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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.

Off-Road Adventure
October 18, 2011


Once, about 12 years ago when I owned a Land Rover, I drove about 3.5 hours from my house in order to spend several hours on an off-road trail with some other Rover-heads who I didn't know very well but found on the internet. We had to get out of the metro area where there were some logging and powerline roads. And this was not even a particularly rugged trail, seeing as only one of us had a winch. We left real early in the morning and got home late in the evening, and burned a lot of gas in the process. I do recall it as being a fun day, except for the one guy who mashed his door pretty good.

Last weekend, I had a similar, though amazingly more interesting experience. I (again) met up with some guys via an on-line forum, but this time I tossed my bike in the back of my car and drove 15 minutes to meet them. From there, we headed out on our off-road bikes, right in the metro on unmaintained but legal trails, for 6 hours of excellent off-road riding. No one had a winch, but we did have a rope which we used to haul our bikes up a 20-foot cliff (try that with a Land Rover). We crossed creeks and mud and sand and rocks. We simply picked up our bikes and carried them over obstacles too big to ride over. There was one section of a few miles that you *might* have been able to drive on, and in one place we did bump into a DNR ranger, but we did more than 25 miles and would have left any truck long, long behind.

For many reasons I'm glad to have moved beyond trucks and found bikes as a tool for outdoor adventure. The possibility and potential of bikes is far greater than any other vehicle type, and getting there with just muscle power is an even sweeter deal.

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