05 October 2015

Winter is fast approaching

As we are fast running/riding into the end of cyclocross season here in Alaska it means the fun is about to change again..... Here comes WINTER!

Here are my photos from the 18th of September 2015.  The snow was up high so I drove up to Glen Alps and took a short ride from the trail head before work with Paul.
Looking at the view

watching for moose

big tyres

having a wheelie good time

more looking at the view
The next pictures are from the 1st of  October 2015, when I went on my second ride on snow for this years early season snow. I rode with Andrew and Josh, the snow had come lower down by this point, it was wet (the ground has not frozen up yet) and a little icy in places.  I am now really looking forward to when full winter arrives rather than this tease.

short cut on ski trails before we are banned from them

Singletrack means fun climbing

Singletrack climbing

regroup before more climbing

go go go!

and off we went

the trail was a little less used from here onwards. 

To get everyone in the mood and a little excited Andrew also put together a short video of the ride on the 1st October 2015.

Until next time happy trails everyone.

Cyclocross rounds #5 & #6

Arctic Cross Round #5 

Round #5 brought us to Goose Lake, this course usually features a good amount of sand and the course designers this year didn't disappoint in this regard.  Fortunately due to the "wonderful" amount of rain we have been having recently the  sand was very well consolidated, so didn't cause as much carnage as usual, I have also been told one of the turns was moved from the sand which helped.

The course started out with a flat grass field which we did a loop around doubling back to come back the way we had come.  The field was soft wet grass with a good amount of mud thrown in and a set of barriers. We exited onto a short tarmac section, next was single track onto the beach where we looped around through some power sapping mud back along the beach and into more grass through trees.
pick a line any line... - photo credit Laura Fox

Following this we hit the beach for the third pass then it was muddy single track, into a short paved section followed with a slippery bump into more single track, thanks for the video Andrew.

The course then looped back towards the beach before more grass and then pavement to cross the parking lot and with one last slippery bump it was pavement followed by wet grass to the finish.

This round due to the wonderful weather I was the only Blades at the event.  After a pretty bad start I actually seemed to have a pretty good race, the course was fun and fast although I think I need to work on my sand riding as this is where people passed me, I did take a few places back on the grass and had a pretty good race. I was in a good battle with Ryan Greeff for a lot of the race and was lucky to get past him after he slipped out on the final grass hill.

Arctic Cross Round #6

As we all know Sunday follows Saturday and this weekend that meant a double cross header.  We returned to Kincaid park and a course with lots of hills.
This week Amanda decided she wanted to race.
Amanda has taken part in three bike races since we arrived in Alaska, a tough winter bike course at APU with a lot of unconsolidated snow, the 24hours of Kincaid (MTB race) in 2013 and now race #6 of the 2015 Arctic Cross series.  All of these races have been tough courses (harder than we usually race) and I am proud of her for trying them especially given the lack of riding experience she has, I really should highlight some easier races for her :-)
The Kincaid course started in the stadium with a flat section into barriers and a run up. 

Amanda riding the first descent

We then descended and climbed again over a bridge. Next there was a tricky off camber traverse into an off camber downhill right back under the bridge.  

high line or the low line

heading to the corner

Fred's high line worked well

this guys low line not so much.

We climbed a little more then it was a fast downhill on gravel into yet another climb. We crossed the stadium area again and climbed up to the gong, (past a beer handout if you were silly).  

if you look closely you can see I am having a beer :D

more climbing towards the gong

Descending from the gong

At the gong, it was another tricky downhill with a right turn back into the stadium area through some wiggles, around the score board and back through some more wiggles and over a set of barriers (hardest set this season) then loop back around to the start finish straight. 

barriers that were more awkward than usual. 

Strava lap - 75ft of climbing.... felt like a lot more than that.  

So how did our races go?  Mine went pretty well I got a reasonable start and managed to pass a few people on the way, I crashed on the off camber under the bridge on lap #2 I think, I even managed to have a beer which was great for the crowd but no so great for my stomach on the next lap :D
Amanda managed 3 laps and rocked the course, I am hopeful she will race again if not next week due to work commitments then next year.
Finally Fiona had a great race too.  Whilst Amanda raced she rode her bike all over the place and concurred some of her hill fears.  All in all an awesome day for the Blades family.

26 September 2015

Cyclocross round #4

This weeks race was at Taku lake, last year I really enjoyed this race as I found it technical but with enough other bits to make having a mountain bike not a sensible option, last year I was on a mountain bike and really struggled on some sections but loved other sections...
This year I can safely say I suffered a lot during my race.  I will say my legs felt empty on the ride over to the race which is never a good sign.  Then I once again fuelled badly for the race just like round two in the rain.
The course is based around Taku Lake and consists of some big flat or false flat sections inter-spaced with wet off camber grass and roots.  The sand pit this year was down to one line imho and they added a tricky turn back onto the gravel path which I totally failed to ride every stinking lap.  I also failed to ride the tricky off camber hairpin where the largest crowd was every lap aside from the last one, I guess this was just peer pressure :D.
How not to corner - photo credit George Stransky

How did my race go... pretty badly.  I was frustrated with Fiona before I even started due to her unwillingness to even attempt to ride sections of the course during her race, yes I know she is 5 and yes I am supposed to let things go but sometimes its just arrrghhhhhhhh!!!!

My race started fast as ever and I once again positioned myself badly and got held up, in previous rounds I have been able to pass people following this but alas today that just didn't happen I felt like I faded about 30min into the race, looking at my laptimes it  this was the case although I did slow a little it was not as bad as I thought, probably helped a little by getting faster on the technical sections as the race went on... I also forgot to start my GPS until lap 2 which was a bit of an ooophs.

Smile  you are on camera - Photo credit George Stransky

Once again the crowds were awesome so thanks to everyone who stood out in the rain and cheered us on, we all really appreciate it.  Finally yes I was lapped again this time by Will, Jeff and Jason.
Roll on next weekend for the double header, Goose lake where I have never raced and Kincaid park.