Leadville Ain’t Got Nothin’ on The Arrowhead 135

Well, okay… That might not be true.  The Leadville 100 and the Arrowhead 135 are completely different races.  For some odd reason, though, I am more drawn to the Arrowhead 135.  It is a winter race in Minnesota.  Yah, it gets really freakin’ cold up there in the Winter, dontcha know? (Sorry to all of our Minnesotan readers).

Arrowhead 135 Winter Race

Seriously, though.  You need to check this race out.  You can do the race on foot, ski, or bike, and you cover 135 miles of snow/ice covered terrain in temps ranging from 15 degrees to negative 20-something or lower.  There is a 60 hour cutoff, and you are almost completely self-supported.  The only support you get is at 3 check-in stations (although one of them is a small tipi that offers little warmth or space) where you can warm up and re-stock your food and water.

To get a real feel for the race with some incredible photos, check out this guy’s race report.  It is an amazing write-up with incredible pics.  Another good write-up from the guy that took 3rd place in 2009’s race can be found right here (Note: He also competed in the ’09 Bonk Hard Chill and will be competing in the Chill again this year).

This year’s race is happening on Feb 1st through the 3rd, so I don’ t think we’ll be ready for that one.  What do you think?  Actually, I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready for this race – not only from a physical/psychological side of things, but from a gear/monetary side of things as well.

I checked out some of the gear these guys used during this race, and it gets pretty damn expensive in a hurry.  Some of the gear is pretty sweet, though, especially the cold-weather gear bags made by Epic Designs.  I would also need a new bike.  I would love to get a Surly Pugsley.

Isn't this thing sweet?

I think Moots makes a bike that uses the super-fat Endomorph 3.7 tires.  I haven’t looked into it, though.  I’d also need a new sleeping bag, bivy sac, and pretty much an entire wardrobe of cold-weather biking clothes.  Plus there’s the $200.00 entry fee, and the costs associated with getting there and back, lodging, and food.  On top of all of that, we’d have to train longer and harder than we ever have.  But other than that, I say we should do this.

Since I’m not independently wealthy, and we don’t have any major sponsorship deals – YET – I think I’ll just have to dream about it.  Maybe some day…  Maybe…  How about you guys?  Anyone else interested?

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About Lukas Lamb

Husband to a wonderful wife, father to 4 incredible kids (3 daughters and 1 son), adventure racer, mountain biker, runner, lifter of weights, reader of books, and lover of life. He can be found on Google+

Posted on January 11, 2010, in Upcoming Races and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. I am in. We shouldn’t over think this one. The goal is to finish, not win it. If we wait till we are “ready”, we will be doing this one from a lonely bedroom at the old folks home in Florida. I am in, I am in, I am in. This is a must for next year. Mark it off on your calender right now for next year. No excuses, no gear, no worries

  2. That is quite easily the best race report I’ve ever read. And the pictures!! when he was talking about sleeping out under the stars I felt like I was there, man.

    I’m willing to do this in 2011, if for no other reason just so I can buy a Pugsley

  3. Yeah, that race report was pretty damn good. I would love to do this race in 2011, and I’d love to buy a Pugsley. I don’t know what it is, but the race and the Pugsley just seem like the coolest things I’ve ever seen.

  4. Count me in too. How much is a Pusley? How much do we need to raise or save in order for us to make this thing happen for real? I think Zack really wants to do this, I definitely want to do it. In a couple of fights I might be able to make enough extra for me to do it. We all should pick up a few fights to raise money for this event. I’ll talk to my manager. Who’s really in?

  5. A Pugsley completely built is gonna run between $1500 and $2000 depending on what you want. The frameset alone will be around $600, but then you have to buy everything else to build the bike. So figure $1750 to be conservative.

    The entry fee is $200. It’s about a 15 hour drive for us in Jeff City, so the round trip drive is probably going to cost $400 or so. Lodging will probably be a couple hundred bucks. Food will probably be a hundred bucks if you go cheap.

    Gear for the bike and cold weather will probably be around $800 – $1000 before it’s all said and done.

    So the total is probably only $3500 or so. Not bad, huh? If I only feed my kids bread and water from now on, then maybe I can do it in 2015.

    But still… I really want to do it.

    EDIT: I forgot about needing a minus 20 degree sleeping bag. Add another 400-600 bucks to the total.

  6. We could have a car wash to help raise funds for the trip. You and Bob could wash cars topless and really work it for tips while rest of us collect hte money, dry, direct traffic, etc.

  7. If you could squirrel away $15 a week for the next 3 years you’d have $2340 which gets you within striking distance. If you could push it up to $20 it would be $3120, now you’re really close. Not to mention 3 birthdays, Christmases, anniversaries, Fathers Days, Valentine Days, and any other gift giving holiday to get much of the gear you need and bring down the total amount needed for the trip.

    Plus in 3 years time we will be ready physically and mentally having 3 more years of training and competition under our belts. Plus, we could have some bigger sponsor by then you just never know. Plus the kids will be older and easier to stay at home with the wives.

    Well, I can commit to squirrelling away $15 a week in a special “Dream Race” account and working towards this as a real goal. Anybody else in for the Arrow Head 135 in 2013 or 2014? Seriously…?

  8. Hey Luke, remember last year when we saw that Pugsley at the aid station where the old ladies were quilting?

    I wonder if that was the same guy?

    It all sounds very exciting, but I remember how cold it was in that cabin a couple weeks ago….

  9. Oh yeah! That had to be that guy’s bike. How many other people could have been riding a Pugsley at the Chill?

    You know you’ll do this race with us some day Bob. We just need the right equipment. That’s what I keep telling myself anyway.

  10. Don’t worry about the cold. Zack or I will be there to build a fire for you. So who the heck is in? Are you afraid to commit. You’ll have 3 to 4 years to get ready and save up. Let’s freakin’ do it.

  11. Guys, do not do this. Not to be a downer, but this is the type of event where you can easily end up dead or worse. Mike Curiak has done mucho winter riding like this including iditabike or whatever they call it so his perspective is not that of the average biker.

  12. Hey, Peat. Don’t you realize that we are Team Virtus and we fear nothing? Not even death! We laugh in the face of death! Just kidding.

    I had already checked out Mike Curiak’s other posts, and it’s pretty clear he is not your average biker. That guy is a badass.

    This is more of a “dream” race that we would want to do “someday” – if ever. I wouldn’t even consider just signing up and attempting this thing without extensive cold weather training over several years. And even then, I think we would run the race more as a team, sticking together for fun and safety.

    If we ever decide to pursue this more seriously, then maybe we can hire Mike as a mentor/coach. Hey, a guy can dream, right? And maybe you can be our endurance coach?

  13. Thanks for your well intended words of caution. We dream big and then eventually transpose those dreams onto more obtainable, level appropriate races. This dream race most likely won’t ever come to fruition due to time, money, and family constraints that most of us face. In another world or at another time possibly; but for now in this world not likely.

    I think it’s doable but, like Luke eluded to, would take years of preparation and training. You can’t go into something of this magnitude half assed. We would have to have the proper gear and training before even really considering this race. I think some consulting with Curiak before attempting this would be advisable.

    Peat – Hope you follow our teams progress and achievements. Good luck to you in your endeavores.

  14. Let’s concentrate on the possible for now.. Syllamo’s Revenge.

  15. A good winter biking blog is http://arcticglass.blogspot.com/

    She’s done some major snow rides and just for kicks ran her first ultra.

    Incidentally, Minnesota people are crazy. We call off school when the windchill dips to -15. That’s when they have their kids do inside recess.

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