Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Arrowhead 135 DNF- frozen butt . 2014

Today I will back in 2014 and tell you about my 1 st experience at Arrowhead 135. DNF

I came to my 1st Arrowhead 135 with experience Tuscobia 150 (1 finish and 1 DNF ), Actif Epica (2 times finish) . But everyone talking around me about how hard the AH135

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 This video about RACE I love watch it 
 I have no idea what this race looks like.
And decided to go. Registration. Than preparation.

PART I Preparation
I had everything what I need. Dan upgraded my Surly Pugsley and now bike was not crazy heavy. 
Next thing - LIGHT! This moment is very important for the long distance winter race.
Every race I used different light. I made combination. You never know how long you will use light - because it is winter and this is mean: short daylight  and cold temperature.
Before I use Fenix , Petzl , BlackDiamond...

 I got gift from Dan  gift - Lupine Piko 4 Bicycle Light System - 1500 Lumins
+ Lumens: 1500
+ Run time: 1.4h-80h
+ 180 grams

When I packed my stuff I was thinking "do I have to take extra head light ?"  100 extra grams ?No !
( i will so sad about this moment  later) ...

 Now I have everything.
 International Falls - center  of endure race . Briefing, meeting with friends ( now I know a lot of racers - because a lot of them was at Tuscobia, at Actif Epica)...
I was a little nervous. 
2014 - was BRUTAL year about temperature -30 C (+) !!!! I know that this temperature is not joke.I was already a owner of 45North boots  I made my own over boots. This is system which we made at all my winter mountain ski trips in Russia.
This is what looks like this over boots and keeps your feet warm.

Women's division at Run|Bike\Ski was not big for 150 amount of all racers.
The race numbers and pictures said a lot about WHAT is this race about !

Before start was interesting to saw what kind boots people use.

 Everyone came inside before start, outside was REALLY cold.

 PART II RACE  Start... GO!  I realized 1 mile after start that I have too low pressure in my tires and made stop to put more air IN . It was hard to do it in - 30 .
Since was so cold the speed was not good . And I kept going

People passed me and I did same..  1st check point I got from 7,5!!!! hours. Dan took my picture .I do not rested here. 6 minute at checkpoint and I leave.

 Mostly I  rode close to Leah Gruhn and  her husband. We passed each other in different time. 

 Goggles  was terrible thing at the race. I do not recommended to have it. Only if you have super cool version.
 I do not know who took this photo some of my friend send it to me after race .


Than happened things for which I was not ready. My light was on my helmet ALL day long.
When started to be dark and it was a time turn ON light - mine do not worked. I learned physics at school ,but it was not my favorite lessons (sadly). And I forgot about things - if you have recharged device  you have to keep warm batteries (as I did it for my photo camera  battery)!!!!
My batteries was dead for cold temperature outside ((( 

 I was in the middle of woods... Leah asked me (when she passed me during I am standing and thinking what to do!?) what happened .
 I tried to keep going till the time when I could not see nothing... 

One guy passing me and asked "are you OK?"  I told him about light . And he said that he have extra one and GAVE ME ! That is was this race about. Sadly that I do not remember name of racer who helped me. This is what different between race in city and endure. OMG ! I was so happy and kept going.
But this headlight worked about 1.5 hours. And I do not have this size extra batteries (
Again. I am standing at the middle of woods try to keep someone of the racers. One of them gave me EXTRA batteries which worked another hour ((( 


 When light started to flash, reminding me that the  life was almost over. I started to looking for place for camping. I saw shelter and decided to stop here. It was snowmobile and guy who woke up and try to wearing his boots. If I good understood he decided to sleep  and made BIG MISTAKE - he do not put his 45North boots inside sleeping bag . If you know that boots they have insulation inside and when you ride insulation started to be wet , if you leave boots outside - this will be ice inside - what is way to get frostbite . DO NOT MAKE THAT MISTAKE. He asked help from snowmobile and decided drop off from the race. When he saw that I make  planning to sleep here - he said " It is cold!! It is cold!do not doing that" 
 The snowmobile driver asked me " do you want to  drop of ?"
"No, thanks. I just do not have light" 

One racer stopped and helped me. I try to make fire - but do not had ANY dry tree around. I started to freeze without movement. I tried  to blow my air sleeping pad , but do not have power (this is happened later with me on the cold temperatures again).I did as much as I can .. The racer helped me  to go in my bivy (what a people on that race!? always ready to help).
This was magical night.  You under millions of stars. I could not sleep - too much emotions. Almost every racer who passed  shelter asked " ARE YOU OK ?"  It was so pleasant..Time by time I looked time... Time run so slow.... After bikers I started to see  runners. Some of them was alone, some of them together.....  

Sometimes I looked outside on the sky... Sky was clear and full of stars.Beautiful. But cold. I feel that but butt was cold and turn from one side to another... 
2 more times snowmobile volunteer stopped and asked me do I want to be drop of  with him? NO )))

About 4 pm I heard that somebody coming to the shelter. 
It was legendary Roberto Marron . 
 I met him fist time at my 1st Tuscobia race. 
 He planned to make food in shelter. I decided since he have light I can packed my stuff and prepare for the movement .
I that time another racer Carla (legendary
CARLA GOULART who missed cutoff by 10 min. Crazy !!!)But it will be later. In that time she looks so freeze. Her hand was freeze. Roberto gave to her tea and I tried to warm up her hand ( she had so bad for that temperature gloves) . I put her hand on my belly (as my couch did with me in winter mountain trips) and warming up .

 My lovely picture Me- Roberto and Carla . 3 racer from 3 different countries Belarus-Mexico- Brazil helped each other at the brutal race .

I was ready to go. 1st hour I just walked by sunrise ...
  I remember every hill on my way.

   I came to the 2nd check point at MelGeorge only about 10 am . 
With that slow speed no way That I can come to another check point  by the dark. I do not have any works light. My mind fight with ambitions.. part of me want to keep going.... but smart part of me realized that without light I have to sleep outside one more night...

 I was surprised that racers could sleep at the check point ( my English was not perfect to understand this in the rules of race) . My thought that everyone can sleep only outside and check point only for the short rest , some food and water.

 My final decision was made after visit restroom . My butt was hurt and I looked at the mirror and realized that I got frostbite on my butt and that is why it hurt. This happened because as I told you before - I do not put enough air in the sleeping pad (((!

Since I got in by past frostbite of my face, legs, toes I know how it looks like and level. I got 2 level.
I was painful to sit ... I  drop off from the race NO WAY to go.  Health the most important.
Dan came and take me..
 It was bad feeling DNF ... I will thinking one more year about all this.. I will finishes this race in 2015 and 2016... But 2014 was good experience to me . 

MY results


154 Sveta Kovalchuk MN USA 01-27 07:00:00 01-27 14:37:00 01-27 14:43:00 01-28 09:54:00
Dropped at MelGeorge

My BUTT ( some peace of butt ) few days later after race  . Recovery took bore that month. Painful.
As resume I want to say:
1) Health the most important thing
2) You always have to thinking that you take with you your equipment and probably you will have to use it. The lightest is not the best. I will take only  Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol Mattress
sleeping pad now.
3) boots and over boots is very important thing
4) Light only headlight with extra batteries. 
5) You have to TEST all your stuff.

PS this could be interesting to  read about my  Arrowhead 135 ,2016 Tuscobia 150 . Part II. Dental abscess

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