In 2005, Pierre and Cheryl Ostor organized the first ever Arrowhead Ultra 135, a 135-mile snow race from International Falls, Minnesota to Tower, Minnesota, that takes place on the Arrowhead snowmobile trail. They put the event on through 2010 before moving north to Alaska. Dave and Mary Pramann run the Arrowhead show now. This year's race starts this coming Monday morning.
I tried and failed my first Arrowhead attempt in 2007 and was taught a whole list of frightening lessons at 30 below zero, in the dark of night. In 2008 I tried it again, battled some ghosts and re-examined some emotional scars, and successfully made it to the finish line. Of course, I didn't leave well enough alone and in 2009 gave it another go…and fell short again.
I guess that makes me one for three.
Monday I'll give it another shot and try to even the score.
The Arrowhead has wormed its way into my brain I guess. And I haven't had much success digging it out.
During the past few months, the Arrowhead has occupied my mind. I've thought about gear, food, clothing, tires, pedals, footwear, pogies, stems, brakes, and countless other things for hours on end. It is crazy how quickly a six-hour ride can happen when your mind is pre-occupied with something you enjoy thinking about.
Each night now for the past week or so, I've pulled up the forecast for International Falls, hoping to get a glimpse of just what the days and nights ahead might be like.
It is perhaps a bit silly.
Because in the end, no matter what the weather is, I will be one of the small herd of folks heading off in the darkness, down a trail that eventually leads to Tower, wondering what the next day or two have in store for us, and what we will experience and learn during them. And the worm will inch its way a bit deeper.
What about you? Is there an event that has taken hold of you? Tell us about it.
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I love being outside. I prefer to ride on dirt. Or snow. If I was born a hundred years earlier I might have been a polar explorer. There's a great natural world out there to see, smell, taste, listen to, and experience. Life slows down out there and the distractions we've created will disappear if you let them. Give me a backpack and let me go.