30 May 2013

Getting out of Anchorage..... if only for one night.

The weekend of the 24th to 27th May is Memorial day holiday here in the USA.  For us that means Amanda gets a Monday off work (Bank holiday for UK people)  Being as organised as we ever are in the Blades household we hadn't realised this was sneaking up on us.....

With a lack of planning comes problems like me not booking time off from work (I work Sunday's) and not being able to find a place to stay.

Late last week about the Wednesday night we finally managed to come up with plan of what we would do.

Friday evening I would spend some time racing my bike up one of the local hill climbs, the race was part of a weekend race series but at least I would get to test my legs out on one of the longer hill climbs in the local area.  
Saturday morning would see us head up the road to Talkeetna about 2.5 hours away.  While in Talkeetna we would ride the Huricane flag train and take in some of the town once we returned, we would stay overnight in Talkeetna and return to Anchorage Sunday morning so I could sell some bikes.

Pretty much everything went to plan. The train ride was a huge success.  We actually saw Mount Mckinley (Denali)!!!! This is a pretty big deal, as most days of the year it's shrouded in clouds.  Also seen were Moose, numerous birds and we even got to see what an Ice Jam looks like.  Fiona was awarded a "Golden Spike" - really just a genuine used Alaskan Railroad spike - by the conductor of the train for being such a good kid on the trip.

We stayed at a local B&B up there called the Meandering Moose which had a really nice atmosphere, so much so we have booked to stay there again with Grandma and Dennis when they visit in June.  We had dinner at Twister Creek Restaurant  which was really good, Amanda had the brownie for dessert, and claims it's the best one she's ever had in her life (can't be that good, Nick had to finish it for her).  Although we had to leave too early on Sunday to get breakfast at the Talkeetna roadhouse we brought sticky buns back to Anchorage with us and they were enjoyed by all who got to have some (especially at work).    

Here are a couple of pictures from the train journey.

Turn around stop at Hurricane

The train

Train and Mount Mckinley

Train Shadow at Hurricane Glutch

Mount Mckinley

Ice jam next to tracks

Ice Jam

Saying goodbye!

21 May 2013

6 months in and it seems the snow has finally gone.

Amanda, Fiona and I have been in Alaska a little over 6 months and it seems spring has finally arrived.  We have arrived in a record breaking snow season though not for snow amounts.  2012/13 had a snow season that was 232 days long (Measured from the first day of snow to the last day)  And if anyone is wondering that is a long time and even I am getting pretty fed up of the snow now :)

Apart from the snow season what else has been going on since I last gave an update on here.

Amanda has managed to run a chipped sub 30min 5km race so is super happy.

out on the course

Amanda and I have joined a cycle racing team (Revolution Racing) which is going to be really awesome.  I have already been racing a couple of times with them (10 mile time trial and a hill climb) and have been well and truly beaten.  I am slowly building up my riding volume to get to somewhere near the level of cycling fitness I had before I left Denmark. I am hoping that by riding my Fat bike with slicks on the hill climbs when my road bike finally arrives I will have big power advantage, well I can hope can't I :)
Fat bike vs Road bikes = Nick losing race
In other news I am no longer only a stay at home dad!  I am now working at a local cycle shop (Paramount Cycles) selling bikes.  This is a lot of fun and I am learning a lot about bikes and  finding the right bike for the right person.  It has been a bit of a shock to have adult conversations again bit I am slowly remembering how to do it. 

Our sad news for this blog is that Ron our intrepid rescue cat from Colombia is no more.... he never returned from one of his adventures outside and by the time we got to the rescue shelter he had been put to sleep. :(  Two things are really frustrating about this, one it was our next door neighbour who took him to the shelter and two we never thought to go to look for him at the shelter.  Susan is now microchipped though and has become a much friendlier cat since the demise of Ron.  RIP Ron 

On a happier note, Fiona has finally figured out how to ride her bike and it would seem how to knock people over also :)

The days here are getting really long, 20th May 2013 Sunrise 05:00, Sunset 22:54 and still a month of getting lighter for longer.  On the solstice we can expect Sunrise at 04:21, Sunset 23:42 and I have been informed that the afterglow even here in Anchorage means it doesn't really get dark :)   I am looking forward to it.  There is also a 24hour Mountain bike race on that weekend so we shall have to see how this all works out with the arrival of Grandma and Dennis.  

Lastly I'm going to leave you with a picture from my ride today, not a perfect shot as the train only says ALASK.  but that is more down to my poor timing rather than what is actually written on the train.  Hope it gives some of you an insight into how lucky we all feel we are to be able to live in this wonderful state.