MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s a race so challenging less than half of those who enter are even able to finish.
The Arrowhead 135 Ultra is a 135-mile endurance race along the rugged Arrowhead State Snowmobile Trail from International Falls to Tower, Minn.
It’s held every January – the coldest part of winter in the coldest part of the lower 48 states. And it takes more than 30 hours – if you finish – without so much as stopping to sleep.
“This is one of the hardest winter races in the world,” Sveta Vold of St. Louis Park said. “Very often, you’re thinking, ‘Why am I here? Why do this? I will never bike again.'”
It’s an incredible challenge for anyone. So imagine doing it just seven weeks after giving birth – and stopping to breast feed your baby along the way.
That’s what Vold accomplished this week, when she pulled off something even Paul Bunyan would have a hard time doing.
But then again, as the mother of a 7-week-old baby, Vold is no stranger to sleepless nights.
“If you want to finish good, you need to keep going all the time,” she said. “You stop at the checkpoint, drink water, (eat) hot food, and keep going.”
Here’s the best part: Her husband, Dan, was tasked with driving little baby Yeva to the first and second checkpoints to meet up with mom for breast feeding along the way. She also took a portable breast pump with her and stopped several other times to pump along the wilderness trail.
“Nothing is more important than baby,” she said. “That is why I tried to find balance, keep my milk.”
She lost a lot of time doing it — 15 to 20 minutes each stop – but still managed to finish as the third place woman in 31 hours, 44 minutes.
She says she did it to show other women what’s possible. If she can do this with a baby, what can’t you do?
“If my story will inspire someone,” she said. “You can have baby, you can ride your bicycle, you can live your style of life, and nothing (has to) change.”