Even with the lack of snow in Alaska this year the Susitna 100 mile challenge for XC skiers, bikers & hikers was completed. For the second year the extreme event drew local XC ski enthusiast Aurora Agee, First National Bank of Alaska loan officer was drawn to and finished second in the event completing the 100 miles in 28.5 hours. The race has six check points, “At each check point I rested from anywhere from 20 minutes to 4 hours including an hours nap at mile 77,” Agee told the Dispatch in an interview. The trail conditions were difficult and took their toll, “This year took a huge toll, I developed stomach issues and am still dealing with fatigue and some very significant blisters on my feet,” she said. Aurora chose to skate ski the entire 100 mile course and said she wanted to prove the first year wasn’t just a fluke and would be less grueling the second time, “It turned out it wasn’t a fluke and both years were indeed quite difficult to finish. I thought if I trained that the second year would not be as difficult as the first, but I was wrong!” she said. Aurora plans to take a break for a couple of years and be part of the organizing committee.
To complete 100 miles in just 4.5 hours more than a day requires a great deal of stamina and a lot of night skiing, “I carried with me 3,000 calories of food. You are required to always have 3,000 calories on hand, so I carried a whole pizza, two bacon and peanut butter sandwiches, six snickers bars along with a number of other energy bars, energy drink and a stick of butter which ended up saving me. It might not have been the best choice of foods and when I couldn’t keep the other food down due to my stomach issues, I melted the butter and drank it. There were times I did consider quitting this year because of the stomach issues and after 77 miles and only the melted butter to keep me going I ended up sleeping for an hour and after sleeping I changed my mind and went on to finish, but it wasn’t pretty,”she said.
Agee says she has been skiing her entire life and loves the outdoors of Alaska, “As soon as I could walk my parents had me on skis so all my activities were a lead up to be able to do these long distance events. I don’t have a specific training regimen I train to I just get out and stay active every day.” While Agee has been an inspiration to local skiers at the Tsalteshi Trails, she will be moving to Healy, Alaska in the near future to become a branch manager for FNBA. “But I do hope to return to the Peninsula someday.”