Saturday, January 31, 2009

Dumb stupid dumb head. Then, Arrowhead!

So there I was, sitting in bed last Saturday night. A long week and a long day meant that I was cooked and should have been asleep already. L slept next to me and Fang snored while draped across our feet. It was past midnight but my mind was atwitter with a handful of ideas, most of them AK-related. I'd been doing 'research' on these ideas (via the laptop) and had just closed down the last browser window in preparation for sleep.

For several months this little event in MN had been bouncing around in the back of my head. It has existed for a few years and has already created it's own niche in the creative subconscious of most long-distance racer nerds as an unpredictable and very likely brutally cold event. That last is what has kept it in the back of my mind.

So, trusty mouse at the ready, instead of closing the laptop I opened a new browser and started searching flights.,,, Travelocity, Expedia, Priceline, etc... In all I think I had ten browsers going, flitting back and forth between them while changing dates and arrival/departure times, all in what I knew to be an ultimately futile effort because I didn't have time to go to MN for a week. Part of the reason that I've not yet been up to MN for the Arrowhead is that it falls so close to the start of the AK Idita events. No need nor sense in packing too many on-snow events into a winter, much less a couple of weeks.

More clicking, typing, cutting-and-pasting, I was a model of efficiency. Kind of like playing with E-Trade or somesuch, keeping in mind that it was all a simulation and I was just checking for grins and giggles.

Note to self: A mouse is a dangerous thing. So is an ignorant nincompoop.

The prices were roughly similar whether I flew straight outta GJT (~3 miles away) or drove to Denver Int'l (~5 hours away this time of year). More clicking, tweaking of dates, tweaking of times, switch browsers, click some more, yawn, yawn again, eyes droop, snap awake. "Finish what you're doing and go to bed, ya dolt!"

So with a few clicks I'd closed the bulk of the browsers but one of them was asking for more info "To give you the BEST fares!!!" Not remotely cognizant that what I was NOW doing was no longer a simulation but the real thing, I entered the required digits and then clicked submit. I waited a few moments expecting the now-familiar sample itineraries and prices to pop up, but the next screen to load was different.

What's that it says? "Congratulations!"???

Wait, what's this? ""Your tickets are confirmed, here is your itinerary..."

Uhhhhh... Wait, what?

I read most of the way through it, then started over because (duh) I wasn't clearly processing everything I was reading. I'd just *bought* these tickets? Looking closely the info all seemed somehow familiar but...

...did I really *buy* them?

Had I read the fine print on I would have had no doubt about what I'd just done. I'd bought non-refundable and non-changeable tickets to Minnesota.


Suddenly, brutally awake, I read through more of the blasted fine print to verify that indeed I owned these tickets and there was no changing them now.


And then, like a runaway truck on an ever-increasing grade, all that needed to happen came rushing into my pea-sized brain: Rent a car in MN, finish sewing all of the snow-riding gear that's laid dormant since March, get hotel rooms, waterproof the sleeping bag, remember where the windproof undies are, mix up some freeze dried meals, build and ship 30+ wheels, dozens of tires, a few bikes, place a month worth of hub, rim, and shipping supply orders, etc...

And, oh yeah--the bike. In order to get it there in time it would need to be boxed up and in the UPS man's hands by Monday morning. Gah--that's 30-odd hours away.


Sleep didn't much happen that night, as I was out in the shop and down in the office throwing stuff into piles to help expedite getting it out the door. The bike did make it to UPS in time and was delivered after close of business on Friday night in Minneapolis. And now I sit typing and still shaking my head about my dimwittedness while waiting for a plane in Denver.


Long exhale... breathe innnnnnnn... outttt.





I'm still a thousand miles from the MSP airport and then I've got a 6+ hour drive on icy roads to get to the race start. Somewhere in that distance I'll make the necessary mental transformation and be ready to go. That's what I keep telling myself.

If you're so inclined you can follow along starting Monday at 7AM CST. Be warned that merely associating with someone so incompetent can lead to immediate and irreversible loss of IQ. The race website will be posting some sort of updates (link at top of page, or *maybe* HERE) as things progress, but since I'll not be remotely near the leaders you'll likely have better luck keeping track HERE.

Although I've been to MN many, many times and even lived in The Cities for a year, I've never been north of the Iron Range (dontchaknow) nor to the Boundary Waters. This event will essentially traverse between the two, providing a great opportunity to see a little of both. Yes, I'm starting to look forward to it...




  1. Roads are fine, hope the trail is too. See ya there.


  2. Charge the Arrowhead. Charge it for those of us watching from afar.

  3. Mike...I live here in the Twin Cities and grew up on the Iron Range.

    Just wanted to wish the best @ Arrowhead. Hope to be there myself next year.

    Also, hope your AK plans go well. I'll be following.

  4. i was reading an earlier post by you about starting your stove on idiasport race in ak. Have you thought about a tranga stove that runs on etoh. no pumps or primers. just a thought