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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.

Time To Begin
August 18, 2011
Its August, and that means I've begun training again for next year's Arrowhead. I'm not sure exactly when I committed to doing it again, but it's looking like (barring some unforseen situation) that I'll be at the start line again.

So I'm going to do training a little different this year, and hopefully it will help. I think I sort of peaked too early last year, or was doing too much too far ahead of the race. In looking at my total miles, I did the most in October, before the snow fell and a full 3 months ahead of the race. It was difficult to get the long miles in with all the snow we got, but I'm not sure that the difference between 400 and 600 miles in October really made that much of a difference.

In any case, what I've done for this month is basically just ramp up my total miles and start building up my riding muscle. Next month I'm going to start at a gym for real strength training. Then I'll be able to start riding the mukluk a lot earlier in the season than last year. I don't plan on doing much trailer pulling this year - I'd rather load up the mukluk.

With last year being the 3rd or 4th snowiest on record, odds are in my favor that there will be less snow this year making for better December & January outside training conditions. At least that's what I'm telling myself. Its been a wild, wild year for weather around here, so really, all bets are off. And not that less snow would necessarily change anything. *Some* snow is enough to make road riding/training dangerous, and dark is dark no matter how much snow is on the ground.

I know I said last year that I really should worry more about training and less about bike weight, and I still think that is good advice to follow. However, I would like to lighten my load, and I'm not talking about grams here, I'm looking to measure weight reduction in pounds. (Sorry for the mixed units...) I'm not sure exactly what form this will take, but everything is kind of on the table right now, within the boundaries of reasonable expenses. (I am not, for example, going to be buying a new titanium frame.) Right now, I have removed all the accessories from the bike, and I'm going to be evaluating first what basic components I might want to upgrade or change (i.e. should I remove the front brake, get new bars, seat post, pedals, or wheels). From there, its and evaluation of accessories and mounting options based on what I used or didn't use during the race.

I would also be nice to borrow some parts, rather than purchase them, since this is kind of a "one-time" event. But that might not be a real possibility, either.

Another area that i'm really looking at is efficiency. And by this I mean power transfer from my legs to the bike - i.e. how can I clip into my pedals. Being clipped in is a lot better for power transfer than not, especially on the hills, and I recall spending a lot of time in the third segment not actually attached to my pedals. The power straps were frozen making it difficult to get my feet in and out. So is there a way to get clipped in and keep my feet warm? I don't know yet. I could use the boot/shoes eric made last year, but I don't know if I'm willing to go there yet.

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