Often described as one of the toughest bike races in the lower 48 states, the Arrowhead 135 challenges even the most prepared riders. This is a journal by a non-athlete's participation in an event where starting is often just as much a challenge as finishing.

September 21, 2010
I am a worrier. I fret over details and things that are not in my own control.

Today's subject is the delivery of my bike. Rumors are swiring about the internet that, like some previous Salsa releases, demand was greater than expected for the Mukluks and they won't be able to deliver all the bikes that were ordered in November. That being said, I don't know how they plan to deliver the ones they can, or how the bike shop would distribute what they get (for this, I assume first-come, first served, meaning I'm #10 on the list at Angry Catfish).

My shop said they ordered 18. It may be that Salsa will ask how many of those were presold, ship those, and not the rest. It might be that Salsa will ship *some* to as many shops as they can, or they might ship to shops on first-come as well.

Whatever, as I said, there really is nothing to do for it, except wait and see if the bikes are delivered on time, and hope that they are, or do whatever training I can on what I have and hope they arrive before the race. If not, I drop out, or more likely Eric would drop out and I'd ride the pug if thats and option. He would prob say its more important for me to do it them him, but who knows.

I also worry about all the other "stuff" I'll need, and when / where to get what I don't have and what I really need and what is luxury and what am I forgetting? Should I order it now or wait?

And am I training enough / properly?

Will I pick the right tire pressure?

I think i'm just at that stage where there is a lot of work to do before the race, but there is still quite a bit of time even if it doesn't feel like it. 4 months to go.


In the category of "mental training", there was an interesting article in the NYT today about the value in exceeding your own expectations about this sort of event. By that I mean the sort of event where you show up at the beginning, look around and ask yourself what the hell are you doing here? I'm sure I will feel that way at the starting line of the Arrowhead.

My own goals for this race run something like this:

1. Finish. Simply put, just complete the course. I know this is a bad way to enter a competition, its sort of increduluous, I feel, to enter a race with no intention of winning. If you enter a competition, you should be prepared to compete. However, we know from marathons and many other actual races that most of the pack is there for the "personal challenge" rather than as a competitor. Some of this to simply put oneself in a compeitive situation and be measured against others with a set of fixed parameters. Eric told me he likes the idea of a competition because you can't just "back out".

2. Not finish last. Further to point one, actually attempt to be some kind of competitive, even if its just a race to second-to-last. I'm not as concerned about this as I know from the past that some people only ride in the daylight or take up to 48 hours. I'm not really planning on doing that. I worry that if i stop for too long I won't go again.

3. Time 1: sub-36 hours. This is a 14-6-16 pattern, 14 hours day 1, 6 hour rest, 16 day 2. Time 2: 30 hours, 12-6-12. I'm not really going to hope for better than 30, as the numbers don't really work out. I'm not sure I can maintain speeds high enough to do it faster.

If I were to meet or exceed any of those goals, I'd be pretty satisfied...

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