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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Hitting the trail, not the books

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This summer, several Carleton professors and staff intend to rejuvenate their spirits with strenuous physical activity, including cross-country bike rides and a 200-mile relay run.

Assistant professor of Philosophy Sarah Jansen is competing in the longest mountain bike race in the world, the Tour Divide. Beginning in Bamff, Canada, and ending in border town Antelope Wells, NM, the 2,745 mile race follows the Continental Divide and mostly consists of dirt roads and trails.

Jansen plans to finish the race in about four weeks, averaging 100 miles per day.

“The whole spirit of the race is about self-reliance and challenging yourself physically and mentally for that amount of time,” she said.

She also emphasized that she’s “looking forward to meeting some interesting folks from around the world… and to be able to ride with different people in different legs of the race.”

Using GPS technology to follow the route and track racers, bikers in the Tour Divide are disqualified if they deviate significantly from the predetermined race route.

Without any checkpoints, accidental deviation is common, and

Jansen says, “that’s what I’m nervous about, because I’m not good at navigation. It’s really not my strong suit.”

Jansen also expressed concerns about sleep deprivation, poor weather and grizzly bears.

Although she’ll have all the necessary gear to camp along the route, she hopes primarily to stay in hotels and hostels during the race.

“I really hope I don’t have to camp too much.” she said. Due to the remoteness and desolation of some legs, however, she admitted she will have to at some point.

The race starts June 13th, and reflecting on the prospect, she added, “I think its an interesting experience and will give one a lot of time to think. You’re completely removed from society.

That’s part of the appeal for me, because, as a philosopher, I can think about philosophy while I’m biking.”

After completing the Tour Divide, Jansen will return to Minnesota for another adventure. She will join three other Carleton Staff, Associate Professor of English and American Studies Adriana Estill, Reference Librarian Kristin Partlo, and Associate Professor of Philosophy Anna Moltchanova for the Ragnar Relay Great River.

The Ragnar Relay is a 24 hour, 201 mile race. Jansen, Estill, Partlo and Moltchanova will be competing as part of an all women, twelve person team.

Estill is the only one to have previously participated in the Ragnar, though Moltchnova has run triathlons in the past.

Partlo is excited to meet new people and to run at night, though she’s worried about inclement weather and rest. “I’ve never tried to do three runs of that length within 24 hours, so I just don’t know how I’m going to feel for the third one.”

All four women are excited for a summer of training, and Estill called her previous experience running the Ragnar “fabulous.” “For me, running is so restorative,” she said.

Other staff members are planning impressive and physically demanding summer trips as well, namely PEPS technology specialist Jim Pierret.

Pierret plans to bike from Williamsburg, VA, to Florence, OR. With a group of 13 people from the Adventure Cycling Association, he will cycle 4,250 miles over three months, traveling mostly on paved roads and camping along the way.

The trip begins on May 2nd, and will include “78 days of riding, but 93 total days. There’s a break about every six to seven days.” Participants will enjoy local sightseeing and recuperate on days off.

As for the appeal of the trip, Pierret commented that it is not just about “seeing if I can do it, just accomplishing it,” but also about “enjoying the scenery, and getting to know people along the road, both those that I’m riding with and meeting new people.”

Reflecting that it was a good time to go, Pierret added that he was “grateful for Carleton allowing me the time off.”

“It is something that I probably wouldn’t get to do if I was not working in the education sector.”


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