Wednesday, April 9, 2008
A Dream Without a Plan is Just a Wish.
The Arctic Grand Slam of 2008 is now complete!!! My dream has come true as I have finished all 4 races well under the cutoff times. 6633 deserves a blog that is all it's own. In a nut shell, it was the most difficult 120 miles I have ever experienced. Just past the first checkpoint at the Arctic Circle, my wheels fell off. Literally. We were required to have sled wheels as many sections of the road were windblown and required wheels for movement. I had to sit down with my tool kit and put them back on and they never fell off again. The difficulty of 6633 was due in large part to the weather, the coldest I have ever experienced at -52. Then, let's talk about windchill. Nick and I were on Wright Pass in the Richardson Mountains, the gateway to the Northwest Territories. While we were heading up to the top, they had to close the road. They only close it when the winds are in excess of 100 kilometers per hour. I was blown off of my feet twice and my sled rolled 4 times. It was exhilarating and scary all at the same time. At 1:50 a.m. on Monday March 17, I left the warmth of the DOT heavy machinery garage and headed alone into the moonlit night . The magic of the aurora borealis and very dramatic mountain landscape inspired me to run like I had never run before (while pulling a 30 pound sled.)I smiled and felt like I was running in a dream. The end of the slam was 50 kilometers away. I hit several unexpected ground blizzards and delt with very high winds and snowdrifts for the next 25 miles. When I was 2 miles out of Fort MrPherson the wind suddenly stopped. The sun was shining and for the first time in over 50 hours, I was TOO warm!! Off came my Parka. As I entered town, many of the kind Gwitchen tribal people stepped outside in the balmy -30 weather to clap and cheer. When i arrived at Chief Julious School I saw the finish banner and I wa so full of emotion. I had completed the arctic grand slam! I had no frostbite, no blisters, and so many great and challenging memories, it almost seems necessary to write a book and tell the whole story. It was an epic adventure and goal that I am grateful to have achieved. What an incredible experience it has been. Thank you to all of you who have shown an overwheling and consistent support. I appreciate each and every one of you.