On Sunday – 99 days before the race date – the organizers of the Arrowhead 135 released the roster of racers for the 2016 race, to be held on January 25-27.
Roster day is my fourth most-favorite day in the annual Arrowhead cycle:
5. Submitting my application each year.
4. Seeing the next race roster.
3. Seeing all the Arrowheaders on the Sunday before the race.
2. Starting the race.
1. Finishing the race.
After following the AH for about five years, having now raced it twice, and looking forward to a third attempt in January, I found this year’s roster especially interesting.
First, according to my review of the bike results from 2005 to the present, nine riders who finished on the podium in previous years will be racing again in January – six men and three women:
Jason Buffington (Minnesota; 2nd in 2011 but skiing in 2016)
Dan Dittmer (Minnesota; 3rd in 2011 and 2012)
Charlie Farrow (Minnesota; 2nd in 2009
Leah Gruhn (Minnesota; 3rd in 2012, 2014, and 2015)
Todd McFadden (Minnesota; 1st in 2013 and just 2s out of 3rd in 2015)
David Pramann (Minnesota; 2006: 1st in 2006 and 2008; 3rd in 2007 and 2010)
Jay Petervary (Idaho; 1st in 2014, 3rd in 2015)
Tracey Petervary (Idaho;1st in 2014 and 2015; 2nd in 2012)
Svetlana Vold (Minnesota; 2nd in 2015)
(I welcome corrections to this list!)
Second, none of the Alaskans who have reached the podium at the AH in previous years are apparently coming back to race this year: Jeff Oatley (1st in 2010 and 2011, 2nd in 2013), Heather Best (1st in 2011), Kevin Breitenbach (1st in 2012, 3rd in 2013), Tim Berntson (2nd in 2012 and 2015), Peter Basinger (2nd in 2010).
Third and interestingly, last year’s winner, Jorden Wakeley (Michigan), isn’t coming back to try to defend his title. (Or at least, he isn’t yet.)
In other words, the bike race seems pretty wide open! Place your bets anytime over the next 96 days. (Odds are very good that it’ll be snowy, somewhat less good that it’ll be super cold.)