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.

First Ride
November 23, 2010
First ride.

I won't lie, I'd been fretting all week after the snow. I was getting seriously concerned about the status of my bike, even though I had no real reason to be concerned - the shop never promised them before November 20. But by Friday, Eric was here working on his presentation for Midwest Mountaineering, and there was a lot of cool and fun stuff going on which helped distract me a lot.

The weekend was great. We had a great party, met lots of cool people, saw some old friends, talked and generally had a fantastic, if exhausting, weekend. Eric's presentation was great, and there was just so much cool stuff surrounding his expedition that it was hard to be thinking about other things.

Come Monday, and back to work, I was again beginning to worry about the status of the bike. Sometime around midday the shop posted to FB that the bikes were coming in, so I gave them a call late in the afternoon and they said they'd get mine ready.

OH YEAH! It was finally going to happen. We had plans for dinner with Eric and his girlfriend Maria, but since we still had time Eric and I decided to run over to the shop together. I was nervous, and excited, but the shop guys were great and mine was the first one ready.

I paid, we packed it up and drove home. After dropping the bike off, we headed out to dinner. But by then I was beginning to relax. It was just a pretty big weight lifted and now I could get back to training and getting ready for the race. Eric and Maria had a show to go to later in the evening, so after getting home I brought it into the basement, took a couple of photos and just kind of looked at it for a while.


I couldn't ride it to work the next day, but I did have time for a later ride in the evening. I went out for about 90 minutes, after I mounted the lights and a couple other minor things.

I realized right away that I needed to recalibrate my sense of "fast" again. The ride was fun, the bike handles pretty good for its size, its more comfortable than what I remember the pug being like, and the seat was too high. But none of that really mattered. I had the bike and I was riding again. I rode over on the Riverlake Greenway to the river, went down past the falls (scaring a family of raccoons off the trail), over to Ft. Snelling (and down the really, really dark trail and worried about spooking a deer), then back around to home.

Oh and I over dressed. Again. This is something I need to get control of. I was pretty sweaty by the time I got home. Not good.

Here are my clothes details:

terramar base layer, top & bottom (light)
torrent pants
ibex shirt
black SD jacket
light balaclava
snowboard helmet
fleece gloves
OR mitten shells
200g slip on boots

Upper body was too warm, maybe could have done without ibex layer. Head a bit too warm as well, maybe open more vents in the helmet or switch back to summer helmet until colder.

[Photo: Me, Elisabeth and Eric at the "Save The Poles" party ]

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