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Otley cyclist completes 135-mile ride with frozen goggles
An extreme-biking enthusiast from the district has become the first-ever European woman to complete a gruelling 135-mile bike ride across Northern Minnesota, in the US.
Jane Chadwick, who lives in Otley, finished The Arrowhead 135 in 34 hours and returned to the UK to tell a tale of -50°C temperatures, frozen goggles and mind-over-matter endurance.
Recognised in the book The World’s Toughest Endurance Challenges and with an average finish rate of only 50 per cent, the Arrowhead 135 takes place in the coldest part of winter in the coldest city in the lower 48 states.
“I have been snow-biking for three years,” Mrs Chadwick said.
“I have committed a lot of time and money into racing fatbikes in various locations around the world.
“However, preparing to be physically and mentally fit can be very hard work.”
Not content with basking in Arrowhead completion glory, two weeks after her return, Mrs Chadwick flew out to Finland to compete in the Rovaniemi 150.
This 150km Arctic winter race takes bikers through the wilderness surrounding the city of Rovaniemi, and the course is a mixture of frozen rivers and lakes, tacks and forest roads.
“Comparatively, the Finland race was much easier,” Mrs Chadwick said: “At the lowest, temperatures were -2°C and I was able to ride 18 hours without a stop to complete it.”
While these back-to-back feats of endurance may seem extreme to an average peddler, Mrs Chadwick revealed she had an ulterior motive for completing the races.
“My ultimate goal is to compete in the Iditarod Trail in Alaska,” she said. “That’s invitation-only, so the races in Minnesota and Finland are seen as qualifiers to be asked to compete in Alaska.”
While her snowy terrain rides are completed in her spare time, Mrs Chadwick also works for All Terrain Cycles in Salts Mill and tries to encourage as many new bikers as possible.
“I oversee sales of ladies’ bikes and equipment,” Mrs Chadwick explained. “We’re really trying to support as many women as possible into the sport.”
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