29 December 2014

Winter camping by bike

Arctic Cycles is a local rental company run by Billy & Erica Koitzsch, they specialize in bike rentals and winter adventures.  Billy has a wealth of experience and love for camping and biking in the winter, not only has he cycled to Nome (about 1000miles) on more than one occasion but also continued on to Fairbanks during the winter of 2013.  (see arcticle here)
As well as renting fat bikes Billy and Erica now also run the Iditasport race which was resurrected for 2014.  (see website here).  He also has a significant collection of fat bike memorabilia charting the progress of fat bikes (see Nicholas Carmens article here)

Billy decided to run a free clinic to share some of his knowledge of winter camping onto people who were expecting to complete in the Iditasport race either this year or the following year.

The riders all met between 14:30 and 15:30 at Kincaid Chalet.  I decided to ride to the event the long way (loaded miles are always good to have in the bank) and meet up with a couple of my friends on the way.
Joining Chester Creek Trail

Here is a picture from before we set off.

We rolled out, down the hill off to find somewhere to camp for the night.  Billy our guide had found a nice secluded spot at the edge of Kincaid park approximately 3miles riding distance from the start point, it was also very close to the airport surprisingly the planes didn't keep me awake.

Our group was a mix of experienced and first time winter campers, which is where I put myself, although I have camped in the winter before it was with very different gear and a handy pub near by to plan a route and relax by a warm fire.

Getting some tips from the master
Did someone say flight path - Photo Credit Fred Stewart

A perfect sunset
We rode into our secluded camping spot and set to work on what Billy told us, the basics are get yourself warm, make water from melting snow and setup camp.

Making water and cooking food
Billy was the perfect guide and he coached when required.  He also carried a bunch of extra equipment, this is important if like me you forget your spoon.
Once all fed, Billy proceeded to talk through his equipment and answer any questions we may have had about gear, setup, staying warm etc.

Sleeping bag selfie
After a warm night (20 to 25F or -6 to -4C) sleeping under some stars and a fair few clouds it was time to get some breakfast and pack up and head home.
Making breakfast
Fred Stewart all packed up and ready to ride

Stopping at Uranus.... yes I am 12 years old :)

Thank you Billy and Arctic Cycles for putting on this event.  I am already planning my 2016 Iditasport trip and will continue to expand my knowledge of winter camping with the information you taught us.
See you soon

This is an hour long video which covers some of the Iditasport Extreme the precursor to the ITI more history can be found here

17 December 2014

Back to the riding post holiday

Amanda, Fiona and I have just returned from Hawaii where we had a great time.  The resort we stayed at was fantastic with its beach access and great pools.  It was our first time in Hawaii for all of us and I am sure we will go back to visit again sometime.
Here are a couple of snap shots.
Mum and Fiona swimming

Dad and Fiona swimming

Beach - North Shore

Pearl Harbor memorial

Minnie Mouse

Top of Diamond Head

Amanda and I also managed to get a couple of runs in so that is another State ticked off towards our 50 States of running. Link to previous 8
Here is State #9's Run

Once we arrived back we did really well at coping with the cold (ok it was only 25F) and got out on a super fun family bike ride.  There was a total of 16 people including the children.  It was great!
Family Fun Ride

It was nice to have a break from biking but I did miss Global Fat Bike Day which I heard was a total blast. I am making up for the week away though and have been getting in some fun riding with a great bunch of people. Given the lack of snow, yes it still hasn't snowed that much and the warm weather the trails are in great shape.

Today I loaded up my bike and took a mellow ride out to see if I remember what riding a fully loaded bike was like, during the ride I felt pretty good and managed to almost keep up with Andrew, Kent and Mick while on single track, ok they waited a lot for me :)  Nice riding with you guys.
Riding with Friends

It was a beautiful day and after leaving the guys I continued out to West Chester lagoon then made my way home.  Here are a few snap shots of the ride.  For the locals a beer is on offer if you are the first person who can name all 4 trails. Angie got it well I am going to give it to her she was close enough. Beer will be Twister Creek IPA.

Picture #1 - the trail I am stood on - Coastal Trail

Picture #2 - Rovers Run

Picture #3 - Either name - Tour Trail or Abbott Road multiuse
Picture #4 - Salmon Run

As I mentioned above my legs felt pretty good whilst riding however now they are starting to feel pretty tired, I will have to see how my legs feel tomorrow for my ride in the evening.
Until next time take care all!