Click here for updated blog entry for AHU 135 2013
The Dream and Inspiration
Photo credit to Arrowhead 135 website.
To remember by
Photo credit to Erik Dalgaard, fellow racer on bike.
Photo credit to Brenda Piekarski, Producer of Adventure Minnesota Films.
Of all the blog entries I've written since I've started this chronicle of events, this is by far the hardest to begin. I just don't know where to start and I'm a bit daunted knowing how much I want to include in the "story" or should I say "stories".
I say that because there are a number of angles included in this year's Arrowhead 135.
There is the race its self, of course, which was really 3 races for most of the participants. The faster bikers beat the snow storm to the finish line. Half way through the race we received 4-12" of snow, depending on who you want to believe and where on the trail it fell and where you were as a racer when you hit it and how much you had to slog through it....either on skis with a pack on weighing 20-30 lbs or dragging a sled with about the same amount of weight, pushing a 40-50 lb. fat bike and gear or on foot dragging/pushing a 30-40 lb. sled.
So for me there was the start, the middle and the end to this race, if one wants to really call it a race at this point. At times it was just a march towards the end...for some the end was the next bailout point, the next aid station or at 4AM breaking trail with almost knee deep snow that completely buried my ski tips, looking to the side of the trail through the heavy wet flakes as my headlight barely penetrated to the trees only 10 feet away wondering if it was possible I was looking at the same tree I saw 20 minutes ago when I last dared look at the stationary sentries I used to gauge my forward progress....and knowing full well it wasn't but being so tempted to stop and turn to look back to see if in fact I could see it from where I stood....and continuing this for 7-8 hours on a pristine snow covered trail until a few snowmobiles pass by to confirm that there was still outside life.
There was the aspect that Adventure Minnesota Films had asked me if I wanted to participate as one of 3 racers, one from each mode of propulsion, bike, foot and ski, to be followed throughout the race. This included a pre-race interview and filming and a camera crew at just about every road crossing and at every checkpoint and how that affected and influenced my race preparations, expectations, performance and ultimately how I thought and how it would ultimately affect my enjoyment of the race experience, before, during and after.
There was the aspect of leading in the ski division and wondering if I'd be caught and knowing that winning would be worth it all, but how would I feel if I went through all of this only to get passed near the end....or worse yet, cracking under the physical and mental pressure and take myself out of the running.
The family aspect, as my son Chris was out on the course behind me in the foot division...how was he doing? Would he be able to make the cut-off time to the finish knowing what he and the rest of the foot division people would have to deal with?
And lastly, the companionship of my wife who was there for the pre-race, race and post race. How would that affect me? Or more concerning to me, how would she be affected?
Bottom line, check back often to my blog page as this may take a long time to figure out how to write this up and to include all I need to include to capture everything that was experienced over the past couple of weeks. Thanks for following.
Click here for page to updated blog for Arrowhead Ultra 2013: