The Arrowhead Diaries: Part 5
First Incarnation and Training Rides
Still not cold here and no snow, but I have to keep on getting my body, bike, and gear ready for my first Arrowhead Ultra endeavor.
My lady likes to call me a hermit because I like to hang out in my cave in the basement. Lots of drilling has been going on down there as I try to make some big, wide, heavy wheels lighter. Some folks have said ‘Why don’t you just use lighter wheels?’. My main thought is that I want the extra floatation. I’m not a light guy and neither is the bike once you throw gear on it. Conditions could be perfect for a normal mountain bike with 2.5? tires? Or maybe it’ll be snowing and the bigger tires will the ticket? My goal is to be prepared and the bigger tires seem the best way to be prepared for either scenario.
Down in the basement, I’ve done a lot of sitting and just staring at the bike. Writing down a list of what I’m planning on carrying and wear it is going to go. There are rules as to what items we have to have with us at all times. And there is a minimum weight of 15 lbs for gear that we must be carrying at all times. That minimum weight isn’t going to be a problem. The real work is trying not to be too high above that weight as it adds up quick.
For instance, my Wiggys Ultima Thule sleeping bag, one man tent and fly in a compression stuff sack weigh 8.2 lbs. Well shoot, I’m past halfway to 15 lbs without even adding in the mandatory stove, pot, 8 oz of fuel, fuel bottle, 1 lb of butter, sleeping mat, tent poles?you get the picture. The next month will be filled with adjusting what I will carry and where it will go.
The first incarnation of my bike is together and I got out on a long training ride on Wednesday.
Since there isn’t any snow, I’m riding the gravel railroad access road when possible since it offers rolling resistance compared to the pavement. I did 5-1/2 hours, taking the railway from Minneapolis to Wayzata, then jumping on the Luce Line, a rails-to-trails that heads west. I took it out to Maple Plain and then came back the same way I’d gone.
I didn’t feel too bad Wednesday. But it was not the same challenge that snow will offer, nor was it a cold day, which will be an additional challenge. I’m looking forward to receiving my Evingson fork and racks so that I can get the bike fully loaded for the next seven weeks of training rides and preparation.
I’d like to thank my sponsors for this event!
Salsa Cycles. Yup, Salsa is helping me out with some of the components I need for my build. Yup, I work for them too. Better than the help with parts though is the fact that they are supportive of this endeavor and seem to understand how I’m having a hard time thinking of anything else! Our motto is Ride & Smile! I intend to do just that at the Arrowhead.
Surly Bikes. Surly is a sister company to Salsa in that we share the same parent company. The Surly guys generously offered me a special deal on the Pugsley frameset, Endomorph tires, and Large Marge rims. Thanks fellas. I love you too!
Evingson Cycles. Specializing in frames, parts and accessories for snow bikes and bikes that run big fat rubber. I’ll be riding with an Evingson fork and racks in the event. John is a Minnesota/Alaska guy although Alaska has got a hold of him right now.
Forty Below makes mountaineering overboots to keep your feet warm, along with other mountaineering products and bunch of beer insulators too. Mmmm?beer! I think I’ll have at least one beer following the event!
Take care. Keep your fingers crossed for snow and cold weather.
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