Minnesota on my mind.

So I’m in Minnesota until Monday, with no access to a bicycle. It’s a bit tough for me but at the same time, it’s good for me. My last post shared how much pain I was still in, so this weekend of drinking beer, sunbathing, and relaxing may just be what the body needs. I just need to remember to stretch in between beers. If I can’t bike I need to get my bike fix somehow. I decided a few days ago that I’m going to attempt my first fat bike race this winter. It’s quite fitting actually as the Arrowhead Ultra is in Northern Minnesota.

I figured I would start the process now as it’s going to take some time and money. This gear list is specifically for the Arrowhead Ultra and it seems pretty standard for an ultra fat bike race from my what I have gathered so far. I’m doing this so I can figure out how much stuff I will actually need, here we go.

MANDATORY GEAR (from race start to race finish):

  • Minus-20F degrees sleeping bag or colder rating. Colder than -20F almost all previous races. If you skimp here you are foolish. And we will not allow you to skimp. So do not skimp. Fool. 2011 it was -42F on trail. *I have a 0 degree bag, but that wont cut it. *Need to get a new bag*
  • Insulated sleeping pad. *Check*
  • Bivy sack or tent (space blankets/tarps do not count). – *Check*
  • Firestarter (matches or lighter). *Check*
  • Stove. *Check*
  • 8 fl. oz. fuel at ALL times (either gas, alcohol or 2 canisters of propane/butane 100 g. each or 12 Esbittablets). *Check*
  • Pot (min. volume is 1 pint) *check*
  • 2-qt (64 fl. oz.) or just under 2 liters, insulated water container. (Yes, Camelbacks count) *will need to figure out a way for the water to stay in liquid form*
  • Headlamp or flashlight. Suggest minimum ~100 lumen good for 12 hours/bike or 20 hours on ski/foot. *Check*
  • Flashing red LED lights, both on front and back of sled or bike (or on backpack if skier). Everyone have at least 10 square inches of reflective material on front and back of the person for this race. Two lights total are required, one on the front of the bike, sled or racer (runner or skier with backpack), one on the back of the bike, sled or racer (runner or skier with backpack). Each light must have minimum three flashing red LEDS. Keep ON ALL THE TIME. HIGHLY IMPORTANT….THIS MAY WELL PREVENT YOU FROM BEING HOOD ORNAMENT ON LARGE FAST-MOVING SNOWMACHINEs. *need to figure out, but not very expensive*
  • Whistle on string around neck to call for help, because your mouth is too numb to yell. *ohhhhhh Whistle*
  • 1-day food ALL times (3000 calories) (tip: pound of butter or jar of peanut bar 3200 calories). *I love food*

That’s mandatory gear, not all that bad. It’s very similar to the ITI (Iditarod Trail Invitational) which is the ultimate goal.


  • Extreme conditions mittens, head gear and outerwear. *need to get some mittens, already have my eye on some*
  • Down sweater, spare undershirt/socks etc.*mostly check*
  • Over-boots, Gaitors.*need to figure out aswell as different shoes maybe*
  • Duct tape, vasoline, sunglasses, lipbalm, moleskin, ibuprofin, etc.*check*
  • Map/compass/gps. Real outdoorspeople don’t need GPS though. Reflective vest good idea.*need to load GPX track and find a good map*
  • 5,000-7,000 calories of food, preferably items which remain chewable at way below zero and colder.*this is going to be fun, finding cold friendly food*
  • VERY IMPORTANT: Improved cell phone coverage especially on course highpoints makes carrying phone smart. Preferably off and in a warm spot to so it works, use for emergencies. *I love my technology*

This is obviously a basic list of what I will need, but I still want to keep it simple. I’m not going to get caught up in bringing gear I don’t need like I did on the Arizona and Colorado Trail Races.

I also need to get a Fat Bike, I have two in mind currently. The Surly Moonlander and the Specialized Fatboy. Both bikes have a wider tire width which is what I specifically want, especIally when biking in Colorado. I really like the Moonlander’s burly steel setup. It’s been around for years and has a good reputation. The Fatboy has yet to be released, and it’s a lighter setup. The new Specialized fat bike ground control tires are very intriguing. Bottom line, I’m going to buy the bike that is the least expensive, and I believe that will be the Moonlander.

Now back to drinking beer, and eating food! 🙂