2018 Arrowhead 135 Stories

The Arrowhead 135 is a human powered ultra-endurance marathon that takes place every year during the coldest part of Winter.  Participants have 60 hours to complete the 135 mile trek from International Falls to Fortune Bay Casino in Tower on the Arrowhead State Trail.  Racers are required to stop at three checkpoints (unless racing unsupported) that are spaced about 35 miles apart, where race officials can pull a racer due to frostbite or other medical concerns. Participants must run, ski or bike the distance with their sub-zero survival gear,  no outside help except from other racers or race officials and they must follow a strict set of race rules out on the course.

Image Credit: Christopher Tassava

This year's race saw Jay Petervary miss a course record by only a minute and take his third Arrowhead 135 title while Sveta Vold took first place both unsupported and overall for the women.  The extreme cold weather conditions were a contributing factor that had 56 of the 72 cyclists completing the race under the 60 hour cut-off.  I have compiled all of the stories, photos and news articles of  racers who chose bike propulsion pertaining to this year's epic race.  For full race results, click here.

Image provided by Sveta Vold

Race Participants:  Bike Propulsion

Ben Doom-2nd Men, 2nd
Sveta Vold-1st Unsupported Women, 1st Woman, 24th
Find your limits. Arrowhead 135

James Kiffmeyer-24th Men, 25th
James Kiffmeyer

Whitney Beadle-2nd Woman, 29th

Christopher Tassava-29th Men, 32nd

Travis Van Neste-30th Men, 33rd

Erv Berglund-40th Men, 45th

Jacklyn Carlson-Hayes-7th Woman, 54th
The Arrowhead Ultra 135 - 2018

Back of the Pack Racing-Multiple Racers/Results
Image Credit: Sveta Vold



Penn Cycle & Fitness
We've got Road, Mountain, City and Fat bike rentals at the ready. 
Take them out clean and bring them back dirty.


Bike Jacket First Impressions

Since getting my first tray rack bike rack (Saris SuperClamp) a couple of years ago, I have had the problem of road grime and salt getting all over my drivetrain, wheels and cables causing problems and corrosion.  I would have to immediately rinse my bike down with warm water as soon as I got home to prevent further damage.  There is now a new product called the Bike Jacket that eliminates this hassle and protects valuable wheels and components during winter driving.

Getting to and from the trailhead with your fatbike on a tray-style rack in snowy or wet road conditions can really make a mess of your bike.  Bike Jacket owner Amy Middleton had experienced this problem and came up with a solution for it.  The Bike Jacket comes in two sizes to fit most fatbike wheel/tire combinations.  Regular fits tires up to 26"x 4.5" and Large fits tires 26"x 4.5" to 27.5" x 4.5".

Studded tires could tear up conventional materials but Amy had this in mind during manufacturing.  Go ahead and put your studded tires in the Bike Jacket, it's durable lining can handle it.

Even with a suspension fork, the Bike Jacket fits. Simply zip the zipper around the wheel and and secure the hook and loop fastener behind the fork for a custom fit.

Protecting the drivetrain is key when using the Bike Jacket, it completely covers the wheel, cassette and front chainring from any road grime and salt.

As you can see by the above picture, both brake lights and the license plate are easily visible using the Bike Jacket. When covering your back wheel and drivetrain, make sure to secure the Bike Jacket using the hook and loop fasteners in a way so that it doesn't cover your license plate.

When not in use or after hosing off to clean, simply hang the Bike Jacket up to dry and store.

Fatbike wheels and components are expensive and the Bike Jacket is a great way to protect your investment.  Not only is it good for Winter but will also get plenty of use during the transitional periods during the Fall and Spring when the roads can get a bit messy.  The Bike Jacket is available from BikeJacket.net for $299.00 and can be shipped anywhere in the USA and Canada.

Disclosure:  Bike Jacket provided a sample to use for this article but offered no other form of compensation for this review.


2018 Minnesota Gravel Events

Rural Minnesota is home to quite a few long standing gravel road races and with the growing popularity of the sport, rides to introduce those new to gravel are beginning to pop up, too.  With varying terrain, minimum maintenance roads, elevation changes, great rural scenery and unpredictable weather in the Spring and Fall, these events are sure to be fun and challenging.  Almost all of them are free, but unsupported requiring the participants to be their own repair and support crew.

This season's calendar will include all types of  gravel races and rides from around the state.  Some of these have registration cutoff dates, have a rider cap, or more information and registration details that are yet to be announced.  Below is a list of all of the gravel events in Minnesota that I'm aware of in chronological order.  I will continue to update and add events to this post as they become available.  If you are a race or event organizer and would like your event listed here and on my 2018 Minnesota Bike Tours, Rides, Races & Events Schedule, please send me an e-mail.

Lakeville-Milltown-Lakeville-March 24, 2018
Harry's Cafe
Lakeville, MN
80, 40 miles
Facebook Event Page

Ragnaröck 105-April 7, 2018
Red Wing, MN
Postcard registration open November 24-December 30, 2017
105 miles

Mammoth Gravel Classic-April 14, 2018
Cyclova XC
St. Croix Falls, WI
100, 70, 30 miles
Facebook Event Page
Online Registration

Ride Like A Girl Cycling Gravel Series Ride #1-April 15, 2018
House of Coates
Coates, MN
35, 28, 25, 18 miles

Dickie Scramble-April 21, 2018
J.J. Tailgators
Elgin, MN
99 miles

Earth Day Gravel Grinder with Team Road Life-April 22, 2018
Imminent Brewing
Northfield, MN
50, 25, 10 miles

Miesville Fifty Six-April 29, 2018
Jack Ruhr Stadium
Miesville, MN
56 miles
Online registration opens February 1, 2018

Alexander 380-May 18-19, 2018
Spring Valley, MN
380 miles
Facebook Event Page

Almanzo 100/Royal 162-May 19, 2018
Spring Valley, MN
162, 100 miles
Facebook Page
Facebook Event Page

Le Grand Du Nord-May 26, 2018
Grand Marais, MN
120, 66, 20 miles
Online Registration (Opens January 6, 2018)

Riotgrrravel-May 26, 2018
Hope Lutheran Church
Hastings, MN
33, 20 miles

Extreme North Dakota Terrifically Intense Country Klassic (END-TICK)-June 2, 2018
Solem Lutheran Church
Hawley, MN
200, 100, 50 miles
Facebook Event Page
Online Registration

Westside Dirty Benjamin-June 9, 2018
Chaska, MN
Facebook Event Page

MN State Gravel Championship-June 16, 2018
Dennison, MN
90, 45 miles
Online Registration

The Day Across Minnesota (DAMn)-August 18, 2018
Gary, SD to Hager City, WI
240 Miles
Facebook Page
Online Registration (open 12/21/17 through 1/21/18)

Woodtick 100-September 15, 2018
The Woodtick Inn
Deerwood, MN
Facebook Page
Facebook Event Page
Online Registration

Hero Gravel Classic-September 23, 2018
Gasthaus Bavarian Hunter
Stillwater, MN
57, 36 miles
Online Registration

Heck of the North-September 29, 2018
Two Harbors, MN
100, 50 miles

Gravel Grovel 5-September 30, 2018
Jack Ruhr Stadium
Miesville, MN
85 miles

The Filthy Fifty-October 14, 2018
Stewartville, MN
52, 24, 12 miles
Registration opens March 20, 2018


Gift Ideas for Cyclists-Part 2

Now that the holidays are almost here, I have put together a list of some more cycling products that are sure to please the cyclist on your list.  Some of these items are new while others have been around for a while.

The Weatherneck System

The Weatherneck System is a 3-in-1 modular balaclava consisting of Mullet Hat and Facemask that has a variety of uses depending on the weather you'll be riding in.  The Mullet Hat covers the ears and neck and can be used alone for those days when only a hat is needed.  It also comes with a secret pocket in the back that is great for stashing cash or a chemical hand warmer and has a pony tail pass through.  The facemask has a unique mesh design that makes it easy to breathe during rigorous activity and helps prevent fogging of glasses or goggles.  Magnets in the facemask adhere to metal on the back of the Mullet Hat to combine the two pieces for use as a balaclava.  One size fits all and the metal/magnet positioning for the facemask helps achieve this.  Available from theweatherneck.com and select bike shops.

Yeti Rambler-18 oz.

The Yeti Rambler 18 oz. is a product that I used a lot last winter to prevent my water from freezing up while riding in below freezing temps.  This vacuum insulated container fits in a standard bottle cage and works much better than plastic water bottles especially when the temps dip below zero Fahrenheit.  It also keeps hot beverages hot for hours if you need a little warm-up out on the trail.  Available from Yeti, Amazon, Cabela's and other outdoor retailers.

Fork Cork

The Fork Cork is a new item from Miles-Wide Industries that is designed to fit in the hole at the bottom of a tapered steerer tube creating a secret storage spot.  With the Fork Cork in place it will create a water tight seal for storing items like money, gps bike theft tracker, a multi-tool, matches/lighter and many other small items.  Installs quickly and stays put.  Available from Miles-Wide Industries and select bike shops.

WSI Sports HEATR Baselayer

My go-to baselayer for the coldest weather Minnesota can dish out is WSI Sports HEATR Baselayer.  This specially engineered fabric actually warms up when skin comes in contact with it.  HEATR Baselayer provides excellent thermal protection and wicks moisture away from the skin to keep you warm and dry.  Pair this baselayer with a windproof breathable outer shell and you're ready for an all day Winter adventure out on the trails.  Shown in the picture above are HEATR Socks, HEATR Glove Liners, Full HEATR Shirt and Full HEATR Pant.  Available online from WSI Sports or at their Eagan showroom.

Hillsound Armadillo LT Gaiter

For the adventure fatbiker that likes to go where others don't, there's the Hillsound Armadillo LT Gaiter.  This gaiter features a waterproof/breathable upper, is contour-fitted and lightweight.  The zipper makes them easy to put on and the adjustable straps at the top and bottom make for a perfect fit with your boot.  Not only will the keep your legs warm, but will prevent snow from getting into your boots for those deeper hike-a-bike sections.  I also like to use them in the late Fall and early Spring when conditions tend to be a little more wet to keep my legs dry.  Available from Hillsound and outdoor retailers.

Gravel Cycling

If you have a gravel cyclist on your list, they will love Nick Legan's new book "Gravel Cycling: The Complete Guide to Gravel Racing and Adventure Bikepacking".  Nick writes about the gear, bike setup and tips to get you riding as well as profiling some of America's best gravel and bikepacking events.  Available from Velo Press and select bike shops.


Gift Ideas for Cyclists-Part 1

Now that the holidays are almost here, I have put together a list of some cycling products that are sure to please the cyclist on your list.  Some of these items are new while others have been around for a while.  I will have more gift ideas coming up in part 2 of this post.

Sticky Fingers Lever Covers

Sticky Fingers brake lever covers from Miles-Wide Industries have been a long time favorite of mine and now they have been redesigned for 2017 to make them even better.  They are made of silicon rubber for long-lasting durability.  I leave them on year 'round for a better grip of the brake levers in all kinds of weather.  In the Fall and Spring there is no more grabbing hold of an ice cold brake lever and when wearing gloves during the Winter my fingers hold tight to the silicone without slipping.  Fits any brake lever as they can be cut to the size you want.  Comes in colors Black, Blue, Clear, Gray, Neon Green, Pink and Red.  Available from Miles-Wide Industries and select local bike shops.

Park Tool PCS-10 Repair Stand
Park Tool's PCS-10 Home Mechanic Repair Stand is a great gift for any cyclist that likes to work on their bikes.  It features a cam-type clamp that allows single action clamping of tubes 7/8" to 3" and has 360-degree rotation.  Height of the repair stand can be quick-release adjusted from 39" to 57" and when your done working it can be folded down to 41" and stored away.   Available from Penn Cycle and other fine bike shops.

Bar Mitts Winter Bot

I came across the Winter Bot this year while talking with the folks from Bar Mitts at Interbike '17 and immediately knew this would be a great product for winter cyclists.  The Winter Bot is made from 5.5 mm Neoprene and comes complete with a plastic water bottle cage, screws, washers and an allen key for installation.  It will hold an average 20 oz. water bottle and has enough room for chemical hand warmers to extend ride time without your water bottle freezing up.  I have used it for a while now and its zipper with an extended pull is easy to open even with gloves on.  Commuters and fatbikers alike will love this product.  Available from Bar Mitts and local bike shops.

Brilliant Reflective Strips

Brilliant Reflective Strips are the perfect gift for anyone that rides after dark.  They are made with 3M™ Scotchlite™ Reflective Material tape that is highly reflective which come in stick-on (removable) and iron-on (permanent) packs.  The stick-on strips work great on helmets and bike frames while the iron-on strips are an option for cycling apparel to use bio-motion to be better seen.  Colors available are Red, Blue, Black and Purple.  Available from the Brilliant Reflective Strips website and local bike shops.

True North Basecamp Gift Certificates

True North Basecamp Gift Certificates make a great gift for the mountain biker on your list.  Located  in the heart of Cuyuna, guests can bike right from their cabin or campsite to the world class mountain bike trails of the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area.

The cabins are clean and modern while maintaining a rustic feel.  Amenities included heater/air conditioner, a full and three twin beds, table and chairs, plug in with USB charging ports, wi-fi, picnic table and portable fire pit.  Located just a short walk behind the cabins is the shower house with heated floors, showers, bathroom and changing area.  Campsite amenities include fire ring, picnic table, wi-fi, bike rack, bike wash and nearby vault toilets.  Gift certificates can be purchased from the True North Basecamp website and are personalized.


Thanksgiving Weekend MN Cycling Events

There are plenty of cycling events going on around Minnesota over the long Thanksgiving weekend to burn off those extra calories from your feast.  Join in on a social ride, mountain bike/fatbike ride or do some cyclocross racing.

Slow Roll MPLS will be celebrating Major Taylor's birthday with the Major Taylor Turkey Day 30K on Thanksgiving Day from the Dunn Brothers Coffee on Lake Street in Minneapolis.  Ride starts at 9am.  "Join us for a ride celebrating Major Taylor's birthday, life and the unity and spirit of our amazing community of bike clubs, businesses and bike shops that make this one of America's best places to own a bike. We will follow a course using River Road, the Grand Rounds, Cedar Lake, The Midtown Greenway. This is an unsupported ride other than coffee and water at the start. Please be prepared to support yourself and any youngsters that you bring on the ride. We will maintain a social, recreational pace. Our goal is to grow this into an annual event supporting communication, diversity, and youth."

Search and State and Angry Catfish will be hosting an 85 mile Black Friday Ride starting at 9am on November 24th from Angry Catfish in Minneapolis.  "We'll be meeting for coffee and donuts around 8:30 at Angry Catfish to roll out at 9:00AM sharp. If you have any shopping to do ACF will be launching their holiday sale so come early! This is a no-drop (unless you're really slow) group ride with some prizes for KOM's and town line sprints. We're going west to Delano and finishing at Surly Brewing in time for happy hour - with a mid-ride stop at Dave's Town Bar at mile 45."

The Joyful Riders Club and Freewheel Bike will be hosting their Third-Annual Leftovers Ride on November 24th from Surly Brewing in Minneapolis.  "We'll meet at Surly Brewing Company at 4 p.m., ride at 4:30 p.m., bike somewhere special at whistling pace, build a fire, and perform the ceremonial Burning of the Table. This is the perfect way to mash off all those mashed potatoes. Please bring snacks and drinks to share! And we'll probably head to Hipshaker Minneapolis after the ride. Dance it up!"

Touright Bicycle Shop will be joining in on the Little Falls Parade of Lights with bicycles for their Little Falls Lights on your Bike Parade at 5:30pm on November 24th.  "Meet at Touright, 124 2nd St NE, Little Falls at 5:30 to cycle over to the start of the route and ride with lights along the route! Following the Parade the first one is on the Bunny as we gather at Johnny C's Sports Bar !"

North Star Mountain Bike Guides will be hosting their #optoutside Social Ride on November 24th at 11am at the Carver Lake Park Off-Road Cycling Trail in Woodbury.  In the event of a trail closure the ride will take place at Lake Elmo Regional Park instead.  "Burn off the pumpkin pie with North Star Mountain Bike Guides. We will meet at Carver Lake Park for social, no drop ride. Roll out at 11:00am from the main trailhead."

The Pie Burner Thanksgiving Weekend Fatbike Ride started 5 years ago by my friend on the Iron Range, Joe Sacco. This yearly tradition will take place on Saturday, November 25th at 9am with the start and finish at Palmers Tavern in Hibbing.  "There is no registration for this ride, however there is a ride fee..... in the form of a donation to the Northeastern St. Louis County Toy for Tots Foundation. What's the donation?? New, unused, unwrapped toys, books/stocking stuffers and/or cash or checks are also excepted as donations!! Show up at Palmers Tavern, get your donations done, and we ride!! The ride will take you on a varied terrain, which is smack dab in the heart of Minnesota's Iron Range; terrain varies from four wheeler/double track, goat paths, long abandoned iron ore mining pits, with the Mesabi Trail connecting it all."

Larsen Cycle Racing and Hollywood Cycles will be hosting the last cyclocross race of the season in Minnesota, Cross Fer Tots on November 26th starting at 9am at Riverside Park in Cambridge.  "Race for free!! Bring a new Toy to donate for Toys for Tots is all you have to do. Come Join us, race yer bike, have some fun on this season finale for this great cause!! "


Get Phat With Pat Fatbike Races Scheduled for Sixth Year

Penn Cycle & Fitness will hold their annual Get Phat With Pat Fatbike Races for the sixth year at the Minnesota River Bottoms in Bloomington on January 20th and January 27th, 2018.  They are co-sponsored by and are a part of the Bloomington Winter Fete.

Both races will be held at the Russell A Sorenson Landing at the end of Lyndale Ave. S. in Bloomington, MN underneath the 35W bridge.  Registration will start and 9 am the morning of each race and closes 30 minutes prior to race start. Registration will require a $10 entry fee and also a $5 donation to MORC (Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists) which will help the non-profit volunteer organization pay for trail maintenance, equipment and fund their 2018 season.

Fat bikes (3.8” tires and wider) are recommended.  Spectators are encouraged and welcome!  There will be three race classes for each race day; Beginner, Recreational and Advanced.  The Beginner class race will start at 10:15 am, the Recreational class race starts at 10:00 am and the Advanced class race starts at 12 noon.  Distance and laps for each race class yet to be determined based on the course layout.

Start and Finish will be under the 35W bridge with the course heading west on existing trails and some new sections.  Lap will be a loop with one section of trail heading out and another heading back.  Lap distances and number of laps for each race class to be determined based on trail conditions.  An agreement with the City of Bloomington will allow many temporary sections of trail for the races.  The race course will be groomed and ready to ride one week before the first race.  Riding the temporary course once established is encouraged to pack down the trail.

Prizes will be awarded to the top three male and female finishers in each category.  There will be plenty of swag given away to race participants at the conclusion of each day's races.

Get Phat with Pat will not only be fun but the weather will also make it challenging as we have seen the past few years.  Thanks to Pat Sorensen and Penn Cycle & Fitness for organizing these races and the City of Bloomington for allowing them to take place at the Minnesota River Bottoms.  I'll see you there.  Check out the video below to see highlights from last year's race.

For more information and updates on the races visit the Get Phat With Pat Race #1 and Get Phat With Pat Race #2 event pages on Facebook.
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