Updating My Sled For My 3rd Run at Susitna 100

This upcoming February, I’ll be running the Susitna 100 for my 3rd time. When I ran it last year, I left my sled unchanged from the previous year. This year, I decided to make a few modifications. During the race last year, I made a point to pay attention to other runners’ sleds, and noticed quite a few using only a single pole. The double pole setup is really for stability and helping to keep the sled tracking behind you when you’re going downhill. Susitna 100 is a very flat course overall, so I really don’t think that’s necessary, and I’d like to try and cut weight this year anywhere I can.

After deciding to drop down to a single pole, the next decision was how to attach it to my sled. Previously, I just used rope running up the center of the pole, which is effective, but doesn’t do much for stability. Since I’d be losing the stability of the double pole setup, I wanted to do something different. I bought some stiff rubber tubing, cut it in half lengthwise, and used that to attach the pole to my sled, and to my belt. The tubing is stiff enough that it doesn’t allow the sled to flop around, but has enough give to act as a mini shock absorber.

Here’s the finished product:

So far this winter, I’ve been able to get in several good long runs pulling my sled. Many of them have been with friends pulling their sleds, who are training for Susitna as well. At least I’m not the only weirdo out there running around on the trails dragging a sled behind me! 🤪

2 thoughts on “Updating My Sled For My 3rd Run at Susitna 100

  1. Ashley

    Hi Brandon! I came across your blog while looking for advice about sled construction. Thanks so much for making these posts; they offer some excellent advice.

    What are your thoughts now, having tried a two-pole system and a one-pole version? Also, it sounded from your race report as if there was an issue with a carabiner loop during the race… Knowing what you know now, would you still do your setup the same way? Or in the end, was the previous setup (roping the sled directly onto the belt) better? Also, with the first iteration of the sled, you’d initially tried it with a carabiner attachment but mentioned those caused too much slack and some bouncing back & forth… Did you mitigate those issues somehow, when you chose to use carabiners again, or had you made other changes so that the bouncing didn’t happen anymore?

    Thanks again for posting about your equipment in so much detail!

  2. I’m still a fan of the single pole, at least for Susitna. You don’t get as much stability with a single pole, but Susitna is a very flat course for the most part, so it’s not a big deal. If I was going to be on a hillier course, I would likely go back to two poles for that.

    I did have some issues with the carabiner attaching my pole to my sled popping off. At the time, I closed it shut with some duct tape. Since then, I’ve found a different carabiner that twists to lock in place, which solved that problem.

    Most of the bouncing that I experienced was due to slack in the ropes running up through my poles. I mitigated that by attaching the carabiners directly to the poles, getting rid of the rope altogether.

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