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Word From The Wax Bench...

Rex Clinic Recap

This past weekend I had the pleasure of hosting the Hecker family on behalf of Rex Ski Wax for a liquid wax clinic at the Samuel Johnson Nordic Center at OO (in our fancy smancy New Moon Wax Room no less!) Another perk of the job is that I was able to get out for a short bit to enjoy a bit of top notch spring skiing.
We sprayed, we brushed, we conquered. It was a great way to showcase what is turning out to be a paradigm shift in waxing. Jeremy Hecker led the demo, representing not only the Rex brand, but his new role as the Head Nordic Ski Coach for the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. The event was well attended, and we had our hands full during the whole demo, waxing skis and getting everyone up to speed on how to apply these new waxes. The trail had just been groomed on Friday, so the skiing conditions were excellent. It was ideal spring skiing with a firm and fast deck, but not so icy that you couldn’t get an edge.
Later in the afternoon we headed back to the shop for a “happy hour” with some apres ski snacks, beverages, and further wax wisdom. It was a great event to host as a follow up to our success with Rex over Birkie. Thank you to the whole Hecker family, Mike, Connie, Chris, and Jeremy for being great partners and representatives, but also for all they do in the Nordic community in our region and abroad on the World Cup circuit.
We will definitely do this event again next ski season, so keep your eyes on our events calendar in the Fall. In case this was the last weekend of truly great skiing for the season, I hope you enjoyed this winter as much as I did! -Ian

Trail to the Birkie Wrap Up

Hopefully you’ve been watching Trail to the Birkie along with all of us. The video series was created to share our passion for cross country skiing and the admiration we have for our customers and friends. After each video, find out how our skiers fared this past weekend.

Ashley Shuman

Ashley was looking forward to skiing the Korte, but unfortunately did not get clearance from her PT to ski in this year’s event. “I was really bummed, but was able to enjoy Birkie week as a spectator without the stress of preparing to race, and that was a pretty fun experience,” Ashley says. “Now I’m looking forward to being able to fully participate in the Fat Bike Birkie next weekend and to get to experience another facet of Birkie Fever!”

 

Dakota Dale

Dakota made his way from the 6th Wave through the throngs of skiers last year to secure himself a Wave 1 start in the 2019 Birkie. How did this year go for him? “Birkie week went well. I felt a bit sluggish during the race but that is okay.” Unfortunately, Dakota just missed placement in the elite wave for next year. “Pretty disappointed I missed my elite wave, but I have next year!”

Lauren Harrison

Lauren had a tough, but really meaningful race. “I had a good experience racing, especially considering my lack of training,” she says…”it was tough skating conditions with how choppy the trail got, which makes me even prouder that I finished and excited  for next year to hopefully improve upon my time. It was so rewarding to go over the bridge and see the finish line and hear everybody cheering you in. Can’t wait for next year!”

Roger Burger

“By all accounts, the weekend was a great success,” Roger says about the event. “Warm temperatures for athletes, spectators and volunteers really felt like a gift. The fresh snow made for more work than my current fitness level was ready for and things changed from racing to hard work at about 35K.” He was particularly glad there wasn’t a strong headwind on the lake! “Thanks to all the volunteers and the Birkie staff!!” Roger is now looking forward to some warm spring skiing on fast transformed snow.

We at New Moon hope however you celebrated the Birkie, whether it was on the trail or live-streaming from home you had an awesome, inspiring weekend. Remember, the Birkie lifestyle doesn’t just happen during Birkie week—appreciate the outdoors, strive to be your best, and be proud of your accomplishments no matter how you race or recreate. See ya on the trail!

Worldloppet Master, Jay Wiener, Returns for Birkie ’19

With Birkie Week at hand, we caught up again with our friend, Jay Wiener. Some readers have followed our stories on Jay over the last few years and have gained insights and inspiration  to fuel their various skiing goals. For those just meeting Jay now, take a moment to familiarize yourself with this story teller and fifteen-time Worldloppet Master Passport holder. We first interviewed Jay in 2017. You can read more HERE. A year later, we talked again after the Birkie. Read the 2018 Article HERE.

This year, Jay speaks about dealing with Birkie jitters and how to relax and enjoy the festivities. How to not stress out about the wax. Rolling with the punches. There are good bits of wisdom here for all skiers, not just racers. Enjoy…  – Chris

The refrain to The Mamas and the Papas’ 1966 hit “Words of Love” begins,

“You oughta know by now

You oughta know, you oughta know by now”.

Indeed:  Before every race, people nervously ask, “What wax are you using?”  Never once has anyone responded, “Okay.  In that case, I am going to remove the wax from my skis and rewax them.”

The question channels nervousness, but acknowledging that anxiety is counterproductive is better.  Either everything works well, or one deals with problems that arise.  Angst accomplishes nothing other than stressing one additionally and unnecessarily.

Jay revels in the sunshine at the Merino Muster Worlodloppet Marathon in New Zealand.

My attitude is akin to the Thanksgiving video advising, “Just cook the bird!”… “Just ski the race!”  One’s wax will be right, or it will be wrong.  One will have a stellar day, or one will need to overcome disadvantages.  “Just ski the race!”

Rarely is everything perfect.  Obsession with perfection is unrealistic:  Recognize that things are likely to be imperfect, “Roll with the punches” and prepare to resolve issues which arise.

More often than not, I address shortcomings and adapt accordingly.  It is unusual that everything unfolds as desired.  The reward is that one learns from mistakes.  Nothing is learned when details fall into place, seamlessly.  The ultimate objective is improvement, which only occurs after one errs and figures how to anticipate problems and avoid or rectify them.  Once one integrates the practice into one’s repertoire, it becomes second nature and one internalizes a mantra of Muhammad Ali, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee…” — the goal being to relax sufficiently to deliver a TKO.

The relevance of this approach was reinforced by how my 2019 racing season began.  I rented skis from New Moon for the Birkie Tour. I almost missed my flight home from Minneapolis-Saint Paul even without checking bags.  [Do not try to fly on race day.  I never attempted to do so beforehand and will never try again].  When I called the airline, en route to the airport, to explore options, I determined that a baggage handlers strike in Germany meant that my change of planes in Frankfurt was unlikely to allow me to reach Salzburg with either my clothing or skis.  I opted to depart two mornings later rather than the following afternoon.  Plan B fell apart at Dulles International Airport.  I thus pursued Plan C and drove to the Dolomitenlauf from Zurich, instead of Salzburg; a six hour rather than a two hour drive.

Indeed:  Before every race, people nervously ask, “What wax are you using?”  Never once has anyone responded, “Okay.  In that case, I am going to remove the wax from my skis and rewax them.”

By the following day, I was ill, suffering badly congested lungs and sinuses.  I completed the classic race at the Dolomitenlauf, two days later, and collected my fifteenth Gold Worldloppet Master, but I could hardly speak afterwards, having obstructed Eustachian Tubes and no voice.  The weather at Obertilliach was 8-12 degrees Fahrenheit on the next morning so I opted out of the second day of racing — correctly — setting my sights upon skiing the Marcialonga on the following Sunday.

I trained in Italy, during the intervening days, skiing most of the first sixty of the seventy kilometers over four days; doing little else other than sleeping.  Even then, I lacked strength and stamina.  I completed the marathon, however.  I was not unduly tired after eating, showering, and napping.

All of this is to state, “Just ski the race!”  There will be good days.  There will be bad days.  Do one’s best.  Do one’s utmost.  When the marathon concludes, one will feel a profound sense of achievement for having given one’s all and done as well as anyone could.

Please take a deep breath and relax:  One has done what one can to compete in the American Birkebeiner Ski Marathon.  Now prepare for whatever challenges arise, confident that they will be resolved.  Whatever the shortcomings of one’s wax or otherwise, “Just ski the race” — and, most importantly, enjoy oneself.

Jay receives his fifteenth Worldloppet Master Passport at the Dolomitemlauf Worldloppet Marathon in East Tyrol, Austria.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trail to the Birkie Video Series, Part 4 – Final Installment: Roger

Trail to the Birkie has been a lot of fun. But now Birkie Week is upon us. And that means WAX WAX WAX!  With dozens of fast Birkies under his belt, our friend Roger simplifies waxing a bit for the Birkie masses.

We encourage you to go back and review  the Trail to the Birkie video series. You will find helpful tips, a touch of humor, and inspration for your 2019 Birkie or whatever your skiing goals are.

Part 1: Ashley Shuman

Part 2: Dakota Dale

Part 3: Lauren Harrison

Birkie Fever – see you at the start line!

Trail To The Birkie Video Series, Part 3: Lauren

For week three in our Trail To The Birkie Series, we chat with Lauren as she preps for her first full-length Birkie. Let’s cheer her on come race day – we know she’ll do great!

If you missed Part 1 last week, take a minute to view that segment featuring Ashley Shuman.

Catch up with our week 2 feature with fast skier, Dakota Dale.

Enjoy, and let’s get Birkie Fever goin’!

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