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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.

snow days
December 13, 2010
Well, it's probably a good thing I had already decided that the Tuscobia wasn't going to work out this year. While I thought it would be a great "shakedown" race, things are coming together a little late for being prepared.

First of all, weather kind of blew apart my training week. We have been getting so much snow its not even funny. It's been like one of the top 5 years for snow around here. While you might think that a lot of snow would be good for training for a snow race, the truth is kind of the opposite. Snow around here means stupid cars, narrow roads, ice, and a general lack of respect for cyclists. The main trail I commute on isn't maintained in the winter, thus I'm forced back to the roads. Roads are ok as long as its been a couple days since the last snowfall. If its actually snowing, the cars don't care about you. They won't move over an inch out of their ruts, and god help you (literally) if you slow them down further than the snow already has.

Basically, I find it very nerve wracking to ride after dark while its snowing, now that I can't use the trails.

Yesterday we were absolutely pummeled with over 17 inches of snow. The city is a total disaster. While I did see a couple of bikes out an about, I spent the day digging out. 5 hours running the snowblower and shoveling. My arms hurt.

Friday evening, right as the storm was starting, I decided to go pick up some boots. I'd pretty much settled on a couple of possibilities, and wanted to try some on. I first went to Midwest Mountaineering, but they didn't have the style in my size. So I trekked to REI, and after trying on like 5 pairs, settled on Saloman Toundra.

I like everything about this boot, especially the weight, with one exception - the insulation liner is not removable. However, for biking and for short events like the arrowhead they ought to work well.

That is kind of a relief, actually, to have a decision made and moving forward on that part. I wore them outside today in what I'd consider moderate activity at -1F, and no problems at all. Well, I should actually hope not. I need 30 more degrees out of these.

I also got the rack and my pannier fixed. Thanks to Old Man Mountain for their assistance and some new parts for the rack. The fit is a lot better now. Replacement parts of the Ortleib pannier were available at the Hub bike co-op.

So that is most of the gear, with the exception of the frame bag. The next thing to do is go through everything and compare it to the required gear list for the race. Then its going to be a test run in the back yard.

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