few photos of the suit I wore with signatures of my fellow patients. After the articles in the paper and on skinnyski.com I had many people greet me on the course. That was wonderful and kept me going.
  • I finished in 3 hrs 49 minutes, slower than my glory days, but given the state of things I was well satisfied.
  • In about a month I will get photos they take on the course and will post one if any good.
  • Next Time:

  • Climbing the Power Line
  • Fabulous Faceplant at Snowmobilers Hill
  • Plenty of gas left at Hwy 00 so no dropping out!
  • Inching up "Bitch Hill"
  • Pre Race prep and Post Race controversy
  • Bro & Sis-in-Law top 75 and 25, respectively!