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Official Toko view of Birkie



 
 
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  #1  
Old February 24th 04, 06:03 PM
Rob Bradlee
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Default Official Toko view of Birkie

Hi gang,
Included below is Ian Harvey's official view of the Birkie. Has some
interesting ideas in it as always. Enjoy.

Rob B.

The American Birkebeiner, the largest cross country ski race in America
was held last weekend in Hayward, WI. There were over 6000 starters
from all over the world, although most participants were from the
Midwest. The Birkie actually involves two races - a 51 km marathon or
a 25 km half marathon.

The forecast that was given over a week in advance by the National
Weather Service held up really well. Lows Friday night were about 17
and highs on race day turned out to be in the mid 30s. Snow stayed
pretty dry due to the 10-15 mile per hour wind. It had snowed Thursday
and Friday and the snow was predictably soft. There was also a dusting
of snow on race morning.

On Monday the 16th of February (the race was on the 21st) we
recommended LF Moly, HF Blue/Red mix (for elite and first wave) or HF
Red followed by HelX Cold. We also recommended fine structure.
Thankfully, this recommendation turned out to be spot on.

I have learned to wax "cold" at the Birkie with finer structure than
one would think. This is for a number of reasons. First, the race is
long and the wax needs to be durable. A harder wax is more durable.
Second, there is a ton of climbing in this race. This means that a
skier spends a lot of time going relatively slowly up big long hills.
A harder wax breaks away easier than a softer wax making them slippery
at slow speeds. Also, there is generally some wind at the Birkie which
drys the snow out and makes it act "colder". Lastly, if it is not corn
snow, the Birkie trail is generally soft yielding slower ski speeds.

For these same reasons a finer structure seems to work better at the
Birkie when the snow is not transformed.

For most of these same reasons a soft ski (which in my opinion always
climbs better too) is generally the call for the Birkie when it is not
transformed snow.

In this year's Birkie, I think that a coarse structure or stiff skis
was a recipe for certain slow skis. We gave this advice verbally at
all of the venues (the 3 retail stores and at the Expo).

Our tip of HelX Cold as a final layer was also solid. The Blue/Red mix
for elites and first wavers gave the skis an excellent "feel" and made
them faster at slow speeds. (You know what I mean). The HelX Cold
tested about the same as JetStream Old Snow, but had it gotten a bit
wetter would have kicked in and given some super fast skis on the
downhills. As it was though HelX Cold ran very well.

Before the race, especially on Friday, there was a lot of trepidation
(as always) and people coming back AGAIN asking, "are you sure?".
Everybody seemed to want to panic and "warm up" the recommendation. As
commonly is the case though, the weather can change but the conditions
might stay the same. This was the case here this year, last year, and
three years ago. Luckily, we work with Toko and our waxes have
beautiful broad ranges and these changes were welcomed. After
considering what might happen, we knew that our tip was going to be
excellent almost no matter what change took place (except for rain or
extreme cold).

The Toko Tech Team and Team Rossignol (and some others) represented us
very well in the shops, at the expo, during the event, and in general.
Thank you to all involved for an excellent weekend.

Ian Harvey
Toko Brand Manager
Climb High Inc.

866 TOKO USA


=====
Rob Bradlee
Java, C++, Perl, XML, OOAD, Linux, and Unix Training




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  #2  
Old February 24th 04, 09:25 PM
Gene Goldenfeld
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Default Official Toko view of Birkie

Rob, thanks for posting this. I think Ian got his days mixed up.
According to the NWS, the Hayward temp was 17F Saturday mid-evening and
continued to drop into Sunday morning. The Friday/Saturday overnight
low was 29-30, falling to ~26 at race time. The temps at Telemark were
within a degree of those (not always the case). That it didn't drop was
unexpected and commented on by some, including Justin Wadsworth in the
post under Birkie week fun. The sun did come out and warm temps into
the upper 30s during the afternoon, but it didn't hit 32 in Hayward
until close to 1 pm, which was long after the front waves had finished.
For one record of all this, see
http://www.wunderground.com/history/...lyHistory.html

I was also curious where Swix came up with its midweek prediction of 9F
overnight, which it never altered. I follow five weather sites,
including the NWS official, and the closest to that earlier in the week
saw a low of 14, the highest (AccuWeather.com) 22. I find the latter is
often very different and more accurate than the NWS.

Some of Ian's other comments, especially about the colder snow, are
accurate tho not unique. I don't know whether HelX cold turned out to be
the right call in these conditions.

Gene


Rob Bradlee wrote:

Hi gang,
Included below is Ian Harvey's official view of the Birkie. Has some
interesting ideas in it as always. Enjoy.

Rob B.

The forecast that was given over a week in advance by the National
Weather Service held up really well. Lows Friday night were about 17
and highs on race day turned out to be in the mid 30s. Snow stayed
pretty dry due to the 10-15 mile per hour wind. It had snowed Thursday
and Friday and the snow was predictably soft. There was also a dusting
of snow on race morning.

On Monday the 16th of February (the race was on the 21st) we
recommended LF Moly, HF Blue/Red mix (for elite and first wave) or HF
Red followed by HelX Cold. We also recommended fine structure.
Thankfully, this recommendation turned out to be spot on.

  #3  
Old February 24th 04, 09:29 PM
[email protected]
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Posts: n/a
Default Official Toko view of Birkie

Wow, Ian seems to have a healthy imagination. I can't imagine
thinking a Blue/Red mix was "spot on" when the temps didn't even get
below 30 the night before! This seems to be a pretty optimistic view,
even for company propoganda ;-).

Brian


In article m, Rob
Bradlee wrote:
On Monday the 16th of February (the race was on the 21st) we
recommended LF Moly, HF Blue/Red mix (for elite and first wave) or HF
Red followed by HelX Cold. We also recommended fine structure.
Thankfully, this recommendation turned out to be spot on.

  #5  
Old February 25th 04, 11:23 AM
Jay Tegeder
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Default Official Toko view of Birkie

Gene Goldenfeld wrote in message ...
Rob, thanks for posting this. I think Ian got his days mixed up.
According to the NWS, the Hayward temp was 17F Saturday mid-evening and
continued to drop into Sunday morning. The Friday/Saturday overnight
low was 29-30, falling to ~26 at race time. The temps at Telemark were
within a degree of those (not always the case).


My buddies and I thought the temp would be closer to 30F Saturday
morning and not the predicted 18F. The weather service had been saying
all week that the temps would drop overnight on Wednesday, Thursday
and Friday but they never did.


I was also curious where Swix came up with its midweek prediction of 9F
overnight, which it never altered. I follow five weather sites,
including the NWS official, and the closest to that earlier in the week
saw a low of 14, the highest (AccuWeather.com) 22. I find the latter is
often very different and more accurate than the NWS.



I talked to Roger Knight. He said they couldn't find a place to run
off 5,000 more copies that would have been updated. However, their wax
reccomendation never changed. Roger and Zach Caldwell said HF7 worked
better than HF8 even at the warmer temps because of the fresh snow.
They also stayed with their FC7 call.

Jay Tegeder
"Keep training, lycra never lies!" JT
  #8  
Old February 25th 04, 11:04 PM
Jay Tegeder
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Default Official Toko view of Birkie

I'm not sure how much wax testing the wax companies actually do at the
Birkebeiner. I think they go by the weather report. That's why Zach
Caldwell was so invaluable at the race this year. He tested about a
dozen pairs of skis with all kinds of wax. I think the skis were the
same flex and only the wax and structure were different. He re-tested
waxes and structures every day during the week. I think all of the wax
companies have missed the wax in the past. Once again, hats off to
Zach!

Jay Tegeder
"Keep training, lycra never lies!" JT


(Ron Bott) wrote in message . com...
wrote in message ...
Wow, Ian seems to have a healthy imagination. I can't imagine
thinking a Blue/Red mix was "spot on" when the temps didn't even get
below 30 the night before! This seems to be a pretty optimistic view,
even for company propoganda ;-).

Brian


An extremely optimistic view is right. I was unable to ski the Birkie
this year, but I must of talked with at least 8 people who used the
Toko recommendation and were extremely dissapointed in the results. In
fact not one person said they had good skis with the Toko wax of the
day. Of course there are many other equipment factors to consider in
addition to the wax, but to say the recommendation was "spot on" I
find rather insulting, based on the feedback I had gotten.

Ron Bott

  #9  
Old February 26th 04, 12:55 AM
Eric Shmo Chandler
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Default Official Toko view of Birkie

I'm a Swix guy myself and was confused by them sticking to the 9F
morning low prediction. I waxed using the NWS "meteorogram" graph
which showed about 18-28 degree spread. My truck told me it was 22F
when I parked at 0740 and it showed 29F when I drove home at two
o-clock or so.

Shmo

(telewhacker) wrote in message . com...
It seems to be fashionable to bash Toko on this group. But, I used
their HF Red, with Helx Cold and had fast skis.
I started with bib 4257 and finished about 750 so I had lots of
opportunities to compare glide as I passed people.

At worst my glide was comparable to others. In most cases (90%+) I had
better skis.



(Ron Bott) wrote in message . com...
wrote in message ...
Wow, Ian seems to have a healthy imagination. I can't imagine
thinking a Blue/Red mix was "spot on" when the temps didn't even get
below 30 the night before! This seems to be a pretty optimistic view,
even for company propoganda ;-).

Brian


An extremely optimistic view is right. I was unable to ski the Birkie
this year, but I must of talked with at least 8 people who used the
Toko recommendation and were extremely dissapointed in the results. In
fact not one person said they had good skis with the Toko wax of the
day. Of course there are many other equipment factors to consider in
addition to the wax, but to say the recommendation was "spot on" I
find rather insulting, based on the feedback I had gotten.

Ron Bott

  #10  
Old February 26th 04, 12:45 PM
Roger Knight
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Posts: n/a
Default Official Toko view of Birkie

Hey everyone-
I thought I would help clear something up on this whole Birkie
thing.....

1. Swix does test wax during the Birkie week, although how valuable
tests are when it is 40F the day before are debateable. We work very
closely with Zack, and the Subaru Factory Team. I have been personally
at the Birkie the last four years and we have nailed the wax every
year...that may be lucky, but we'll take it!

2. We do not update our recommendation on the sheets we print up, as
we print them up ahead of time and there is nowhere in the Hayward
area that is affordable to print these up. We DO tell everyone who
comes by New Moon or the Expo what the weather is currently(within the
hour), and what that does to our recommendation. This year, the change
in weather did not change our rec, as it was still on the money. Our
guys had great skis, and I heard from a bunch of people after the race
that they used our wax rec and loved their skis....so that always
makes us feel good. We actually recommended more structure than other
companies, just a fine structure, but not super fine. This was
actually key, as the snow felt drier than it was. Skis with a fine
structure ran much faster than skis with a very fine structure, just
ask Pat Weaver. He and Justin Wadsworth waxed with the exact same
thing, and at the finish Pat told me his skis were the worst of the
lead group, and Justin told me his skis were unbelievable. They had
waxed the same wax (Solda actually), but Pat had a much finer
structure....so it was obvious the difference.

3. The best way at the Birkie to get the most up to date results is to
come see us at the booth. I don't have time to update the websites
because we work from 6 am until 11 pm those few days....I apologize.

4. Guess what the Italians had on their skis? They come talk to me
every year at the Birkie, partly because we usually have a guy with us
who can speak Italian, but partly because they use mostly Swix
powders. They actually used FC040 on their skis. This is the old
version of FC7.....they tested FC040 vs. FC8 the day of the race and
found that FC040 was better for what it is worth. I had the
opportunity to talk to their coach/wax tech both before and after the
race....they were very pleased with their skis....

5. Thank you to everyone who supported us this year, both at the
Birkie and throughout the rest of the season. We will continue to
recommend wax based on what runs fastest, not what we have in our
warehouse. For those of you who don't know, we were almost sold out of
FC7 and FC1S going into the Birkie....but we recommended it
anyway...it probably cost us thousands of dollars, but our
recommendation was fast.

Thanks again.

Roger Knight
Nordic Operations Manager Swis Sport USA
 




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