Arrowhead 135 v2016: The Race, The Adventure & The Fiction

Arrowhead 135: The Greatest Race on Planet Earth.

That’s right. The Arrowhead 135 is The Greatest Race on Planet Earth. If you are into Snowbiking and Ultra Endurance Events. This is The Race.

The Experience:

The Arrowhead Race Directors, Ken Krueger & wife Jackie + All Volunteers, put on The Show. There is no larger assembly of awesome dudes & dudettes anywhere. The northern Minnesota hospitality can’t be matched. Won’t be matched!

Everyone at all the checkpoints were awesome. The Crew at Gateway. The Hut Keepers at MelGeorges. Jules and the Surly crew @ the Surly Stop @ Ski Pulk. And then, of course, the great volunteers at the finish and the hospitality room.

And then… and then there was the bottle rocket escort right out of Ski Pulk. That was awesome. Totally awesome!

And then there are the 160+ racers. I’m pretty sure you could call all 160 ‘friend’. I’m serious. Everyone one on the trail is cool, supportive. Everyone cheers everyone one. Not a single bad attitude. It’s just amazing. And then there are the experiences. Like The Morale Chairman walking & talking with big bad Irv for 5+ miles. Like I said – you have 160+ friends out on the trail. Yeah. 160+. Great to talk / hang with our friends Dan Vold, Super Freak Don & Hank & Aaron prior to / during the early stages of the race. (Don, contact me if / when you return to The Land of Enchantment. You have a place to stay… The BPR Palatial Palace.)

The Experience is why Back of The Pack Racing calls Arrowhead 135 The Greatest Race on Planet Earth.

So. I know most people have an attention span of… Ok. I’ll be realistic. I know most people don’t even understand the term ‘Attention Span’.  Social Media destroyed that concept. But for the few, like The Madre and Mad Rhino and a few dudes in the BPR Crew, I will give you a full blown rundown of The Arrowhead 135 v2016. And as declared via the title of this posting, I’ll give you insight in The Race, The Adventure & The Fiction. You group the details as you see fit.

Anyway. It’s time. This is a long one. So check your undies. kiss you honie (or homie) good night, get a beverage or two or a whole damn cooler… and start reading The History from BPR’s Hustorian.

Thoughts on The Race:

Wow. After my 1st 3 years I figured that I experienced all reasonable sets of environmental conditions. 2013 = big storm / rain / sleet / big snow / unrideable. 2014 = super cold temps. 2015 = new snow and moderate temps. So. I figured I was prepared and could take the next step from tourist on a snowbike to racer on a snowbike. Well, Mother Nature did it again.

Prior to the race the news on the street: little snow, the trail wasn’t exactly groomed, conditions would be tough.

I took that set of statements as there was little snow, the trail would be rough but with a groovy groove. (Maybe hardpack dirt?) And I translated this into F-A-S-T.

I had it all wrong. ‘Little Snow’ meant: not normal Minnesota snow. ‘Trail wasn’t really groomed’ meant: soft snow, not hard pack. ‘Trail would be rough’ meant: trail would be soft, rough riding, tough all the way around.

Even with the new set of conditions my performance was respectable – well, respectable in the world of single speeding. The biggest stress was self imposed. As I knew that I would finish. But finishing with a respectable time was my new goal. Not sure I met that goal. But in 51 weeks I’ll head back to International Falls to give it another shot.

So. 2016 provided a new set of conditions. Conditions that we all had to deal with. And in the snowbiking world environmental conditions will change the race… for everyone. Yeah. My education continues. And my educational opportunities will never end. I think.

So… you may ask WHY A SINGLE SPEED?

Yeah. Why a single speed? Simple. That’s what I ride. That’s how I live: (

More Info: The Single Speed Lifesytle is how we roll. It’s simple. A single speeder balances The Effort around The Threshold. During The Ride the Single Speeder hangs just below The Threshold. But on most hills, during sprints, during crazy track conditions, the Single Speeder is forced to either a) cross The threshold or b) walk. It’s as simple as that. And The Threshold is THE ADDICTION. The Threshold defines THE LIFESTYLE. And The Threshold is common element that brings all us single speeders together. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then…

…. then. what do you think about Runners? I think runners are the ultimate super freaks. Talk about one gear with NO MECHANICAL advantange. Runners at the Arrowhead. The Toughest of the The Tough. I have unreal respect for those one gear freaks.

Enough Said.

The Adventure:

The adventure started a day later then originally planned. The Morale Chairman’s work responsibilities kept the dude from leaving Thursday AM. (The past two Arrowhead trips included the drive spread out across 3 easy days. Not this time.) The Morale Chairman said “WE ARE Driving Straight Through. End of Story”. The Philosofizer said “Define the word ‘WE’, please”. So The Cross Country Adventure began and, believe it or not, The Morale Chairman drove straight through as The Philosofizer cranked out serious MATLAB code in support of The Algorithm, aka, The Code that is the foundation for The BPR Championship Series. aka The Code that keeps The Alternate Reality in check.

So we arrived in International Falls and headed straight to The Border Bar – where we met up with Woody for a night of chaos and ludacracy. And the rest of the International Falls events will stay in International Falls. Cuz this is a posting on The Race… not on the lead-up to The Race.

Anyway. This is how it all unfolded, how it all went down.

How ‘it’ Went Down:

Race Day. The start was 7AM. The goal was 24 hours of Pain & Suffering on The SingleSpeed Machine.

The Start was fast. The groove was good. A groovy groove. No chaos. No crashes. Just fast riding for the 1st 9 miles. But reality soon set in.

The Reality.  As stated above. An absurd goal of 24 hours was set. The goal was the ultimate pipe dream grounded in a fundamental requirement of hard a$$ snow. ok. the 24 hour goal basically required an ICE track for this phat Single Speed freak…

The TRACK: The Morale Chairman set a perfect pace for the 1st 9 miles. We were cruise’n and working towards The Goal. After the 1st 9 miles, as we turned east then south, the track conditions started to redefine the term ‘challenging’. The groove disappeared and the track because a pattern defined by Chaos Theory. It was chaos. It was hard riding. But I did the only thing I could do. Put my head down and turn the cranks.

The SOFT SNOW. The temperatures were mild. After the 1st 3 hours my average forward velocity was at the minimum threshold to achieve the goal. Which meant The Goal would remain a Pipe Dream for another year. If a fast pace can’t be maintained early on, in the easy flat terrain, then an acceptable pace will never be maintained in the hills. So it goes. The Goal was shelved. A new strategy was formulated. The Race went on.

24 Mile Meditation. At the 24 mile mark I stopped to reflect on a broken strategy. My 24 Hour Pace at the 24 Mile Mark was busted. But that was to be expected due to not-so-perfect snow & trail conditions. So I sat down and meditated. (Or something like that.) And I waited for The Morale Chairman. During the wait I decided that The Goal was not about 24 Hours. The Goal was about finishing with a respectable time. (So… define ‘Respectable Time’. That’s a tough thing to do.) So I had a brief conversation with The Morale Chairman, I jumped on the Black Sheep Snowroller and moved on.

The Freezing Mist. I’ve lived through in ICE storms. I’ve experienced ICE PELLET storms. But I’ve never been on a bike in freezing mist. Yeah. Freezing mist was a new form of environmental trauma that Mother Nature delivered. What am I talking about? Well, 90% to 95% humidity = freezing mist. All my gear was coated with a thin layer of ice. It was crazy. Well, crazy for this dude from The Great Southwest.

The Crashes. The Cold Snow. Holy smokes. Crashing on a snowbike ain’t exactly fun. Doesn’t hurt, unless you go barreling into the trees. But going head first into snow, wet snow, while drenched in freezing mist ain’t exactly fun. And then there are the pseudo crashes – when you put your foot down to stop and crash and then post hole. Talk about knee trauma from post hole’n.

Photo Credit. Super Freak Sveta Vold

Leap Frogging with the Reefer Boys. I left MelGeorges around 11PM. A few hard climbs, hike-a-SnowBike, were the 1st challenges. No problem. Other than overheating. Then the true chaos, trauma to the brain, started. I guess a bit after midnight the snow started falling and accumulating. Yeah. The snow piled up fast. A rideable trail was quickly transformed into unrideable. At least unrideable by us that were breaking the new trail. So. I was struggling with the crank revolutions – the revolutions weren’t happening. So I stopped for while, stopped for a bit. And then… and then I had a great idea. I’ll just s-l-o-w-e-d down and let the freaks behind me break the trail. Hell, that’s what gears are for anyway. Right? Gears are for breaking trail. Right? So. That strategy worked, for a few minutes. But I quickly realized that breaking the trail wasn’t that fun for geared dudes either. So the dudes would stop. I would stop with them. The dudes would ‘look’ at me. After a few uncomfortable looks I would graciously (?) take my turn. And this cycle went on for a few hours. It was kinda humorous. As I began talking to myself about these Reefer Boys who where challenging my strategy. Reefer Boys? You ask. Yeah. Ride in The Great Southwest and you’ll understand what I mean. Although I use the term as an observation to promote humor, not a characterization. (It’s a characterization in The Great Southwest.)

The Bivy Experience. So. During the long night slog through the snow I caught a dude and he mentioned that there was a shelter 3 miles up. The dude said he and his group would bivy up for a few hours… worn out. He mentioned that I could take a spot as the shelter was big enough for 4. Yeah. That was cool. But I said “Dude, I’ll keep going. Nothing else to do tonight but move forward.” The Dude said “Right on, keep it up”. Well, the thought was lodged in my head. After a few more crashes. After a few episodes of my eyelids slamming shut, after my wet feet when numb, I decided to cave in and embrace the bivy idea. as I needed to get my feet warm and my thoughts straight. Well. we rolled up to the shelter. One skier was already snoozing away. So…5 dudes in a 4 man shelter.. We’ll 4 1/2. I was kinda 1/2 in and 1/2 out. Anyway. My feet and hands warmed up once I was in my massive Feathered Friends bag. Wow. That was like a luxury CUDDLE experience all to myself – even though I was with 4 other dudes. (And, by the way, I must apologize to the dudes – as I have no ability to assembly and confine myself in the bivy without creating a ruckus. )

The 5AM Alarm. So about 2 hours into the bivy experience my f’n alarm on the iPhone when off. Hell! I thought I turned that processing machine off. Anyway. It took me 5 minutes to find the phone and turn the damn alarm off. 5 minutes! Hell. I hope the dudes were OK with Red Hot Chili Peppers- Don’t Forget Me. Embarrassed does not come close to defining how I felt. Sorry for waking the bivy dudes up. DUDES! I’M TOTALLY SORRY! Next time. I promise to have better tunes for the 5AM alarm. I already have a 2 Live Crew song picked out. No joke, jokester. (Back of the Pack Surveillance revealed that the cool dude was Mark Seaburg. Thanks for being cool Mark. Sorry about that damn alarm! I owe you a beer or a burger or something.)

The Long Walk. After the bivy experience I had 26 miles to the 3rd checkpoint – Ski Pulk. Yeah. The bivy experience was at 14.5 miles. the Segment from MelGeorges to Ski Pulk was 36.5 miles. So… 36.5 – 14.5 = 26. Simple math. Right? (This is a challenge.. I challenge you to figure out the math error.) Anyway. I left the shelter at 7:30AM and arrived at Ski Pulk at 2PM. That’s called The Long Walk with a few short rideable segments. Should I say more? Probably not. You need to experience it for yourself. You really do.

More Leap Frog’n. I caught a dude from Duluth. Yeah. The dude from Duluth. (We’ll call him Lad or Laddie… just because.) A few miles after I left the shelter. We started leap frog’n which would continue late into the race. Pretty interesting set of conversations. But the funny part – I never learned the dude’s name until I ran into his buddy in the hospitality tent. Yeah. The unwritten rules of the trail. Feel free to converse with fellow freaks. But there ain’t no reason to ask for names. That would get weird. Yeah it’s weird to bivy up with 5 dudes or Leap Frog for 8 hours. But at least I didn’t cuddle up and ask for names. That would be really weird. Dude.

The Long Ride In. After Ski Pulk the finish was in sight. Figuratively. a few hills. One big hill and then 20+ miles of hauling a$$ on the hardpack. Oh wait. After I told ‘Lad’ that we were about to the hardback – the hardback was softpack. Figures. So the 1st 15 miles from Ski Pulk where softpack The final 10 were fast. Either way. It was a long ride in.

The Finish. As with all great races The Finish is something a dude will not forget. Never forget. And at The Arrowhead finish all my buddies were there cheering me on. The Morale Chairman, Da Beard, Woody. And the freaks were there with beer. Talk about a finish that I won’t forget.

That’s the Story. Now for the NonSense

The Quote:

Steve -> The Ti-Machine: “You know Judd. The dew point is at 21F right now. And it’s currently 22F.:

Judd -> The Philosofizer looks confused.

JB -> The Front Man: “Judd, that means that you’ll have a rain forest in your jacket. Like in no time”

The Other Quote:

The Morale Chairman when he was picked up at Sheep Ranch Road: “I bet there’s other winter races out there that are F-U-N”

The Results – The Crew:

If you are focused, you’ll notice that I don’t refer to the actual finish place, i.e., 40th. Because I view the Arrowhead as I view the Single Speed World Championships: either you win or you don’t. And if aren’t the winner… you’re still a winner. As participation IS the victory that most of us are after. Confused? Ok. That’s cool.

The Results:

Judd -> The Philosofizer aka The Dude who Finished: A Finisher. 135 miles. 36 hrs 29min.

JB -> The Front Man: Bailed at Sheep Ranch road. Actually cruised down to the main highway, flagged down a stranger and waited in a warm pickup truck, waited for Dave, The Rescuer, to execute The Rescue.

TeddNeck -> The Morale Chairman: Bailed at Sheep Ranch Road. The dude put out a valiant effort – considering The SS Machine only experienced about 50 miles since Arrowhead v2015. Yep. That’s what responsibility does to a dude.

Sidenote: Let it me known  that The Morale Chairman also rolls out with the alias Corporate Tedd. Corporate Tedd is ‘that’ Corporate Leader that we all look up to. Corporate Tedd pulls off corporate stuff that us commoners will never understand. Serioulsy. We all should and do look up to the dude. I’m not joking. Jokester. So let’s just give TeddNeck, I mean Corporate Tedd, a high five for showing up and giving the Arrowhead a shot. Seriously. 

Steve -> The Ti-Machine: Lost the battle of mind and spirit early in the race. Still in ‘recovery’ mode due to the massive effort at Tuscobia 150, some minor oral surgery, a few trips to the doctor for bronchitis and serious stress caused by his 32×24 setup. (more on that later, or I’ll keep that on the secret page.)

Dave -> Da Beard: DNS. Lost a battle with some ice and concrete stairs. Placed on Injured Reserve List

The Results – That Alternate Crew

Kevin -> The Dude from East Grand Forks: He’s like (?) The ND Dude living MN. Which could make him an ND Prospect that lives ‘across the tracks’. Finished at 39 hrs and 6  min. If you do the math, Kevin finished at 10:06PM.

Leah & Jere -> Super Freaks: who call Duluth home, pounded out the hard miles and finished around 6:20PM. Strong effort for freaks that just completed the Tuscobia 150. Leah, GOOD LUCK in the Iditarod Trail Invitational. We’re cheering for you!

Woody -> The Dude who will Lead BPR Michigan. This super freak, veteran of Arrowhead & Iditarod Invitational, made a pre race stop at Urgent Care but still started the race. The freak made it to Check Point #2, MelGeorges, at 6:30AM on Tuesday. After walking 20+ miles through the night. The Dude called it a race.

Brian -> Super Freak Brian: a Michigan Inhabitant, declared at MelGeorges “I’m Done”. Next thing you know the dude crosses the finish line at 5:29PM. I guess we need to redefine the statement “I’m Done”.

Frankie -> another freak from Michigan. Frankie took a big tumble early in the race and called it a race at Gateway. Next year Frankie. Next year.

The Injury Report:

TDR. Enough Said. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about a) talk to a Embry-Riddle Rugby Player. That’s Embry-Riddle RFC, dude. b) talk to Steve The Ti-Machine. That dude may provide a definition. or not.

The Skin that Once Was. It’s well documented that previous Arrowhead Adventures resulted in serious a$$ damage. Well. This year didn’t produce AS MUCH damage. Yes, Pain. Yes, Suffering. And there was a massive set of skin that pulled right off the Taint and Cheek area during the post race cleanup. Ouch. Dead Skin ripping off The Body. (And I ain’t Talking about The Body.)

The Part of The Plan that WORKED:

Fitness. I started a serious / official training program via our BPR Colorado buddy – Tracy Thelen. Yep. Thelen Coaching provided 3 months of hardcore, science based training. So I entered Arrowhead v2016 in great shape. My Leg Strength: A+. My Mind: A+. Yeah, I was set physically and mentally for powering through the soft snow. And, in terms of fitness, I actually had some ‘left in the tank’ at the finish. Although my feet and skin issues made it all a bit unpleasant.

The Bike. The Black Sheep Snowroller was perfect – mechanically. No problems. The Titanium Beast did the job it was assigned.

The Lessons Learned:

So, the two most important elements of the plan held up. But, as in life, there are many lessons from this experience. Will I learn these lessons? We shall see.

Pogies: For the 2nd year in a row I rolled out without pogies. Not a big deal. 2015 was mild & no real moisture. Cool. 2016… hell. the freezing mist was NUTS! I survived. I really didn’t have any issues with my hands. But I had big a$$ gloves on, big a$$ wet & frozen gloves. I ain’t doing that again. My 2014 setup, super cold weather, included pogies and light wool gloves. Perfect. I’m roll’n out with that setup from now until the end of time. end of story.

NO Backpack: Damn. My one ‘setup’ goal for Arrowhead v2016 was to roll out with a hydration pack under my jacket – that’s it. NO BACKPACK. I failed. I decided that the moderate temps would allow me to roll with a backpack – no need to insulate water bladder in my jacket. But that opened up some dumb stuff that could fall into Pandora’s Box. I roll’d to the starting line with a massive backpack stuffed with a ton of extra clothes… and water. Never again. NEVER AGAIN!

Woody Water System: Dude. Woody roles out with a killer H2O system. Stay Tuned. I’m gonna take the UNION of my ideas and Woody’s setup and roll into Arrowhead v2017 with a wicked H2O and FEED ZONE setup.

Tire Pressure: Geez. I always roll up to the Arrowhead starting line with 10psi. SO DUMB. But hey. I’m all about reducing the rolling resistence. But it’s clear that I gotta dial it down the DAY BEFORE race day. Like 7psi. Or something. By the way, I’ll provide you with an equation for rolling resistence. If you are interested.

The USB blinkie: Dude. I packed away my AAA powered red blinkie for the high power USB blinkie. Nothing but f’n problems. I’m not saying another word.

32×20.  Dude. TeddNeck and I rolled out with 32×20, again. Yeah. That’s a wicked tall ratio for snowbike racing. But it kinda worked. And I kinda want something that works BETTER. So I’ll add one TOOTH and go with 32×21 in 2o17. I’m sure you have no idea what I’m talking about. But that’s cool.

Wet weather gear. I didn’t dry my hat & gloves at MelGeorges. I roll’d out with spare gear. But I need to figure out how to dry my hat & gloves at MelGeorges. How? Good question. There will be no dryer next year at the midpoint lodge – not that I’ve ever used race amenities. (Don’t hold my hand, but I may hold yours. Ha Ha.) Maybe we need to convince The MelGeorges Restaurant To Build a Fire. Maybe I just need more copies of the light weight wool gear. Maybe I just need to get comfortable with wet gear. A whole bunch of maybes. Huh.

The straps on the gear. It’s very hard to bivy up when cold hands can’t pull apart knots in straps. Knots in straps suck. Make sure your bivy gear / survival gear isn’t contained via knots. Dumb.

Turkey & Roast Beef tortilla wraps. Bad idea. For the 2nd year. Just gross to eat.

Tired eyes. How to fix tired eyes? Sleep the night before? Yeah right. Caffeine Pills? Snuff? (No way!). Hell. Tired Eyes are part of the game. I guess.

What would I do differently: 

There are Lessons to be Learned and then there are dumb decisions that are just… dumb. Below are my dumb decisions. And let it me known. Sometimes I don’t learn my lesson, but I never make the same dumb decision twice. Just say’n.

Consumable Food. I rolled out with 1 food element per hour. I almost held to that strategy. But I bought a variety of food elements. Bad idea. Cuz I like certain things and don’t like other things. I need to stick with what I like:  the Scratch Lab chewy things and the Honey Stinger chewy things. Not with variety. Variety stressed me out. Bit time.

3000 Calories – Survival Gear. My survival food, the required 3000 calories were peanuts + mixed nuts. This decision is based on survival. Peanuts and mixed nuts can be consumed in very cold temps. Peanut Butter  – not exactly survival quality if frozen. So… what is dense and won’t freeze and will actually be considered ‘survival’ food? I gotta work on this.

Less is More. Example. Batteries. I packed two extra sets of batteries for every battery field device – GPS / Spot / Lights. So that is like 10 sets of batteries. I used two sets. Brilliant. I need to rethink this battery thing.

Wet Feet. Vapor Barriers? Yeah. I need to investigate vapor barriers. I’m a bit concerned about the rotten wet skin effect. But maybe vapor barrier ‘things’ could solve the issues I have with my wet (sweat based wet) feet… which transitions to very cold feet.

What will I do for Future Arrowhead Races

At times, after finishing adventures like The Arrowhead, I think about how bad things could get, how gnarly the adventure could be, and then think about strategies for success.  So I have a few ideas for extra gear that could support game time changes to The Strategy.

But I’ll only discuss two ideas. Cuz I’m going overboard on words, characters, strings… in this posting.

Snowshoes. I’m still haunted by the failure of 2013.  ( We just had NO CHANCE of finishing the race due to bad decisions, a bad strategy and brutal wet weather. Wet = rain, sleet, snow. Lots of snow. But I’ve been thinking. If those conditions happen again, like in 2017, then we (we = us dudes at the Back of the Pack) should roll in with a different setup. This would include snowshoes and food for 60 hours. Yep. Turn the race into a remote bikepacking adventure. Kinda like our high altitude adventures on The Colorado Trail.(

Lights.  With respect to Less is More. I may try my Exposure lights next year. You know. The Lithium based, self contained, devices that create crazy lumens. I never gave it any thought. But JB, The Front Man, and Steve, The Ti-Machine, rolled out with their exposure lights. (And with a backup light or two.) It could work. Visibility is important. Lumens are important. Hell. What am I talking about. I just need to get a dyno hub and commit to technology… enter the 2nd decade of the 21st century. (maybe?

Hallucinations? Hallucinations:

Many people joke about The Hallucinations experienced during ultra endurance events. It’s kinda funny. Well, funny if you remember. The brain is an amazing organ. Totally amazing when it decides to screw you over with crazy visions. Anyway. This year I had a few bizarre hallucinations. Bizarre but funny.

Snowmen. All over. Yeah. No Joke. Once the night invaded the day – I started seeing snowmen. Everywhere. It was weird. Not creepy. As nothing creeps me out anymore. But weird.

Dudes & Dudettes floating / sitting in Trees. Hallucinations in the day are not the norm for me. But as I approached Ski Pulk I started to see all these dudes & dudettes, the dudes & dudettes I passed in the previous miles, sitting and floating in trees… in the distance. Yeah that was very weird, in a comical way. Like #37 -> Lynn Estes. I talked to that dude around 12PM. Then for the next 90 minutes I saw the freak hang’n in trees – although I passed him. Wild. Or Weird. Or Crazy. Or something.

The Data: 

If you’ve ever met me – The Philosofizer – you’ll know that I not only philosophize (sic)… I live in and live for data. I won’t go crazy this time. But below is the gps map and some gps data products that I created with my MATLAB Home code. Check it out. Send me questions. Or don’t.

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 6.23.40 PM

HeartRate (BPM) vs Time / Velocity (mph) vs Time

1-25-16 6-57-12 AM Arrowhead v2016_TSP_HR_Vel_Time

HeartRate vs Distance / Velocity vs Distance / Elevation vs Distance

*I know. A few of these Data Products plotted against DISTANCE don’t make sense… seriously Heart Beats per Minute versus Miles. Weird. But I can do cool things with data. Dude. So it all makes sense. Open your mind. At first it won’t make sense. Then when you think about how data is logged via the gps protocol… it’ll make sense. Or not.

1-25-16 6-57-12 AM Arrowhead v2016_3Plot_TSP_HR_Vel_Elev_Dist

The Observations of The Ti-Machine:

At the back of the pack I routinely encourage Dudes in The Crew to provide info for postings, create postings of their own, whatever. Cuz communication is key – key to something. Anyway. Below are a few paragraphs from Steve The Ti-Machine. I ripe’d these from our BPR Team page. Without permission. And…I modified a bit. Judd’s modifications are in italics, dude. (I wanna perserve Peace Love and Harmony by adjusting a few words.)

Alternate reality. While they’re fresh, lessons for Tuscobia and Arrowhead.

First The Philosofizer means business: he’s not going to be detoured by having to walk 100 miles; (whether it’s 100 miles of the 500+ miles of CT or 100 miles of the Arrowhead 135); don’t let the beer fool ya, it’s the algorithm that determines reality. If that doesn’t give pause, well nothing probably will, and you’ll probably be stuck on this planet.

Most – almost all – years Tuscobia and Arrowhead are endurance events (not races – unless you weigh 165 lbs or less). DK , Trans Iowa etc., could become endurance events, but most years they’re big mile events. Think seriously about whether you can hang with 3mph average (and it works best to have done this before the start rather than contemplating it 35 miles in). If so, know that a gear range or gear inches suited for the possible average of 4 mpg is required. NOT 9 MPH.

At Melgeorges,The Philosofizer left before 10pm, then three BPR Dudes crawled into sleeping bags on the floor of the room, crying in shame – one was eating cheese cake, anther snoring and the other lamenting being spanked once again by The Brother – because we could not muster the 3 mph average that was required.

Begin with the bail out cog – feet or 30 x 24 – if the temp is above 20 degrees to flog your self with reality.

If it’s not cold out, don’t make it cold by wearing clothes, at least too many. The algorithm and alternate reality are inseparable, I accept.

Full disclosure. The Founding Fathers totally respect The Ti-Machine’s view on The Alternate Reality. As The Dude has way more snowbiking expereince than us 3 combined. BUT 30×24? We GOTTA earn our street cred. But with that said… we’ll have a conference on ratios for Arrowhead v2017. Us Founding Fathers owe that to The Ti-Machine. (To Put It Another Way: Common Sense Doesn’t Make Sense to some of us. Just Say’n.)

A Million Thanks:

A million thanks to The Ti-Machine and Black Sheep James: a million thanks for doing ti-stuff. I needed a ‘fix’ on the Black Sheep titanium seat post. The Ti-Machine made it happen – coordinated the materials with Black Sheep James. It’s awesome to have great friends that do things like this. Yeah. Thanks a million dudes.


A million thanks to The Morale Chairman: the dude, aka Corporate Tedd, couldn’t leave The Land of Enchantment until the Friday before the race. The dude knew that I can’t keep my eyes open behind The Wheel. The dude knows that I can’t keep The Ford Pinto between the lines. So the dude drove an All Nighter – while I cranked on MATLAB code. Then after The Race the dude drove another All Nighter – while I cranked on MATLAB code. That’s all time, man. Some dudes are tough. And then other dudes are tough-er. A million thanks to The Morale Chairman for making IT ALL HAPPEN.

Final Observations of the Trip:

I love Minnesota. Maybe due to my entry into Planet Earth – I entered this planet through a Minneapolis based Stargate. Stargate? (Yeah. I have some alien in me. No joke.) So, aside from The Alien DNA there is a bit of Midwest in this Colorado boy. Yep, I dig the cold gray days. I dig the northern Minnesota vibe. And thus I always feel at home in Minnesota. Can’t wait to go back.

Final Observations…. The Alternate Reality:

The BPR Crew. The BPR Crew is a self assembly of like minded freaks that live The Lifestyle and promote Peace Love & Harmony (what?). It’s just amazing how The Crew consists of dudes and dudettes that span Planet Earth. And when a subset of us converge for an adventure – we all get along with brothers & sisters. There ain’t no strangers in the BPR Crew.

The New Crew. The Founding Fathers are always out there promoting The Lifestyle, creating chaos… it’s called Ludacracy. And where ever we go end up hang’n with the coolest of the cool. And this is how we build The Crew. What am I talking about? Nothing. I just get psyched with all new opportunities for BPR… like Back of the Pack Michigan Chapter.

Snowbiking vs Ice Biking. I’ve always said that Snowbiking is what drives me. I love the remote bike action.. in winter. But you know what. I think I would like ICE BIKING a bit better. Maybe next year Arrowhead will provide that ‘sidewalk’ of a track. Just for fun. Then again. What would be fun about cruising 135 miles in under 24 hours? The more time on the trail… the more stories. Dude.

Some Pics:

No Order. No Filter. No Nothing. Just a Pic Dump!

What’s Next:

24 Hours in The Old Pueblo

Arizona Trail 300

Dirty Kanza 200

24 Hours in The Enchanted Forest

Colorado Trail Race

Gravel World Championships

BPR Championship Series: 2016 Fall Race Series (more to come). link to the BPR 2015 Championship Series Review

Arrowhead v2017

Iditarod Invitational v2017 (fingers crossed!)

Some Videos… cuz:

cuz I’m stressed out

Hail Mary… Like I said… Like I said. It’s all about The Madre…aka Mary

and just because

4 thoughts on “Arrowhead 135 v2016: The Race, The Adventure & The Fiction

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