We wrote for Tuesday's paper about the Arrowhead 135 -- an annual race in the dead of winter that starts in International Falls and ends in Tower, Minn. Participants cover 135 miles, and they have their choice of biking, running or skiing. Five people have completed at least one race doing each of the disciplines.
All of this is mind-boggling for most of us trying to escape the cold. The elements will do crazy things, and as of 5 p.m. Tuesday 92 of the 142 people who started the race had dropped out.
But 14 have finished, and the second-place finisher apparently had to go to extreme lengths to make it all the way. Tom Puzak was 8 miles from the end, on bike, when he ran out of water:
Puzak nearly became one of the stats with just a couple miles to the end. His water was gone, he could barely move.
But he had to pee.
He put some snow in a water bottle, unzipped and urinated inside. The slosh melted and made some liquid, then Puzak drank it. “It saved me,” said.
The Bear Grylls move got him back on his bike, pedaling. He’d been walking at less than 2mph, too weak to balance. But on the bike, in a granny gear, he could move at around 5mph, fast enough to finish without losing fingers and toes, just strong enough to stoke the fire that staves off hypothermia.
Think of that as you complain about the walk from your office to your car.