18 May 2018

Bike to work day 2018 - Anchroage

Anchorage has been really upping their game when it comes to bike to work day. Sure the weather isn't always going to be amazing as we are often dealing with the tail end of winter still when it comes around but the turnout always seems to be healthy. This year we once again matched up with national bike to work day in rest of the USA.

With so many stations (see map below) hitting them all is never really going to be an option.
Bike to work 2018

The game is always get to as many as possible whilst hitting up some key don't miss stations. This year I'm not working and was unsure as to whether I was going to partake in the bike to work events. I got a message yesterday from Josh who asked what I was planning on doing and would I like to join him and some of his colleagues (Matt and Tom) as they made the rounds. 

We met at Elmore and Abbott at 06:30 and headed north on Elmore. This meant coffee and House of bread put on by the Trek store was our first stop, less than 0.5 miles from the meeting start point. Following this it was the Police stop, Maple and Bacon donuts. Then it is the Blueberry stop with Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. We then cruised around onto the paved bike path network to hit up a few stations including roasted marshmallows, before the main deal. As ever the Bacon station didn't disappoint. Whilst there we were informed by some friends that we had missed out on Fire Island Bakery, a quick back track took care of that then it was back past the bacon station again, though we didn't stop for seconds. One more station Nordic Ski Association of Anchorage then it was onto C street to head towards my riding company's work location at Klatt Elementary. C-street has stops on both sides, we stopped at only the west side stops and hit up a couple of stops before getting to Alaska Fish and Game for some tasty salmon.  Following this is was a quick dash to our last stop at Anchorage Sand and Gravel who had breakfast burritos. 
All in all a feast of a 20mile ride. The weather was a little damp, some might say wet at times but the turnout was still impressive.
Finally thanks Amanda for taking care of the little one so that I could do this.

Photo dump

Stop one
Tom, Matt,  Me andd Josh. - PC Trek Store Anchorage

side walk cruising

Josh with the selfie
Tom, Matt, Me and Josh
random guy photo bomb in background :D
Roasting Marshmallows - PC Tom 

Gorilla butts

NSAA - last stop on Chester Creek

Interactive map

The Strava Data

17 May 2018

The transfer is in progress

As school draws to a close, so too is this chapter in our life where we live in Alaska. Amanda has been transferred to Oklahoma City, funny how things come full circle. When we were in Colombia we were being transferred to Oklahoma City then that changed and we ended up in Alaska. 

We have been up here for almost 5.5 years and have loved it. We have made some amazing friends and really tried to get involved in the community. I managed to get a part time job at a local bike shop to feed my habit. 
One from a "real" winter
We have lost a cat, bought two cars, a house, many bikes and adopted a dog. All in all life is pretty sweet up here. Sure the summers aren't that warm and since we have been here (we are not taking the blame) we have had a couple of warmer winters.   But we really think this is the place we would like to end up. 

The decision to move was the toughest one we have faced together. Moving half way across the country is not an easy choice however it is the one we have taken. 

The next few weeks are going to be pretty busy for us with selling our house up here and organising things, visiting places we have failed to get to in the five years we have been here. All before we move to the lower48, current target is to be heading south at the end of June.

For now I will keep the updates coming, we plan on driving down to Oklahoma over three to four weeks and explore on the way down. Ticking of some of the remaining fifty states of running ;-)

Stay tuned all, we will be back :D
The family rides will still happen, though probably sans bears, moose and snow pants. 
Susan and Mort keeping an eye on things
We have had an Incredible time.

09 May 2018

Bikcation Part 2 - The non race part

After 5 days based out of Prescott, Arizona the group packed up, loaded into two RV's and hit the road to continue the bikcation.  Read part one here.

Day 6 - Monday - Sedona

We amazingly got on the road not too late, given it was our first day travelling and we had to pack up.
Ready to roll
We rolled into Sedona around 10:15 and by 11:15 we were riding. James and Jessie were our guides and lead us up, down and around to create a super interesting route. For this ride we had 10 people (Josh, Megan, Andy, JD, Dan, Jessie, Andrew, James, Clint and Me) with varying technical abilities; this makes for some interesting riding dynamics. 
Sedona is a interesting bike mecca in Arizona. The trails were a lot steeper than many trails I have ridden with a lot of exposure. 
Trails ridden 

long arm group shot
All smiles

Don't fall right

The views were stunning

The riding technical

more stunning views

We finished riding and had some food, then said bye to JD, Dan, James and Clint who were not joining us for the remainder of the trip.

Our destination was St George Utah, however due to time constraints (we rode way too late) that wasn't ever really on the cards. We did however find a secluded place to camp for the night,  right next to Horseshoe bend.

Day 7 -Tuesday - St George

Whilst we didn't make St George, the stop was perfect. We got an early morning walk in and this was the reward. 

Yes, that is impressive

And a long way down

still a long way down

Looks really far down really 
After that view as a start to the day most people would have been pretty content however, we were meeting Andrew to ride so, we hit the road and drove the remaining 2 hours into Utah to go ride. 
The first stop was at Santa Clara, by this point on the trip we were playing dodge the rain showers. The riding group was a little smaller though we had been joined by Andy's friend John. We also had Andrew still along with us. Santa Clara is rocky which means it doesn't get to badly affected with rain. We rode two Mesa's for this ride. 
Trails ridden,

Big drops

Fun switchbacks

Steep and technical switchbacks
Following this ride Andrew had to head back, it also started raining. We loaded up and headed to the next trail system where we headed out for ride two of the day. After the rain stopped we were treated to some fun trails that paralleled the cliffs,
Trails ridden
Dinosaurs impressions

riding the rocks

coming off Church Rocks

pretty flowers
I really enjoyed this ride, it was a lot smoother (less technical) than some of the other riding we had been doing and certainly on prospector you could go really really fast. Emma was the perfect bike for these trails.
We finished our ride as the sun was setting but riding in a little rain at a boy scout camp (free camping area built by some eagle scouts). They have also set up a trail network in that area however I didn't ride any of it.

Day 8 - Wednesday - Wire Mesa and Gooseberry Mesa

After a little breakfast and a short food resupply we headed up to try and ride Gooseberry Mesa. As we turned into the road it was decided that it would be unwise to drive out along the road due to recent rain. We adapted and headed to Wire Mesa which is a short 7 mile loop
Trails ridden,
This is a fun loop and had interesting technical sections, great views and not too much exposure. 
terrible views

selfie time

dead tree

group shot

After our hour ish long loop around Wire Mesa we headed back to ride Gooseberry Mesa. We parked at the top of the road where we turned around earlier in the day and set off on bikes.
Trails ridden
This was a great ride, it was also Megan's Birthday, so a fun way to celebrate. We started on an access road but once on singletrack it had it all: Loose sections, Step ups, step downs, slickrock etc. 
Access road

Emma sparkling in the sun

Desert flowers

Stormy weather all around us

Line checkers

Big drops

more terrible scenery!

Following the ride, we headed back to where the RV's were parked and had an excellent dinner followed by some birthday cake. It was at this point we said our goodbyes to Andy and John who had to head back to Prescott.

Day 8 - Thursday - Jem trails 

The day started off with a little shuttle run so that Josh and Dave could ride Gander trail. Jessie, Terry and I then took a short hike before heading back to wake the kids up for breakfast. 
Boy's ride before breakfast 2.0

more of those terrible views :D


Alfresco breakfast
Following breakfast we hit the road and headed to the Jem trail network. This was a family friendly ride for the first few trails then we split and the Adults rode Hurricane Rim to finish out our riding and finish off the legs. 
Trails ridden
It was a fun day on the bike again, the Jem trail network is mostly smooth with lots of opportunity to carry speed. There are many fun little jumps too. 
Group riding with kids

here we go

looking out over the trails. 

more panoramic action

All smiles
After this we moved across to Hurricane rim which was a lot more rocky. 

Trail next to the rim

more pretty flowers

ripping the singletrack - PC Josh

More flowy singletrack

Yet another Panorama

Following the ride we headed back to go swimming and to camp at the Boy Scouts camp again. I also managed to get another of my 50 States of running in (see here)

Day 9 - Friday - Zen and bearclaw poppi

The last day of riding, Jessie and Dave saved the best until last IMHO. An early ish breakfast and a short drive took us to the trailhead for Zen in the Green Valley network
Trails ridden
Zen is a simply magnificent loop (do this trail counter clockwise) It is a really nice mixture of flowy sections with technical climbs and descents thrown in. It also has some sections of slickrock so the grip is outstanding. 

Climbing up Zen

Last shade

Ducking under rocks

at the top

panorama fun

Following our Zen moment we headed up over a small pass and dropped down to the top of Bearclaw poppi, trail is named after a flower which grows mostly in this area. We also met up with Dave and Jessie's parents. The trail is around 2 miles long and flows downhill with jumps and lots of traction in the corners. It was a blast.
pre bearclaw poppi descent

Bearclaw poppi

Post bearclaw poppi descent

Our riding was over for the trip and I had a blast.
Bike packup in Ikea parking lot
I packed up my bike in the parking lot of Ikea which was a great location to do it, warm and clean.

Day 10 -  Friday - Flight home day :D

Owing to our early arrival in Nevada I had the opportunity to get another state in for my 50 states of running. See here So much winning on this trip. 
If you do happen to be flying out of Las Vegas and you have some time to kill I highly recommend heading to this trail head. It sure was pretty up there. 
Late Night trail head

Art in airports

Also if you are flying out of an airport take the time to soak in the artwork that all airports seem to display when you are walking around before your flight departs.

Las Vegas


 And finally

The friendships I formed during this trip will last a lifetime as will the memories. The only thing that could have made it better, would have been if Amanda and Fiona were able to join me. I guess I will have to go back with them and show them all the great trails I found.