Working our way through the alphabet, we’ve arrived at “C.” There really was no question in mind what to say and who to interview for week 3. Caitlin Compton Gregg (currently living out of Minneapolis, MN) has competed in the Birkie 5 times, and has won 3 of those. Read on for some question and answer with Caitlin!
What are the first 6 words that come to mind when you think of the Birkie
Friends, Family, Expo, Jet Stream Blue, Main Street, Feeds
What has been your most memorable Birkie experience?
My second Birkie race in 2011 is by far the most memorable. The entire year I focused all of my training on the Birkie. I hadn’t raced the Birkie in four years, although with the good excuse of competing at 2 Nordic World Championships, a Biathlon World Championships and the 2010 Olympics. Sometimes I wish the big races weren’t always the same week in February. We had a pack of girls as we crossed Lake Hayward and I came on to main street with a small lead. I was worried that I had gone too soon but I just went as hard as I could to my now husband Brian (Gregg) who was waiting for me with his arms up at the finish line. That day I was able to pay off the remainder of my debt from the 2010 Olympics and later we bought our first home. The 2011 race was a game changer for my life. My first Birkie win literally changed my life.
Why do you Birkie? Why is it special, and what to you is the Birkie fever?
The Birkie is so much more than just the race! Over the years I have put in many hours of training in the Hayward/Cable area and becoming friends with the wonderful people there. Race week is a great reunion of friends and family. I usually spend the week before the Birkie wearing my Birkie Sweater that was knit for me by Alison Barta. So far the sweater has brought me great luck and I cannot stop the tradition. I also love the fact that I can share the experience with so many people! There are so many races I do around the country and World that can only be followed through spectating and results, I love that so many of the people I have met through skiing get to share in the training, trail and the race experiences with me.
How do you try to spread the love of skiing and a healthy, active lifestyle to those around you?
Brian and I bought our house in the Twin Cities because of the awesome ski community here! We have made skiing more than a hobby or passion, we have made it our lifestyle. We love every aspect of the sport from racing to coaching to representing our sponsors. We owe so many awesome memories to skiing and the Birkie has made many of our racing dreams become reality. We love the fact that we can take that support and give it right back to the ski community through our participation in local clubs, events and being ambassadors for the sport. One of my real passions is my work with the North Minneapolis Jerry Gamble Boys and Girls Club kids. Over the last seven years Brian and I have worked regularly to promote a healthy and active lifestyle through running, biking, skiing, canoeing, basketball and more. One of my favorite parts of the Birkie is that the volunteers at the finish who hand out the Medals for first timers and pins for veterans are Boys and Girls Club kids. It has been great to go from skiing the Barnebirkie with many of them to sharing the success in reaching my goals at the Birkie.
What are your plans for this upcoming season?
This year I am excited to start the season right away on the World Cup. I want to race well enough in those early World Cups to compete in the Tour de Ski! After that the goal this year is World Championships which overlap with the Birkie unfortunately.
Thanks for checking in, and come back next week for “D” with Jessie Diggins!