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HAYWARD- Thousands of skiers and fans turned the quiet little town of Hayward upside downFor the 41st annual Birkebeiner. Hayward boasts a population of only about 2500 people. But early Saturday morning the town looked like a bustling metropolis. More than ten thousand skiers registered for the race. And they brought with them hoards of fans. "I wish I was skiing. It's great fun for everyone." One woman said "We're cheering on our husbands and brothers in laws and sisters in law. They're all skiing in the Kortelopet." They came from all over the country to cheer them on. One man came to see his grandson race and he said, "well it's just great to see him. He lives in Vale Colorado, and I live in Wyoming and I get to see him this way." The Birkie held several races since arriving Thursday, but Saturday was all about the distance races. The 50 kilometer skate and a 54 kilometer classic race. Women's skate race winner, Caitlin Gregg said, "Actually it was one of the harder races I've done, you know with the cold new snow. It was absolutely beautiful, but I had to fight the whole way for sure."This was Gregg's third Birkie win and she was all smiles. "We bought a house with the money the first year, we paid off my student loans with the money the second year. Last year we used the money to train for the Olympics, so I don't know, I'm thinking baby number one is on the way." And several Duluthians had strong races as well. Skate racer Steve Coozennoy said. "It was brutal, I'm cramping up bad. Probably one of my best races ever, but it hurts." Race officials said the weather made the race particularly brutal. Assistant chief of competition, Scott Wilson said, "it was quite windy and the wind was kind of blowing right at the front of the skiers. At the front line it was like a wind tunnel." This was Coozennoy's fourth year in the race, And after he only had one thing in mind...well two. "So what's on your mind now?" "Beer and water."..Beer and water? Yup"