Once again the weather forecast was over-optimistic and for the fourth year in a row, the 2008 event took place in under -20 degrees F. On the second night the actual temps sunk to -22 degrees F in Int'l Falls, so probably 5 degrees less in remote low spots on the trail.
However, during the first day of the course the temps had hit a balmy +35 degrees F and it was funny to hear racers complain it was too warm, sweating, and struggling to slog through the mushy snow. Wet shoes eventually solidified into ice boots when temps dropped at night.
The second half of the course became faster and easier to navigate as the sub-zero temps hardened the trail surface. Contrary to previous years, there was no moon. So dark, the clear skies revealed what seemed to be many more large bright stars than usual. A few people heard wolves howling in the distance and noticed paw prints on the trail.
By the last day, the 2008 Arrowhead had 27 finishers of over 50 starters…the best finish percentage yet:
Three new course records were established:
- FOOT M- John Storkamp new course time: 40h 30min
- SKI M- Phillipp Finzel new course time: 36h 5min
- SKI F- Bria Schurke time: 53h 11min, First woman skier ever to finish, youngest finisher ever.
We would like to thank all the volunteers for their exceptional assistance during the 2008 event. We had many new challenges this year and you all stepped up to the plate and took care of any crisis as it occurred before it mushroomed out of control. This is the best crew we have ever had and we could not have succeeded without every one of you. Great job!
The snowmobile teams picked up racers in every section of the trail this year. There were minor medical issues in every section, so we are glad we had a medical technician at each checkpoint .
We also had a lot of support from our sponsors and local snowmobilers, local EMT/paramedics and spectators that notified us when racers were in trouble and allowed us to use their phones, equipment, donated their time and covered expenses, etc.
Special thanks to our volunteers: Don Clark, the "gear nazi", Bonnie Riley, Eric Gustafson, John Spartz at the finish line, Linda Dallman, Kathy Weix and Jean Curnow at Melgeorge's Checkpoint, and to the snowmobile crew: Reijo Vastila, Rose Kadera, Todd Gabrielson, Ron, Matt Long, Chad Parrish and several local people that helped on snowmobile to notify us of racers needing assistance.
Note: Dave Pramann missed his previous bike record in 2006 by only 3 minutes. We would also like to make special note of several heroic efforts by Mike Lessard of Ray, MN to save or assist people in tough shape, and to Carles, Kim and Angela that helped with Spanish/Portuguese interpretation. Thanks, you epitomize the spirit of the Arrowhead event.
We appreciate the extra support of County Cycles, QBP-Surly-Salsa, Steger Mukluks, Clif Bar, Ed at Skipulk, Brazil 135, Phil and Ellen Hart, the people at the Gateway Store; Carla & Steve and their Melgeorge's Resort and Elephant Lake Checkpoint; and Bob and Tess at the Bayview Lodge finish line at Lake Vermillion/Tower.