Three days to race day. Nervousness is comfortably in my bones. The illness that I caught shortly after Tuscobia has mostly washed away, but left is the residual fatigue and fear that it might not be gone. My shoes all seem equally imperfect. My training is flawed. I have nightmares about being sick and having sore feet. It could be worse.
I was 8 miles into the race, and I’d just discovered my broken chain and frozen hydration hose. Things were not going well.
The bus arrived at the Rice Lake trailhead after two hours of meandering through the frozen Wisconsin countryside.
I had planned a much more elaborate pre-Tuscobia post, wonderfully photo documenting my gear, while also reflecting on my decision to bike rather than run the race. Yet, here I am, frantically packing the night before we leave for Wisconsin. So, that’s not going to happen. However, I will attempt a haphazard explanation of my decision to bike the race rather than run.
Mid-November made me look like a genius. My new fat bike was an unreasonably fun toy and sensible transportation choice, Tuscobia training runs were destined to happen every weekend, and my myriad of insulated clothing became highly appropriate dress for lounging around the house. Then spring arrived…in December.
Jared wanted to do some running in the woods for his birthday, so Friday we headed north to Duluth. We planned to camp on the SHT Friday night, and then run the Wild Duluth course on Saturday. This was an especially nice treat for me, since I had to withdraw from the race in October due to lingering issues from Superior.
I’ve had a fascination with winter endurance racing since I first heard about the Arrowhead Ultra several years ago. This was back when I was a cyclist, so I often spent my days imagining myself traversing the pristine north woods on my fat bike, nothing but wolf howls and the mind’s solitude-induced noise to keep me occupied. This never materialized.
I’m in the process of writing a longer post about my decision to run the Tuscobia 75, but for now, gear. I needed some cold weather gaiters for my Lone Peaks. Altra makes this a relatively easy task by equipping their trail shoes with a Gaiter Trap on the back of all of their trail shoes. Prototype #1 came out quite nicely using Cordura and scraps for lining.
The post-Superior malaise culminated in a moment of exquisite injury, illness, unfavorable life circumstances, and the slow fade of summer’s joys into dull shades of winter. The moment passed, the autumn reemerged very much like summer, my legs regained their capacity to run, and food began to taste like something other than vomit.