Thursday, February 28, 2008

Finally, a race report from Dave Simmons!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Ski report from Phil Rogers

Here's some word's from a skate skier who participated and enjoyed the part I did. First, it was my plan to finish if I appeared to be on schedule arriving at MelGeorge's. This I was not. Trail conditions at my 7:19 a.m. start were actually pretty good and the weather was balmy, probably to balmy for my liking. It wasn't long down the trail and I was down to one light wool top zipped completely open at the neck, no hat or gloves. Boy, that sled pulled harder that I remembered! As I stripped down I looked like I'd just stepped out of a sauna as the steam just rolled.

Messing with my I-pod (gift from Kelly especially for this event) caused me to leap frog back and forth with Bria Shurke. She is quite the skier! Nearing the turn-around pt. (a mile away?) I spotted the skate skier who's tracks I'd been eyeballing the entire way out. I immediately knew when I spotted him my wife was correct with her recommondation I use a backpack, but nooooo, I didn't listen!!!!

I watched as he V-2'd gracefully past. The best I could manage was a long V-1! You skiers (skaters) know what I'm talking about. Ever V-1 down hills? Get used to it in this event. (That is if your'e pulling a sled). By the way, my sled was the 66" variety available to kids at L&M Fleet Supply equiped with grey plastic conduit as poles and a skikjoring belt as a harness, slick. Thanks to Jim Reed (co-worker and fellow Arrowhead nut) I had devised my own pulk that I'm still quite proud of.

My mandatory equipment topped out barely over the minimum at 16+ lbs. I was carrying the Jar of PB which J. Reed graciously gave my at the gear check when I came up short on calories and what I felt was plenty of food and water packed in my styrofoam cooler. This cooler I tested in this year's coldest weather and it kept water from freezing actually for 2 days, quite impressive! I also had a pretty hefty bag containing extra clothes, boots, hand and head wear etc....

So there I was, sweating like a pig pulling my pulk and slowly passing these amazing people who'd set out earlier than I on foot! Wow, that takes some determination. I can't imagine doing the A-135 on foot. I really have respect for those folks!!! There I was cruising past the runner/walkers when, whooosh, there goes a train of cyclist containing Charlie Farrow enveloped in the group.

Most A-135'ers probably know Charlie. As Charlie was the one who actually spoke on my behalf and ability (turns out to be inability) to cruise through this event w/o even loosing any digits. Sorry Charlie, I let you down.

Charlie was doing a little more shucking and jiving on his bike you know, those skinny tires just down "float" like the Surly 4"er's do. But, he's an animal and as animals do he just a-kept-on-a-going! One more oncoming peek at those guys before my turn-around and that would by my last glimpse of them til MelGeorges.

As I made the turn the wind was now oncoming causing me to readjust my temp by topping off my head with a hat again and adding thin gloves. I figured I'd better drink about every hour and snack around every 3. This seemed to work perfectly for me. I've experienced cramping in muscles throughout my body even doing races such as the Vasaloppet in Mora and the Birkebeiner in Hayward. Throughout this event I never experienced a single twinge of a muscle cramp or sense of hunger.

Just the opposite was the case. I felt I must eat even when I wasn't really hungry. I knew I was working my *%#@ off so logically I gotta eat, right? Eat I did. My fare consisted of candy bars for snacks, Lays chips and salami and cheese sandwiches washed down with Gatoraid.

About 5 hours after my start having rested a bit and refilling my fluid containers along with my belly with hot soup at the Gateway store I proceeded. I was a bit discouraged by my pace. My GPS indicated I wasn't managing the pace that would enable me to reach the finish in time to allow transport back to the Falls and then home again and work on Wednsday.

This pace prediction seemed to by coming all too true when at around 6ish in the evening I was "skiing" down a logging road that appeared quite brown under the Black Diamond LED glow. Boy, I wasn't even sure I was going the right way! Had I missed a turn? What the $%(!!. How far do I have to "ski" down this thing? Oh, what's that? Snowmobiles. I'll just ask them. Is Elephant Lake this way? Wheww, thank goodness, I'm on the right track.

Boy, did my spirits lift after a little human interaction in the northwoods night. Not that I was "down" mind you, but hey, would you want to ski what felt like miles down a dirt road in the wrong direction? I know this sort of thing has happened to others here in the past and I didn't want my name on that list.

Anyway, bouyed by this good news I felt awesome. Seriously, I hadn't felt this good all day. I had about 10 miles to go to MelGeorges and figured correctly I'd arrive shortly after 8 p.m. which would put my outside of the time I figured I'd need to actually finish in time.

Arriving at Melgeorges I spoke briefly w/Charlie Farrow who would soon be heading out for round 2 of his bout with the A-135. He informed me the 2nd 1/2 was on the hilly side and I informed him I was dropping. He seemed to agree another 70 miles of this might put a damper on the rest of my race season, I concurred.

Inside I was treated to warmth, hot soup, a burger and drink. I'd been fantasizing about a burger now for about 10 miles, just after my encounter with the 'bilers'. I couldn't believe it when I was informed I could soon be living that dream, sinking my teeth into a juicy burger! It was every bit as good as I'd anticipated.

Drying out listing to other participants share their stories I was lucky enough to overhear a van would soon be departing for the Falls. The wheels in my head turned and I figured w/luck I'd be at home in bed somewhere before morning light which I was, thanks a million for the ride!

Luckily Kelly didn't think I was a burglar and I'm still alive to write this but who knows, next time I knock on the bedroom window in the middle of the night I might not be so lucky!

Thanks all for a great event and I plan to be back, sans the pulk.

P.S. My drop date was wrongly recorded. I arrived and dropped at MelGeorges shortly after 8 p.m. Monday the 4th.

Phil Rogers

Sorry, Phil! We'll make the correction. Must be a typo.

Carles Conill (Spain) Photos

Carles Conill, Spain

This is Carles' second attempt on foot and now at 24, he is the youngest man to ever finish the Arrowhead.

Link to Carles' photo gallery

Ski report from Phil Finzel

Phil Finzel, set new record time on skis

Hello, I want to start off with a quote, "If you think you can do a thing, or you can't do a thing, you're right." HENRY FORD

I used this event as training for a four month base building program. It was the beginning of the second month of the first phase of three phases over twelve months. I did not expect to be competitive in any way; I only had expectations of finishing. With that mind set, I put things on cruise control and took in the event. The conditions and temperatures were excellent for fast skiing. From my point of view, the race was run well and the support was great. I have no idea what it takes to gain access to a trail system like this, for such an event, but due to the lack of interaction with any authorities, I am guessing that all necessary arrangements were made. When a situation did arise, an evacuation or such, was quickly expedited. Which leads me to believe that the organization and handling of the event was professoinal and thorough. I liked interacting with all the other competitors and volunteers on the trail and at the check points. From what I can tell it seems to get better every year.

Keep it up! Maybe we will meet again.

Photos from Daniel Probst

Daniel Probst, foot category

Daniel ran with shorts during the "warm" day.

Here are links to his race report and photo gallery:

Daniel's Report

Photo gallery

Saturday, February 16, 2008

2008 Start & Finish line photos

David Heitkamp first recipient of Arrowhead Spirit Award

David Heitkamp

Who is tougher than the Arrowhead?

The first Arrowhead Spirit award was presented to David Heitkamp in 2007 to highlight his tough, positive attitude and undying spirit in the face of extreme hardship.

Spirit trophies may be awarded ad hoc to participants,volunteers, sponsors or spectators exemplifying exceptionally tough, positive, or heroic actions and attitudes during the Arrowhead event.

Nominations may be made via email to the Race Directors at

Thursday, February 14, 2008

D2G productions slideshow/video

Don_Gabrielson, 5th bike

Here is a link to a fun video slide show set to music by participants Don Gabrielson and Rick Mangan at

Great job guys! We were supposed to have some pros out there filming this year but they must have got lost out on the trail. :)

I would like to suggest we add the following music as theme song for the Arrowhead---

"Boulevard Of Broken Dreams"

I walk a lonely road
The only one that I have ever known
Don't know where it goes
But it's home to me and I walk alone

I walk this empty street
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Where the city sleeps
and I'm the only one and I walk alone

My shadow's the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
'Til then I walk alone

I'm walking down the line
That divides me somewhere in my mind
On the border line
Of the edge and where I walk alone

Read between the lines
What's fucked up and everything's alright
Check my vital signs
To know I'm still alive and I walk alone.....

Living Fast Blog Video

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Charlie's high adventure

Charlie Farrow writes a delightful account of the personalities at play in the Arrowhead adventure. Tough to follow though as Charlie apparently does not believe in rules of any kind-- not in writing, nor for safety (they lead to obesity).

Hey Charlie, don't you teach your students about paragraphs in Esko? :)
OK, much better now...I guess it is a work in progress.

Link to Charlie's Blog report Part 1

Go directly to his Blog for parts II and III--

Kid Riemer's Arrowhead report on Salsa Blog

Link to Salsa Blog:

Link to Arrowhead 2008 report on Salsa Blog

From I think I can't, to I know I can to done!

I documented my experience of completing my first looong distance adventure from the perspective of a person who came into the A135 thinking,,,"I think I can't" and was transformed into "I know I can". If your so inclined to read the attached 4000 words essay on my thoughts, you'll learn about the battle between the mind and the body, the beauty of the north woods in winter, adventure, digging deep, the spirit of the event, the brotherhood of the wilderness, a bond between racers out experiencing life, and the satisfaction of a job well done. It comes at you from a unique perspective, but then so does this adventure.

Gregg Pattison

(A few guys have encouraged me to let you post this on the A135 blog. Go ahead if you want).

Link to Arrowhead Ultra marathon 135 mile race report2008.doc

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Already planning for the Arrowhead 2009?

Found in today's newspaper in Maine & California--

Link to full SunJournal Article Feb. 10, 2008


For Sanchez, it's not about winning; it's about pushing. Farther and, secondarily, faster.

Which is why his 2008 goal is to take it all even a step (well, many steps) further. His plan for this year seems even rougher than last year - 26 ultraraces, including the three World Cup Ultra Marathons events (the Brazil 135, the Badwater 135 in Death Valley and the Arrowhead 135, from near International Falls, Minn., inland in the extreme northern part of the state, in frigid February).

"That's my next challenge," he says. "You've got to have something."


Don't even ask.

Lance Andre's Race Report Blog

A very thorough report by Lance Andre, organizer of the Triple D winter training event in Iowa.

Link to Saved by the Bike Blog

Doug Robertson's race report blog

Pierre and Cheryl,

Thanks for a great event this year. I had the time of my life!!

My race report is up at:
Link to PART 1


Link to PART 2


Pierre, Good luck in Alaska!

Doug Robertson

Thanks volunteers!

Snowmobiler, Mike Lessard of Ray, MN

We would like to thank all the volunteers for their exceptional assistance during the 2008 event. We had many new challenges this year and you all stepped up to the plate and took care of any crisis immediately as it occurred. This is the best crew we have ever had and we could not have succeeded without every one of you. Great job!

The snowmobile teams picked up racers in every section of the trail this year. There were minor medical issues in every section, so we are glad we had a medical technician at each checkpoint.

We also had a lot of support from our sponsors and local snowmobilers, local EMT/paramedics and spectators that notified us when racers were in trouble and allowed us to use their phones, equipment, donated their time and covered expenses, etc.

Special thanks to our volunteers: Don Clark, the "gear nazi", Bonnie Riley, Eric Gustafson, John Spartz at the finish line, Linda Dallman, Kathy Weix and Gene Curnow at Melgeorge's Checkpoint, and to the snowmobile crew: Reijo Vastila, Rose Kadera, Todd Gabrielson and his Artic Cat crew of Grand Rapids, Ron, Matt Long, Chad Parrish and several local people that helped on snowmobile to notify us of racers needing assistance.

We would also like to make special note of several heroic efforts by Mike Lessard of Ray, MN to save or assist people in tough shape. Also to Carles Conill of Spain, Kim Walsh and Angela that helped with Spanish/Portuguese interpretation, Thanks, you epitomize the spirit of the Arrowhead event.

We appreciate the extra support of County Cycles, QBP-Surly-Salsa, Steger Mukluks, Clif Bar, Ed at Skipulk, Brazil 135, Phil and Ellen Hart, the people at the Gateway Store; Carla & Steve and their Melgeorge's Resort and Elephant Lake Checkpoint; and Bob and Tess at the Bayview Lodge finish line at Lake Vermillion/Tower.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

2008 race report from winner Dave Pramann

From Monica Otero Brazil

Brazil Flag on sled


In the first place, I want to apologize for the email in Portuguese. What an incredible experience! What wonderful hospitality by the organization! Human warmth overcame so much ice.

I would like to thank everyone, Pierre, Cheryl, Carles Conill, all the STAFF, Kim Walsh, Phil & Ellen Hart, the young snowmobilers and those that helped me when unhappily I twisted my left foot. After walking many kilometers, supported by only one leg, and with the aid of two walking sticks, I lay down in the track in the wait of rescue. It was a difficult decision, I did not want to stop. I at least wanted to arrive at the first Check Point. I was beyond the unbearable limit of pain. Pierre, can count on me... I will be in 2009 to run the Arrowhead again!
A big hug and a thousand times obliged for everything,

Monica Otero

Dave Gray's 2008 race report

Below is a link to Dave Gray's Surly Blog where he wrote a nice report about his experience during th 2008 Arrowhead event:

Link to Dave Gray's race report

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Unofficial results spreadsheet updated

Bria Schurke, Record on ski, first woman skier and youngest finisher ever
John Storkamp, Record on foot

Once again the weather forecast was over-optimistic and for the fourth year in a row the event took place in under -20 degrees F. On Tuesday night/Wed. morning the actual temps sunk to -22 degrees F in Int'l Falls, so probably less in remote low spots on the trail.

However, during the first day of the course the temps had hit a balmy +35 degrees F and it was funny to hear racers complain it was too warm, sweating, and struggling to move forward through the mushy snow. Wet shoes eventually solidified into ice boots when temps dropped at night.

The second half of the course became faster and easier to navigate as the sub-zero temps hardened the trail surface. Contrary to previous years, there was no moon. So dark, the clear skies revealed what seemed to be many more large bright stars than usual. A few people heard wolves howling in the distance and noticed paw prints on the trail.

By Wed. Feb. 6th, we had 27 finishers of over 50 starters...our best percentage yet:

3 new course records were established-

FOOT M John Storkamp new course time: 40h 30min
SKI M Phillipp Finzel new course time: 36h 35min
SKI F Bria Schurke time: 53h 11min, First woman skier ever to finish, youngest finisher ever.

Note: Dave Pramann missed his previous bike record in 2006 by only 3 minutes.

2008 Race Results chart

Update from the finish line

Gary Johnson, UK, 2nd on Foot

More finishers times:
Dave Gray bike 2/5 10:42am Tues
Charlie Farrow bike 2/5 12:28 pm Tues
Dave Simmons bike 2/5 1:02 pm Tues
Spencer Klaassen bike 2/5 3:22 pm Tues
Josh Peterson bike 2/5 14:44 or 2:44 pm Tues
Lance Andre bike 2/5 4:15 pm Tues
Mike Reimer bike 2/5 8:50pm Tues

Phillipp Finzel FIRST SKI 2/5 7:39pm Tues

John Storkamp FIRST FOOT 2/5 11:32pm Tues

Ken Krueger bike 2/6 6:04 am Wed.
Gary Johnson UK foot 2/6 6:44am Wed.
Garrett Mulrooney foot 2/6 6:44 am Wed.

Congratulations, finishers!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Finish & Melgeorges final update 4pm Tuesday

Matt Maxwell, Myrtle Turtle Award

Finish line:
Additional finishers on bike today are--
Charlie Farrow 2/5 12:28 pm Tues
Dave Simmons 2/5 1:02 pm Tues
Chuck Lindner 2/5 1:07 pm Tues


Note: We heard Josh Peterson bivied (slept) out on the trail last night and is still out there.

Melgeorges checkpoint is now completed as of 4pm Tuesday:

Everybody has finally arrived at the Melgeorges checkpoint, dropped, or gone back out on the trail. Tonight's local weather estimate for the trail is -12 degrees F.
Andras Bucsinszky dropped at the Gateway Store.

The last person to make it to Melgeorges is Matthew Maxwell, the Myrtle Turtle Award recipient on skis. He arrived at 2:50pm on Tuesday.

Sean Brown is the last person to leave the checkpoint on foot for the finish at 3:35pm Tues.

Sarah Lowell left Melgeorges on foot at 11:32am Tues.
Bria Schurke left at 1pm.
Carles Conill & Patrick Susnik left on foot at 1:20pm

Michelle Santilhano left on foot at 2pm, hoping to make the 60 hour cutoff, but she intends to finish regardless of the cutoff. She estimates at 2 miles/hour she will arrive 9pm on Wed.

Scott Wagner dropped and was transported to Melgeorges where his ankle injury is being treated by Kathy Weix, volunteer Nurse.
Mitch Rossman was rescued by snowmobile and brought to Melgeorges.
Chuck Reginold dropped at highway 129 and walked back to the Gateway store.

News from Melgeorges checkpoint

No more news from the finish yet, but we have more arrivals and people spotted by the snowmobile crew.
Patrick Susnik came into the checkpoint at 10 am and is deciding whether to go back out on the trail.
Mitch Rossman on foot was picked up by snowmobile crew as a DNF and is safe at Melgeorges.
Carles Conill (Spain) just arrived at Melgeorges about noon a bit dehydrated but in good shape.
Bria Schurke arrived on skis earlier and is planning to go back out on the trail shortly.
Lara Sullivan biker, DNF at Melgeorges.
Eric Johnson is planning to go back on the trail as well.
Scott Wagner just dropped out at Melgeorges, cold but fine.

Sean Brown on foot , Michele Santilhano on foot and Matt Maxwell were spotted out on the trail about 2hours ago. Matt was back the farthest skiing about 13 miles to go....Myrtle Turtle Award candidate.

I hear a biker just left Melgeorges about 1pm. I suspect it must be Spencer Klaussen, but must confirm.... No, sorry. It was Ken Krueger that left at 1pm.:)

Gateway Store report:
Andras Bucsinszky is about 3 miles north of Gateway Store and will probably arrive on foot about 3pm? He will likely drop out there.

The weather is great, a little colder which is preferred by most participants as the trail is harder, faster when cold. Maybe -10 expected tonight in remote areas of the trail.

More news to come as we have time to update it.

Melgeorges drops

Richard and Laurie Woodbury bike DNF about 9am Tuesday.
Ron Kadera dropped 9am Tuesday at Melgeorges.

Gateway store news

Andras Bucsinszky just left the shelter this 9am Tuesday where he spent the night and is about 7 miles before the Gateway store. He was spotted by snowmobiler Mike Lessard from Ray, MN.

Thanks for all of Mike's help last night. He helped and rescued several participants.

Melgeorges update

Charlie Farrow left Melgeorges on bike 8:20pm Monday
Dave Simmons left Melgeorges on bike at 11:10pm Monday
Josh Peterson left at 11:37pm Monday
Chuck Lindner left on bike checkpoint at 3am
John Storkamp left Melgeorges checkpoint on foot at 4am Tuesday
Lance Andre left on bike about 4:30 am
Gary Johnson UK left on foot about 4:47 am.
Doug Robertson left on bike at about 5am.
Spencer Klaussen left on bike about 5:30am.
Phillip Finzel left on ski 7:24am
Garrett Mulrooney left on foot at 7:24am
Daniel Probst left on foot at 8:09 am
Pierre Ostor left on foot 8:12am.

Richard & Laurie Woodbury came in at 1:53am
Lara Sullivan on bike came in after 2am Tuesday
Ron Kadera arrived on ski about 3am Tuesday.
Bria Schurke still not in, but camping at shelter near Melgeorges
Jim Grijalva same
Scott Meyers arrived 6:41 am Tuesday.
Eric Johnson arrived at Melgeorges 7am Tues.
Ken Krueger came in at about 7:30am Tues.

No news on Sarah Lowell, Matt Maxwell, Carles Conill, Sean Brown, Mitch Rossman, Scott Wagner, Michele Santilhano or Patrick Susnick. They were all seen by snowmobilers late last night or early morning hours and were fine.

Finishers on bike as of 8am Tuesday.

Dave Pramann Bike left 7:49am from Start, arrived 11:37pm Monday at Finish.
Terry Brannick left 7:42 am Start, arrived about 1 or 2am Tuesday at finish.
Joel Cahalan started at 8:23 am, arrived about 1 or 2 am? (2nd place?)
Gregg Pattison bike started 7:47am finished about 7:45 am Tuesday.
Don Gabrielson, Navy guy, started 7:27am finished about 7:45am Tuesday

Drops Monday night

Monica Otero taken to hospital and released for ankle injury. She is at the Super 8 with fellow Brazilian Marcio Villar.
Jim Bodoh dropped at Gateway store
Rick Mangan " "
Jack Prentice " "
Alicia Hudelson

Chuck Reginold at Hwy 29 walking back to Gateway store.

Andras Bucsinsky slept in shelter all night still on way to Gateway store.

Other DNF's at Melgeorges
Phil Rogers
Patrick Skora went out to next shelter then came back to Melgeorges
Jim Reed needs ride to Intl Falls, Bodoh can take?

DQ's Jason & Andy Magness
Sam Salwei

Monday, February 04, 2008

More details

Names of 4 people on foot not reached Gateway store
Monica Otero Brazil
Jim Bodoh
Andras Buucsinszky
James Shipley

Charlie Farrow was in and out of Melgeorges 69 mile checkpoint about 7pm , too but I don't have exact times.

Bria schurke ski and Jim Grijalva bike were out of the Gateway about 3:15 and seen camping out this evening at the 2nd shelter.

The trail was soft today due to the mild weather but all racers look strong and happy.

Gateway store on foot/ski

Ron Kadera ski in 1:40 pm out 3pm
John Storkamp in at 3:10 pm out 3:52
Gary Johnson in 4pm out 10 mins later
Pierre Ostor in and out about 5pm

4 people were strong but still have not arrived at Gateway store and a snowmobiler was sent to check on them again about an hour ago.

Several dropped---
Pat Graupman bike
Rick Mangan bike
Marcio Villar- foot, was a little hypothermic so we sent him to Int'l Falls hospital but he is okay.
Jack Prentice foot dropped 7pm at Gateway.
Alica Hudleson ski dropped before Gateway.

Others are doing well. More details to come.

Arrowhead Start and status as of 9pm

The first biker Dave Pramann reached the Gateway store checkpoint mile 35 at 11:18 and left immediately. Several other bikers were not far behind as well as a swift skier.

First bike arrivals at Melgeorge
Dave Pramann 3:45 left 20 mins later
Terry Brannick 4:34 out 5:43
Joel Cahalan in 4:39 out at 6pm
Josh Peterson in 5:03
Gregg Pattison in 5:53 out 7:47
Don Gabrielson in 6:33pm out 8pm
Lance Andre in 6:43
Dave Simmons in 7pm
Skier Philipp Finzel in 7:19
Dave Gray biked in at 7:27