Saturday, August 28, 2010

Birkebeiner Rittet (Birke Bike Race)

Here is a test of our video system, the Flip Camera. How well, and large, and how slowly will this load to our blog?

The Birkebeiner Rittet, a 93km mountain bike race, finished just a few kilometers down the hill from our house this weekend. Friday was the first day of racing, for those who didn't get in to the "real" race on Saturday. Friday was a beautiful, cool, sunny day. Saturday was a rainy, freezing, foggy, miserable day. By the time the racers reached the end of our driveway, they were covered in mud, cold, wet, and had a 3km windy descent to the finish. I heard some racers were so cold they couldn't even hold their water bottles once they finished. 

For those not in the know, the Birkebeiner originally started out as a ski race, commemorating a trip made by Norwegian loyalists who skied through the mountains to save the heir to the Norwegian throne, Håkon Håkonsson, in 1206. There are now three races: the ski race (54km), the mountain bike race (94 km), and a cross-country running race (21km). All participants in the bike and ski race are required to carry a 3.5kg pack on their back, symbolizing the weight of the one-year old child. To which I say: I gave birth to an exactly 4.0kg child--8lbs 13 oz--so that it is one malnourished one-year old king.

The Birkebeinerrittet is the largest mountain bike race in the world. On Friday, I walked to Greta's barnehage along the race course, and during the 15 minute walk over 300 cyclists rode past. There were around 15,000 participants in the bike race over the two days, so there was a nearly constant squeal of squeaking bike brakes all of Saturday as the racers began their final descent past our driveway. We had to abort a trip into Lillehammer around 9:30am, as we couldn't get through the road at the bottom of the hill due to a children's race, and when we turned around to go back home, we were blocked by the first stream of racers. We left our car parked on the roadside, and hiked our way back up the hill. 

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