Traveling Ted is a blog that takes readers along on my adventures hiking, canoeing, skiing, and international backpacking. Many blogs focus on one aspect of backpacking, but I tackle both the outdoor adventure side and international exploration as well.

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American Birkebeiner Wisconsin

A likeness of the famous Birkebeiner rescue

2013 marks the 40th year of the prestigious American Birkebeiner Marathon in Hayward, Wisconsin. This year will be my second time competing in the 54 kilometer (approximately 33.5 miles) competition. My goal is to beat my time of 5 hours and 54 minutes.

American Birkebeiner cross-country ski Marathon

Proudly displaying my medal given to all competitors who finish their first Birkie

It will not be easy as I am currently not in the best of shape. Last week I kicked off my training campaign with a Christmas ski trip to Wisconsin. I skied the Pike Lake Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, then North Kettle Moraine, and finally ended up in the Black River State Forest.

Trinidad & Tobago

Instead of racing the Birkebeiner last year, I partied it up in Trinidad & Tobago last year – Here I am showing off my gut from lack of skiing

I skied a little over ten miles each day, and I was pretty exhausted after each effort. I have a long way to go. I blame my current lack of physique to two issues. One, we had a horrible winter last year with virtually no snow. I only skied 4 or 5 days last year, so this started my cycle of getting out of shape. The other factor is my love of Chicago pizza. Raul from I live to travel definitely understands.

Chicago pizza

Raul from I live to travel shares my love for Chicago pizza

The American Birkebeiner, affectionately nicknamed the Birkie by locals and participants,  is listed by the Worldloppet Ski Federation as the elite cross-country ski marathon in the United States. The Worldloppet Federation lists one marathon per country as the top race and issues a passport. Each time you finish the race for the country, you get a stamp.

Worldloppet passport

Getting my Worldloppet Ski Federation passport stamped for the Birkebeiner

There are 16 countries that participate and have a race designated with Worldloppet status.  Most of the countries come as no surprise as they are ones with a long standing Nordic tradition including Norway, Switzerland, and Finland.  The Swiss race is called the Vasaloppet and is the longest race sponsored by Worldloppet at a grueling 90 kilometers or 56 miles.

Japan beer vending machine

Having a sapporo beer in Kyoto, Japan – Perhaps another reason for my current state of health is my love for hops, barley,a and yeast

There are a few countries involved that might surprise you: Japan and Australia being the two surprises. The Australian race is called the Kangaroo Hoppet, which is a pun on the Swiss word for “race,” which is loppet. The Japanese race is held in Sapporo, which is also home to a good beer.

American Birkebeiner ski marathon

American Birkebeiner action photo

After completing ten recognized Worldloppet races and at least one on two different continents, you get recognized as a Worldloppet Master. A Worldloppet Global Skier is designated to individuals who have completed all 16 races. The Worldloppet Federation allows for a unique and fit way to travel the world.

American Birkebeiner cross-country ski Marathon

Climbing one bitch of a hill during the Birkebeiner Marathon

The Birkebeiner is named after Norwegian lore. The Birkebeiners were a rebellious party in Norway and in 1174 were credited with escorting the two year old Prince Haakon, heir to the Norwegian throne, from Osterdalen to Trondheim on cross-country skis. This was a perilous journey through mountains and forests. This historic event is celebrated in Wisconsin and evidence of it can be seen throughout Hayward and Cable.

I will be covering the race through this website and my Wisconsin outdoor website.  When I did the race two years ago I did not have a GoPro video camera, so I am excited to take video of the race from this unique perspective.


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