Jerry Bilek is gearing up for the Arrowhead 135: a mind- and toe-numbing experience

Jerry Bilek and his Mukluk. Photo by Bill Nelson.Jerry Bilek and his Mukluk. Photo by Eric Johnson.Jerry Bilek and his Mukluk. Photo by Eric Johnson.
Northfielder and Monkey See Monkey Read bookstore owner Jerry Bilek is competing in the Arrowhead 135 this weekend.  As you can see from the photos sent to me by Eric Johnson and Bill Nelson, Jerry is going to use his Salsa Mukluk fat bike for the race. Other winter ultra-athlete racers compete on foot and skis.

Here’s a peek on what’s he’s in for:

MPR, January 27, 2012:  ‘Carnage’ a draw for some Arrowhead 135 ultra-marathoners

Frostbite. Sleep deprivation. Harrowing descents in pitch blackness. It’s all part of the strange allure of the Arrowhead 135: an extreme ski, bike or foot race in far northern Minnesota that begins before dawn on Monday morning.  It’s one of the nation’s craziest endurance races, and a huge challenge for participants.

Strib, February 9, 2011: 135 miles: Do or die

For the next three days, they will haul themselves and their survival gear 135 miles through Minnesota’s North Woods — from International Falls to Tower — in the most mind- and toe-numbing endurance race in the lower 48 states.

Trekking the equivalent of St. Paul to Iowa while dragging a sled behind you on 30-below nights might seem a sadistic death sentence to most. Relocate the quest to Minnesota’s most remote wilderness in the midst of a bitter winter — with rescue an iffy proposition — and you’ve got a race that’s irresistible to some. After all, it holds all your gear! In this buying guide, click here so that we can show you the best survival hacks, plus share tips on what to put into your pack.


  1. Ross Currier said:

    I would think that our recent weather has enhanced Jerry’s training program.

    January 24, 2013
  2. Tami Enfield said:

    Good luck Jerry!!!

    January 24, 2013
  3. Ross Currier said:

    So, anybody know how Jerry is doing?

    January 30, 2013
  4. Griff Wigley said:

    Ross, I don’t know what happened but dozens of bikers dropped out, including Jerry. See the 2013 results page.

    January 30, 2013
  5. Jerry Bilek said:

    I got caught in a snow storm. camped monday night and pushed my bike through 8 inches of snow the next morning until we made it to a highway and caught a ride from Peter Hark. I dropped out at mile 90 in Orr MN. nice town.

    January 30, 2013
  6. Jerry Bilek said:

    Griff, that article in the Duluth News Trib sums up the race pretty well. I got caught in the worst of the snow and it made riding really tough. fewer than 50 racers finished this year. I plan to go back next year and race again.

    January 31, 2013
  7. Ross Currier said:

    Jerry, to bring on that level of precipitation, you must have been scheduling the Taste of Northfield.

    January 31, 2013

Comments are closed.