ARROWHEAD 135 by Jim Reed
Feb 1st to the 3rd 2010
The 2010 Arrowhead 135 started in the Town of Interna= tional falls this year, it was cool (-20 F) clear and calm. The skate skiing conditions were pretty good i.e. good glide. As usual at the last minute I = had thrown on some extra layers of clothes and within the first hour when the s= un started to come up I had to start taking off layers. Skiing was going really well and I was feeling good. At about mile 16 I took a wrong turn or more correctly I went straight when I should have gone right. This was a change = in the route from last year, I was following the old trail. I only went about = 1/2 a mile before a course official on snowmobile came up and corrected my mist= ake.
Course conditions continued to be good, I occasionall= y took my skis off and walked for a little while to use some different muscles. At about 4:30 PM I reached the 1st check point Gateway store about 38 miles in= to the race. I stopped there for about an hour, Ate and drank as much as I cou= ld stomach and refilled my water bottles and back out onto the trail.
Up until Gateway the trail is pretty flat after Gatew=
trail starts to get pretty hilly so the pace slows considerably. I found it=
worth while to conserve my energy and take my ski's off to walk the up hills
and ski the flats and down hills. And in the middle of the course boy are t=
some hills, hills that are scary to ski down in the day, frightening to ski
down in the dark and occasionally I would even WALK DOWN the hills. =
It was a clear night the stars were out and about 9 P= M the nearly full moon rose in the east, it was a beautiful night. Finally at abo= ut 11:30 PM I reached a trail shelter (a 3 sided lean to) at 58 miles into the race and about 13 miles from the 2nd check point at Me= lgeorge's Resort I stopped and bivied for the night. Even though I was in the sleepi= ng bag for about 4 hours I think I only slept for about 2 hours. My socks must have been a little damp and I couldn't get my feet warm and the ground was reall= y rough.
I got up Tuesday morning at 4AM and was back out on the trail by 4:30 AM. The skiing= was pretty poor in the mornings I think we were getting hoar frost overnight an= d it would ruin the glide till late morning. All my water had frozen by this poi= nt and I didn't want to stop to melt snow because I thought I would get to cold so= I pushed on to Melgeorge's checkpoint #2. I got t= here at about 9AM and found 3 other skiers (Mike, Tim and Matt) there that had passed me during the night. I ate and drank all that I could force down aga= in (My thanks to the volunteers there including Anne Flueckiger) and was back = out onto the trail by 10:30AM.
I skied= and walked all day, the skiing was pretty good in the middle of the day but aga= in the hills were really tough and I would walk up them. During the day I pass= ed all the other skiers. About 7PM. I'd had enough skiing and put my running s= hoes on and went out at a whopping 3 miles per hour for the next 5 hours. Matt Maxwell (another skier) was with me most of the evening. Again the night was clear and the stars and moon were out, you could really feel the temp get colder especially when you were down in the spruce bogs. We arrived at the = Tipi checkpoint at about midnight, got some hot soup at the Crescant restaurant and climbed into the sleeping bag at about 1AM.
I got up at 5AM on Wednesday and was on the trail by = 5:30. The trail conditions had gotten really bad overnight (no glide at all) I wo= uld ski to get my body temp up and then would have to walk to rest because skii= ng was so hard. Again 2 other skiers had passed me during the night (Matt had = bivied with me) and I again passed them during the da= y, I saw Mike S. (another skier) bivied on the side = of the trail. This last 19 miles is flat the whole way twisting and turning through the biggest spruce bog I've ever seen.
With about 2 miles to go you turn off the Arrowhead t= rail onto the hilly Fortune Bay resort spur trail and finish at the resort. I was totally exhausted since I wanted to finish while skiing and there was no gl= ide. It felt great to finally sit in a chair in a warm environment. I only had a chance to rest for about 1/2 an hour before Anton came looking for people to fill the van for a return trip to I falls, so it was back to action loading= up my gear into the van, than I found myself sitting on top a pile of gear with two bikers in the back of the van for a 2 hour trip back to I falls, the fun just never ended.
My than= ks to all the volunteers and especially Pierre and Cheryl for putting on such a g= reat event. I met a lot of other great and crazy people and had fantastic time.<= o:p>
Official finish time 52:47:00
Avg minutes= per mile overall 23.5 =3D 2.5 MPH
Avg minutes= per mile when you subtract time spent at checkpoints and b= ivy's 17.9 =3D 3.35 MPH