Sunday, February 8, 2015

Winter Ultras - Part 2 - Frozen Otter

Amanda and I near the start

On January 17, 2015, I set out with a few of my fellow Flatlanders to tackle the Frozen Otter Trek, a 64 mile race in the northern Kettle Moraine State Park in Wisconsin.  The race is historically a tough race, with a 25% completion rate.  The race has a set of required gear that must be carried.  There is very minimal support.  Water, Coffee, Hot Cocoa and Ramen every 8 or so miles.  We were also given one hot sausage.  the required gear added a significant burden.  The forecast called for favorable conditions so I brought the absolute minimum.

The race consists of two out and back treks from a lodge in the park.  One is 46ish miles, while the other is 18ish.  To be an official finisher you need to make it to one of the posts and back to the shelter.  The finishers are then ranked by distance covered.  

To be one of the "Frozen Few" you have to make it through the entire course in less than 24 hours. 

The race takes place on mostly single track moderately hilly trails.  My watch got about 5,000 feet of climb in the first 40 miles.  I would guess the total was not more than 7,500 feet.  

Lucky for us, the temperature was very warm for that time of year.  I don't think it got below 20 and I think for quite a bit of the time it was around 30.  Cold wasn't a factor.  I didn't have to use any of my required gear.  The conditions were ideal.

Striking a pose with Mike Mike

That being said, this was no cakewalk.  25 degrees isn't 70.  Moreover, I've never done a 100K.  It's a strange distance.  In this instance having little aid was really challenging.  I found myself craving hot food and desperately craving coke.  I never realized how important it is on long runs/races!  I bonked a bunch.

I started with my friend Amanda Runion.  Our plan was to run the entire race together.  the other two friends we ran with, Mike Mike and chuck Schultz set off on their own.  We did see each other several times throughout the race.  With 9 miles to go Amanda, Chuck and I set out to finish together.

Amanda got cold because Chuck and I were moving so slow.  I mean molasses slow.  I mean like 45 minute mile slow.  Chuck and I have been in several bonk-bunkers before so we made the best of it....hallucinating the final mile with false identifications of the finish, followed by "that's not real" in unison.

In the end Chuck and I finished in 22:14.  I joined the frozen few and my name will be permanently added to the Frozen Few plaque.  Amanda was about a half hour in front of us and Mike was about a half hour behind us.  We all had a blast.  I would do this event again, but I did miss my sled.  I think I would prefer a sled pull event if given a choice.  If I do it again I'll bring a few cokes for sure!

Gear: I nailed the gear on this one.  I wore my Hoka Stinson Trails and did not change shoes at all.  Injinji mid calf hiking socks, shorts (yep, no pants at all), Act'eryx Stryka Hooded Base Layer and Arc'Teryx Gamma Men's Hoodie  Arc'teryx Phase II Liner Gloves, Flatlander Buff.  Black Diamond Headlamp.

Finishers Dog Tags and Buff


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