26 February 2013

Another fun packed weekend

The weekend of the 22nd February was a busy one for all of us up here.
Saturday morning was spent at the Fur Rondy or "Rondy" as it is know locally.  The origins of this festival come from when the trappers used to trade furs.  It is now self labelled as "North America's biggest winter festival."  From reading the paper and what we saw of the festival it seems pretty big,
At the Rondy on Saturday we saw a parade and some sled dog racing prize money for the 3 day event is $70,000 which is not to shabby.  On the 2nd March the ultimate dog sled race (Iditarod) will have its ceremonial start in downtown Anchorage.
Here are some pictures of the sled racing from the heart of Anchorage.

Following the Rondy we headed back home to relax a little before Amanda and I got ready to go racing.  We had arranged to have a baby sitter so that both of us could race and then out for a meal afterwards.  I am sure I speak for both of us when I say we had a great time.

The course we rode is normally unavailable during winter months as it was on ski only trails.  Once again Chain Reaction Cycles here in Anchorage came through and put an a superb course, though not all of it was rideable it was fun to race and since it was only a 30min race that meant flat out the whole time, half the course was a run with bike half ridable, guess it's good I have been practicing pushing things while running with Fiona. I managed to get 4th place :) Results

Sunday morning was spent with a nice walk to the local shops to pick up a few essentials for dinner  then since Amanda kindly agreed to look after Fiona so that I could go riding again (no if, buts or maybes I have the most amazing wife ever!!!)
The ride on Sunday was on a permissive trail for winter use which the state park is assessing its usage to potentially open it up fully next year.  Although part of the route was more hikeyourbike rather than rideyourbike the route was still fun and once again I got to see some trails I wouldn't want to ride first time on my own.  Thanks to Paramount Cycles for hosting the ride. 
Going up looking back to Anchorage

Looking back along the trail

Regroup point after unridable section, me in blue jacket

Finally today we went to see some of the snow sculptures put on for the Rondy.  Link to ADN images
My images, are not quite as good :)
The force is strong

Killer Whale

Fiona wouldn't stand near this one or have it behind her for a photo

Hi Mum

10 February 2013

A frozen river and lots of wind

Last week I managed to get to two ASS (Abominable Snow Series) races.

The first event (ASS #4) was on Wednesday night  (Yes another night race Pam) at the local trails to my house, some might say this would give me a local advantage though I have definitely not been riding there enough for that to have an affect yet. Fiona and I picked Amanda up from work and then dashed to the races, we were running a little late as Fiona need to pee at Amanda's work, why is it little ones always need to pee when you are in a rush.

We got to the race and I got ready as quickly as possible before rushing to sign on.  The race was a one lap ride for me and I did really well, I managed to finish 5th in my class or possibly 6th depending on if they got the timing right. results are here The course was fun and took in the multi use and single track trails at Hillside area.  Since it had been snowing that day there was about 3-5inches of fresh snow on parts of the course which lead to some very interesting racing.  I am pretty sure I had too much air in my tyres as people were riding and I was pushing, once again I am still learning a lot about riding on snow.
As it was a race I didn't stop to get any photos but Amanda did get this snap of me getting ready.
Getting ready
The next race I got to go to was ASS #5.  This was being held at the Friends of Eagle River Nature Center which is in the Chugach State Park.  Biking is not allowed in the State park and for this race the organisers had to apply for special permission to ride.  The course was a 10mile loop however 2/3 of the race was on the frozen Eagle River.  As if riding on ice was not hard enough nature was playing its part with some really strong winds, how strong, a couple of points I had to walk/run as the wind had blown me off my bike.  It was also balmy warm 42F or 5.5C which meant that the snow was soft and the river was not quite fully frozen :-0

Riding a frozen river
The race was really good fun and I learnt a few more things about snow riding, mainly don't have a frame bag on when it is that windy as it turns your bike into a sail.  Thanks again to Amanda and Fiona for being my personal cheering squad.  Nothing makes you pedal harder than having people you know cheering for you, well maybe being chased by Zombies but I've not encountered that yet.  Here are the results  Finished a lowly 19th but at least I can say I was there, I even managed to do two laps and I know some riders dropped out after one. 

Here is a great shot Amanda took of me as I finished the race, I was completely shattered at this point.
A very tired Nick

Garmin files of the two races