For the second year in a row Northwest Passage 3 volunteered at and documented the largest cross country ski race in North America. The 41st annual American Birkebeiner and its affiliated events drew over 10,000 hearty souls to the 50 kilometer long remote ski trail between Cable and Hayward Wisconsin. P3 was at the 32 km mark handing out much needed refreshments to the racers. They offered water, energy drinks, bananas, cookies, and more importantly shouts of encouragement and smiling faces to the beleaguered racers. I, as one of those beleaguered racers, was relieved to see familiar faces as I passed through the feed station. Their cheers and accolades were the incentive that I and thousands of others needed to complete what was arguably one of the most difficult “Birkies” in recent memory.
Through the course of the day P3 witnessed world class athletes- men and women alike- from around the globe push themselves to chase their dreams of winning the Birkie. They also were there for the thousands of citizen racers like myself out to achieve their own individual objectives of racing in their first, fifth, or even 25th Birkie.
Barb talks and laughs with P3 residents in her home
Barb Klippel, the oldest woman to complete 20 American Birkebeiners, bestowed wisdom, inspiration, and joy to a group of P3 residents who visited her in her home recently.
P3 was later able to meet another such racer who persevered through myriad challenges that shaped her life. A few weeks after the race, Barb Klippel invited us into her home on the banks of the Nemakagon River to share her story and words of wisdom. She spoke of the importance of goals, fortitude, and not giving up in the face of overwhelming obstacles. She reminded us all that what is most important in life is not being the fastest or the strongest or the smartest; but being the one who sets goals and remains on their own true path that matters in the end.
Barb shared tales of growing up in northern Minnesota, being a school teacher, overcoming cancer, and completing her 20th Birkebeiner.
Courtney graciously enjoying Barb’s hospitality and company