An unidentified rider at the 2008 Arrowhead Ultramarathon (from arrowheadultra.com)
The Arrowhead 135 kicked off at 7am this morning with 61 competitors and riders on their way from International Falls to Tower, MN by any human powered means available (including mountain bikes). A quick check of the weather shows it’s -6 degrees about 4 hours into the race with snow forecast for later in the day. Nighttime temps are forecast to be in the negative teens and 20s but it’s possible some racers may finish before midnight (the course record is just under 16 hours).
The Grand Forks Herald has a great article about the race and profiles some of the competitors in this year’s race including one guy who spent the night sleeping in a snow bank to prepare! Most of the racers are riding Surly bikes to stay on top of the snow and to carry the required gear – sleeping bag, tent, sleeping pad, and stove with fuel plus at least 3,000 calories worth of food. The race is unsupported meaning riders need to carry everything they need to complete the 135 mile course on their own. In 2006 only 10 out of 46 racers finished due to temperatures in the negative 30s. Makes me feel like a complete turd for wimping out on riding when it’s barely below freezing…