Arrowhead Ultra 135 Race Report
I had a good time up in International Falls, although I missed my family. Andrew (my oldest) turned 8 on Mon= day and it was hard missing his birthday. He was counting on me to bring him a finisher’s trophy. Charly and I just kind of hung out= and prepared our gear for Mon morning. Pre race check in went without a hitch and we were able to talk with= old friends and make new ones in the day leading up to the race. One of the nice things about this = race was how laid back and friendly everyone was. There was no sense of nervousness = or competitiveness.
On Monday morning we packed up and I drove to the start. The temp was -18deg F, but I felt = ready for the cold. I had trained in similar conditions and felt I had a good handle on the layers/gear necessar= y. The snow conditions were great. The pace was fast off the gun, but= I was so far back it didn’t matter. I was in cruise control the first part of the race, just riding along and if my legs felt any burning I backed off. I had the opportunity to rid= e with Lindsay Gould for a while. Li= ndsay is 61 years old and was on the 1972 Canadian Cycling team. A true gentleman, he is pretty har= dcore on the bike. We started chatt= ing and he dropped back due to some frozen hydration issues. The first checkpoint was at the Ga= teway Store about 30something miles in. Just before the store I came upon Charlie Farrow. Farrow is a legend in these parts.= He is the self appointed leader of= a gang in Duluth known as the “DBD”. His exploits are something out of a Krakauer novel. Farrow was ha= ving some problem with frozen toes. He passed me back for good at the store. I saw Chary Tri at the store as we= ll; he was heading out as I arrived. I grabbed a bowl of soup and some juice for a few minutes and headed out. While I was there another DBD̵= 7;er, Jason Buffington, came and went (on a non fat 29er!). He would continue on = to a top placing.
The second leg to Melgeorge’s is about 37 miles and is where the hills start. We are talking monster climbs, 50 yards long and as steep as a ski hill, one after another. My goal was to make the elephant l= ake crossing and to Melgeorge’s before dark. Temps started to drop to around ze= ro (from a high of about 5 degF). About 15 miles from the halfway point I came across a walking Charly Tri. He was having some breathing difficulties. He withdrew soon after. Once I hit Melgeorge= 8217;s I had a soup and sandwich, chatted with the awesome volunteers, and dried o= ut my clothes. There was a cute = baby there and that made me a little homesick.&= nbsp; No cell service. At th= is point I was tired, but having a really good time.
headed out for the long stretch (about 40 miles) to the last checkpoint.
The final 18 miles are pancake flat, just a path through the trees. The sun was up, and I was getting = tired, but being so close to the finish kept me going. Once I rolled in to Fortune Bay I = found where I was supposed to go, congratulated the earlier finishers, and took a pull of whisky from Dave Pramann’s flask.
The race was very well organized. The scenery was spectacular. I ha= d a disposable digital camera, but it froze and would not work. Everyone was friendly and supporti= ve and the volunteer’s were top notch. It was the hardest event I have done. Thanks to the Ostor’s for pu= tting on this event. The timing loo= ks better next year and I spent the last stretch making mental notes on some changes I’ll make for next time.&nbs= p; I look forward to seeing my new friends again soon.