Monday, February 22, 2016

Arrowhead 135

This is my first post. This is my another goal for 2016 (to make my blog on English).
My good friend Lara Long edited my post and help me with learning English

Well, a little rested and ready to write the report.
Arrowhead 135 (135 miles or about 220 kilometers on snowmobile trail) on the wild part of the state Minnesota - is one of the 50 most difficult races in the world of winter. Number of participants is limited (not more than 150 cyclists, skiers and runners). To register for the race you have to have experience of participation in the race for a long distance.
photo credit by

Burgess Eberhardt

Here is the elevation of our marathon

For me it was the third Arrowhead. Each year different.
In the first year of my participation in 2014, I called race «Frozen butt», the butteries is died in my headlamp. I had to drop off from the race in the middle of the route. But I was one of the few people who spent the night outside in minus 30 C, and due to a poorly inflated mat, I had a bad frostbite over my butt.

The second 2015 race I called "Diarrhea". At the first check-point, which was located in the store, I bought some prune juice. And then I started having terrible diarrhea during the remaining 100 miles. But this did not prevent me from coming 2nd among women.

After the race in 2015 race, I told my husband that I was ready to have a baby. A few months later, I got news that I was pregnant. The doctor said that the child would be born at the end of November ( Yeva was born December 3). I thought that I would have a chance to give birth and race in Arrowhead 2016. I would have time to prepare for 1.5 months.
From that moment I began to think about this. I went to work, rode a MTB trail, trying to keep fit. The last few months I rode to work for 15-20 miles every day. My last ride was the day before the birth of my daughter.

During pregnancy, I also ran, but not as a much as biking.

In September, I asked permission from my husband to register for a marathon. And he let me do it. I was very happy.

Since I gave birth a week later than the due date, then I had less time for my preparation for a marathon. Therefore, I left the hospital after 24 hours after birth. I went to my first training session one day after we were back home.

The whole body ached. My speed ​​was 1 mil
e per 15 minutes. I wanted to cry with such a result. It seemed to me that nothing could does not work; I was too ambitious, thinking that I could do this marathon.
But with each new exercise, I showed better results than the previous times.. I remember that was the first 10 miles. 2 weeks before the marathon I ran a half marathon with a stroller.
A few days after the birth, I began to train on the trainer in the basement. Sometimes I had to do it with my daughter in my arms, when she won’t sleep by herself.

Later, my husband began to stay with our child and let me go on training on the fat bike. I used every opportunity for training.

I remember well my first competition 5 weeks after birth. I came to train on mtb trail and saw that the competition will be held there. My husband allowed me to take part. 
As a result, I took 2nd place. It was unexpected for me. And this result had given me more confidence.
As for the logistics of the race, I came up with this. The plan was such: I take with a breast pump with me, and my husband with the child arrives at the two warm check -points and I breast feed the baby. I still had to find a breast pump, as my own was very heavy and it must carry it with me, as the race rules required that all personal equipment has to be on you. My Russian friend gave me portable breast pump.

Then I bought a variety of stuff to help my husband stay with our child: the heater for milk (one for hotel and one for the car) and other things.
At the time of race Yeva was 7 weeks old.
As soon as my daughter was born and when I could, I started pumping extra breast milk freezing it, so that we had extra for the time of my absence or any unpredictable situation.
The last week before the marathon, I was very nervous. I saw that 11 strong women were registered for the race. But I knew that I could not compete full strength because of my stops for pumping and feeding. Each stop was going to take 15-20 minutes.
The forecast showed that there would be warm weather. Someone cheered the news, but not me. I understood that there would be warm, and it meant that the trail would be warm and have a lot to go on foot.
Then the was evening briefing, meeting with friends from different cities and states. I love this special caste of people – of endurance style.
80% are permanent participants, people with big experience. And 20% is a novice and casual people. I call those
«casual» who come to this marathon one time in their life, so they could add it to their race book and never return again.

Yeva is in the arms of my friends - legendary racers Tracey and Jay P  of Salsa Team, these guys are very cool. Once again, they are the winners of the marathon (and I never doubt it)

We drove my oldest daughter to Dan’s mother in Two Harbor
, MN.
On Sunday morning, we went to register. I was registered. I rode 6 miles with all the equipment on the trail (to test) and realized how difficult it would be.
Besides had on unpleasant surprise; I had a broken spoke on the rear wheel. We’d not have tools. Dan put this spoke to another with a duct tape.
Night before I did not sleep well. Yeva woke up often and various thoughts kept me awake.

When I began pack for the race, I realized that I did not take the cycling shorts ... This was a big mistake ...

In the morning I went to the start. And my family stayed in a motel.


Before race I met my friends

I went with a good speed of 13 miles per hour, the first 1.5 hours, until the route allowed me to do. So then the trail started to be soft. I lowered the pressure in the tires. But I got it down too much and my speed had fallen sharply. I stopped to pump up the wheel – and I broke my pump ...
I had to go on a kind of flat tire.
I lost positions very fast. Well, okay. After 10 miles, I asked to use someone’s pump. I pumped up defined  the wheels and it had  gotten easier.
I reached the first check-point, after 5+ hours . My husband and baby were waiting  for me. I asked permission from volunteers to use the back room for feeding  my daughter. After feeding Yeva, I pumped milk, than ate hot pasta with meat, and rode on.
This marathon always has very positive and good volunteers.

Psychologically, it was easier for me in this year, because I knew this distance well.. You mentally divide
the distance apart ...
I rode part of the distance during daylight .. I stopped at the shelter for pumping. After a couple of stops for pumping milk started get dark. My milk was going less. Probably because I was getting dehydrated.. But I began to worry a little. I would not want to loose milk, because I raced in the marathon.

Then some wet fresh snow filled at  the second part of the marathon. I was not happy about that, my speed went down. The last 5 miles I walked a lot and  pushed my bike. Snow could  not hold the weight of me and my bike. During the second part of the route my bike computer and I became sad, because you do not know how many miles ahead. I asked the bikers I met, about the mileage and updated my computer.

At the second check-point  my husband and daughter were waiting for me. I was very tired from walking for the last few  miles with my bike..I fed my baby , pumped  my milk, and for the first time I used the "clothes dryer". Since I did have  very high expectations of the placement in the race I decided I could afford it. There was one racer girl already. Volunteers gave me  a hot cheese sandwich and a delicious chicken soup with wild rice (Minnesota dish). It was very tasty.
Photo by Tina Stiller

Dry clothes and a hot meal gave me straight. Two more girls shows up.. I saw Mark Scotch had already left. I also saw began to gather another Mark Seaburg began to leave.

I said
«goodbye» to my husband and daughter (next time I would meet them only at the finish). I knew that this was only half way.  Route to the 3 check point is the most difficult one. It was already dark. With the coming of night, the speed fell from prolonged uphill and the increased desire to sleep. I had to walk or ride very slowly. I did not want to eat and drink ,but I forced myself, because I knew the physiology and how human body works.

At 2 am I was very sleepy .. I rode past the shelter, where the skier was asleep. I asked him if he was well. I wanted to sleep. I pumped  milk and  moved on to the path. At some point, I closed my eyes ... When I opened them I realized that I was in the diteh.. I fell asleep for a single moment.
my bicycle.

At one point, I caught up with one guy and he began to rode in silence beside him. We did not talk .. just shared "ooh" and "ah" as we were  fed up with these hills).

2 times during the race, due to the fact that I wrong  change
в the gear my chain dot  "tightly" between the cassette and spokes. An incredible effort needed to pull it out stuck. I was afraid to make matters worse, because even before the start I had a broken spoke and it was only attached by the tape to the other spoke. I was no longer afraid to be alone in the woods, in the dark.
At some point the dawn broke out ...

The weather was terrible, sleet was coming down.
The last 5 miles to the  check -point were exhausting. At every turn  you're hoping to see the people and the check-point .. But they weren’t there. The guy behind me was visibly tired mentally.. and he was  just following  me ..
My big problem was that I had forgotten my bike shorts. Sitting on the saddle it was very painful. VERY PAINFUL. I realized that I had a problem called Saddle sore
And here was the long-awaited check -point .. and very positive volunteers. I drank a Coke, Christina (volunteer) told me that I was strongly support on Facebook and friends  want to «keep going» / strong moral support was important. I asked permission to express my milk in a teepee (where it was warmer).
I was offered coffee and Christine told me that  I was , 3 girl .. ????
 I thought that I was 4 th ..
she said, a 3rd.
But where was Pam?
She had droped off  the race ...
OK!!! I needed to go. I had a chance to be in the top three women .. 

So, I did  not finish my coffee and kept going . The guy who was riding with me at night went in front of me ... At some point I realized that he missed his turn. .He was far ahead (perhaps about 1 kilometer). I screamed with all my strength might at him, so he turned around and rode back ..

.... At this point, there was a great nuisance. In women after childbirth have such consequences, which are called incontinence(I spoke with the doctor before the race, and she said that small incontinence during training is normal for up  to 3 months after delivery of the baby)
At this moment of great fatigue my muscles completely relaxed and I (hate to say this) I just "leaked" .. That was so silly and stupid ...... at 33 .years old (((.
Here I stood before a huge hill .. I knew that after that it was very "easy" 25 miles ... I was wet .. I cried from resentment, anger at myself and at the situation in which I found myself. I had no spare pants .. I rubbed my butt to the bloody mess.
But I went. It was the most horrible and painful 25 miles in my life. I did not stop for the pumping milk anymore. By my calculations, I should have completed this part of the route in 4 hours ...
The last couple of miles .. I caught up to the guy I turned around from the wrong route. Many times he thanked me and went ahead.
Here was the last uphill.. Kind and smiling volunteers (volunteers were the best in the world) waiting at the finish line. So I finished ...

Nothing mattered any more. I went to get the equipment checked. I  found my husband and daughter and was happy. Finally, I was happy when took a shower and changed from the dirty, wet clothes.

Later it turned out that due to my "breakdowns" I had broken 8 spokes. Thank God was able to finish before they finally broke

My husband was the best teammate with me. He let me get my dreams.
My result 31 hour 44 minutes  (lats year less than 24 hours), 3 rd in women's category , 27- place   form 58 bikers who finished

PS long way in ahead about English (((
some articles 

Minnesota Mom Finishes Grueling 135-Mile Winter Bike Race – While Breastfeeding
To Carry the Day, Racers Must Fill Their Packs Carefully
Super Mom: Woman breastfeeds baby during 135-mile snow endurance race
 Super-Mom Crushes 135-Mile Winter Bike Race