Sunday, January 29, 2012


The town of International Falls has been informed of the race (though the start day is wrong)

It may seem a bit odd a title for a post about a race that has me pulling a sled filled with a gear that includes a -40 sleeping bag, a stove to melt snow, 1000s of calories of food and clothing options to deal with a variety of weather conditions. However, there is a certain simplicity of purpose that comes with participating in events that require a degree of self-sufficiency.

I'm looking forward to being out on the trail for the better part of 3 days, my main focus simply moving forward, eating and staying warm. Given the current weather forcasts, that last is going to be much less of a concern than in most years. The latest upates call for the coldest temps only in the teens with highs dipping up above 30. In some ways that can complicate things a bit more than sub-zero temps where all that matterss is warmth. If it dips above freezing, it can mean slushy snow and the potential for rain. It also means that I will need to figure out the right balance of layers to keep from building up too much heat and sweating.

My sled is all packed, though I'll still make some minor adjustments today. I ditched some of my wamest clothing options, but I am still probably keeping more than I need. My Gore-Tex jacket and thicker rain/snow paints may stay in the sled the whole time, but if the wind kicks up or the icy-rain mentioned in some of the reports comes to fruition then I may need to swap some of my planned outer-layers. Also, I can't bring myself to dispense with my expedition-class down jacket. Even if it is 20+ degrees at night, that can still be damn cold if you're standing still. It may also allow me to take a nap in one of the trail shelters without pulling out my monster sleeping bag.

No matter what, it is going to be an adventure, life ditilled down to its necessities. I'll have my SPOT tracking device on so people can follow along (link is below). I just need to remember to reset it every 24 hours so nobody thinks I was eaten by wolves. I have until 7pm on Wednesday to finish the race. With any luck I will finish the race earlier in the day though I expect to take at a minimum 50 hours to find my way from International Falls to Tower, Minnesota.

SPOT link here


Jill Homer said...

Sounds like you have everything dialed in. I like your plan for the intermittent weather. I always feel concerned when people take "warm" winter forecasts too literally because they can turn out to be anything but, especially if there's any kind of wet precipitation. I was far enough back in the biker pack to witness the hypothermia carnage among some of the less prepared runners and skiers during the rainstorm of Sustina 2006.

But falling ice could create some great running conditions if a nice ice crust forms on top of the snow. I'm excited for the race to start so we can watch your SPOT move across Minnesota. Don't let the wolf tracks on the trail get to you. I'm pretty sure only one runner has been eaten by wolves in all the years of the Arrowhead.

Good luck!

Matt Maxwell said...

How was your time at Arrowhead? I must have been in the hospitality room when you finished (based on your time), but I don't remember meeting you. Looking forward to reading about it!