• Justin Eberhardt

Race Season 2020!

I have three races on my schedule for this year, starting with the Vasaloppet USA less than a month away, followed two weeks later by the American Birkebeiner, and wrapping up with a trip to Switzerland for the Engadin Ski Marathon. This is the time of year that I start getting really excited for the citizen racing season, and it’s also the time that I start thinking a bit more seriously about getting my fitness where it needs to be to finish those long races – at this point in the season, 58k across lakes and prairie, 50k over the Birkie hills, and 42k at 1600 meters elevation seem like a very long distance to cover.

The forecast for the next two weeks calls for cold and snow. That’s great news for the ski trails although it could make training something of a challenge. While I’ll try to get in a few kilometers of skiing in most days, I may have to resort to using my wife’s treadmill to get in the cardio I’ll need without suffering frostbite!

Left: Jan 13 to Jan 27 Snow Accumulation, Right: January 19th Temp (Dupage College GFS model)

Vasaloppet – February 8th, 2020

Could this be the year that we get to ski the entire course from Warman to Mora? I I’m sure the race organizers will put a great course together no matter the conditions, but I’ve only had the opportunity to ski the entire course once and I’d love to be able to ski it again! I’ve been impressed the last few years how the snow farmers have put together a big loop with nice hills, flats, and pond hopping that has been fast and fun to ski. I wrote an unofficial guide to the Vasaloppet on my blog last year, and I’ll update it for this season as we get closer to the race. There is still an opportunity to register for the race, but sign up soon because there’s a price hike scheduled for January 16th. I think it’s the best race in the Midwest – hope to see you there!

American Birkebeiner – February 22nd, 2020

This will be my fourth Birkie, and I’m excited to be back in the skate race this year. I took a quick day trip out the Birkie Trail a couple weeks ago to ski the section from OO to the start and back to remind myself just how big those hills are. It was a nice day, and I was able to get in a good early-season workout (and to see just how much more work I have to do to get in shape by February). That trail is fun to ski anytime – there’s no other trail quite as wide, steep, and fast as the Birkie Trail! The 50k is closed for 2020 registrations, but it looks like you can still register for the Prince Haakon 15k if you’d like to get in on the Birkie experience yourself.

Engadin Skimarathon, Switzerland – 8. März 2020

After a great trip to the Norwegian Birkebeiner last year, I decided to try another big international race again this season. My family and I will be traveling to the Engadin Valley and staying in the village of Pontresina for the Engadin Ski Marathon. The race just sold out with 14,000 skiers from 60 countries registered for the 42km freestyle race. I don’t know what to expect from this race, but the pictures on their website look amazing as the course traverses the Engadin Valley through the alpine villages surrounding St. Moritz. I can’t wait to get there and to experience it for myself!

Engadin Skimarathon [credit engadin-skimarathon.ch]

I’ll be posting to the blog about the ski trails I visit while training, my race experiences, and tips for race spectators throughout the season, so follow @mnxc.org on Facebook for updates.

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©2020 by Justin Eberhardt