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.

The Murky Depths of Winter
December 28, 2010
I broke down yesterday and got my indoor trainer set up. Originally, I was hoping that I'd be able to do all of my training outside in the cold and snow. However, I think the reality of the current conditions outside mean that trainer time is going to be necessary. Temps this week are getting warm, which means everything is getting very soft and wet in the day, freezing to sheet ice at night, and there is still a ton of snow everywhere so there are no shoulders or extra road width anywhere in the city. At all. Time is becoming an issue as well. I should now be riding every day. The trainer is the only way to get bike time every day. It's the final push now, ride a lot, train harder, get ready. Then ride more.

Sunday I was able to do three hours outside on a good trail - some of it was plowed but a big section was not and was just snow covered - packed in some places, 2 inches or so of powder in others. I didn't have time to go longer, but instead I did intervals and pushed the mukluk hard.

I received a number of gift cards for Christmas, so I'm in the process of figuring out what last, little bits of gear are needed or would be helpful. I'm debating about a front rack, but they are not set to be available for a couple of weeks yet. Still it might be handy and worth ordering... I have a list of a few other things I might need as well - new pair of gloves, water bottle insulation, vapor barrier socks, etc.

For the most part, however, its getting to be time to start circling the wagons with regard to gear and plan to go with what I've got. My frame bag showed up today, so this weekend might be a test fit of everything to date and make sure I have it all aligned - required gear covered, extra gear ready, places for everything.

Plan for this weekend might be something like ride for 4 hours with my gear, stop and make dinner with the camp stove, ride a couple more hours, sleep outside, then get up, eat breakfast and ride 4 more hours.

(Comic from Residue Comics)

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