Gordy Savela noted it was 54K from downtown Keewautin to Grand Rapids via the Mesabi Trail in northern Minnesota. Was this a coincidence? Naturally, he then he asked who was up for a Classic Summer Birkie roller ski?
The truth is, the Birkie is never far from our minds. Collectively, Team Eat Bowl Relax has been going to the Birkie since 1978. What could be better than its members skiing a summer Birkie? Gordy promised it “would be hell,” after all. We talked about it and decided we would create an authentic summer Birkie experience, but in the Twin Cities.
So at 7 a.m., July 7, 2012, Gordy and Mark “Bear” Berens showed up at my house and we headed out for the first leg of our journey. First stop, Lake Elmo Park Reserve. It was a beautiful Saturday morning, and we had high hopes our kick wax would work. We took off from the imaginary starting line and set our marathon pace. Instead of hearing “hiya hiya hiya” at the start, or the drums on the powerline hills, we heard the morning calls of the birds.
Read the entirety of Ray Johnston’s account of he and his friends roller skiing 54K in the February 2013 print edition of Silent Sports. To order a copy, call 715/369-3331. To avoid missing any future issues, subscribe online here.