29 December 2015

Susitna 100 - 2016 edition - Training update.....

Since I posted that I have entered the Su 100 after a great ride around town



The weather has taken a turn for the worse (well into the 40's with a warm wind blowing), what little snow we had has vanished at least in my neighbourhood overnight and this weather pattern seems set in for a little while looking at the long range weather guess.

Noooooo!!!!! please get cold again it's way nicer that way. 


Oh well time for some cross training, last resort will be setting up the trainer in the garage but lets hope it doesn't get that bad.

Hope all my biking friends are doing ok whilst not being able to ride enjoyable trails outside.
Here is to the weather people being wrong and to being very thankful that our main sport is not XC skiing!

If you are looking for another perspective on life up here in Anchorage check out my friends blog.
Link to Clint's Blog

27 December 2015

Susitna 100 - 2016 edition

Today I signed up for the Susitna 100 again., thanks  in advance to my wonderful family for supporting me through this.
Hopefully it goes as well or really better than last years, there is always room to improve.  (http://itsnotjustaboutabike.blogspot.com/2015/02/susitna-100-2015.html)

Let the training continue!


2015 - ready to race the Susitna 100

14 December 2015

1 glacier and a lot of moose

Monday 14th December, another epic ride with Kevin, Its been way to long buddy.

This all started on Friday when Kevin messaged me and asked if I was working Monday, I was but a check of the schedule at work and some rearranging with Amanda meant I was able to go and play on my bike.  
We met at Backcountry Bike & Ski in Palmer where Kevin works.  We got our gear sorted and hit the road, riding from the store.  We cruised the 9 paved miles to the trail head before the real fun started.

Crossing the Matanuska river

Cruising the road on fresh legs
Selfie time

Our target was the Knik Glacier though with a couple of creeks/rivers to cross we were unsure if we would actually make it.  From the trail head its approximately a 40mile round trip. 
Once off the road network we started along the glacial valley, the trail was a mix of silt, rocks, ice, snow and the occasional open section of water. We also counted 15 moose though unlike in Anchorage when you made noise the moose just ran off.
Picture dump follows
Trail head map

Silty trail 

Stopping to refuel and admire the view

Swamp buggy snack stop

Open water crossing

Open water crossing
And here is me crossing the same section


Our first unobstructed view of the glacier

working out a way to get a closer look

Admiring the view again

Onwards!

Another great view!

Bikes and a view does it get any better than this?

Well yes it did 

Bikes and blue ice

And happy riders with blue ice

Crossing some more open water

The sign of a good ride, needing lights to finish.


I totally agree

So all in all an epic ride, we rode from the Jim Creek side and only had two open water crossings to deal with, one we were able to ride though see above video, the other we used some willow to get by. 


07 December 2015

Global Fat Bike Day



Global fat bike day was originally started in the UK

"Three years, ago a couple of very clever Brits came up with an idea for a grass roots – worldwide – fat-bike holiday, that would bring the fat-bike community together, like nothing we’ve ever seen before or since! December 5th, is the date of this year’s – GLOBAL FAT-BIKE DAY!"

I helped a good friend (Kevin) back at the 2013 event with the course planning.  I also helped a little last year checking out the trail conditions when I was in town although I couldn't make the event as I was sunning myself in Hawaii, I know its a tough life.

For 2015 I again offered my services to both Kevin and Jordy who stepped up to organise this grass roots unorganised event.

This year the event format stayed the same with a unannounced route and a social gathering afterwards.  However this year we also had the opportunity to collect for the charity toys for tots, this was tied into a competition from fatbike.com and their sponsors, the twist is that we took names of all who donated toys and assuming we win one of the prizes all the names will be put into a hat and a random donater of a toy could win the big prize. 

So how did it all go down? We had around 135 people at the event though I believe the number went up as we picked up some stragglers during the ride.  It was around 15F at the start and cooled down during the route to around the single digits. I heard the burn barrels went down really well though it was a little like penguins huddled together to keep warm.

Here is a cool photo from Dan Bailey of the line up before we started riding, Amanda, Fiona and I are on the right hand side of the picture with the pink light in the wheel.
Photo credit Dan Bailey

View of the line up - Photo credit Jordan Blackson

My view of the line up went on.....

and on....


I had a blast helping out again and my only problem this year was not getting to talk with all my friends who made it out to the event. 

and on!
Stiched together

Here are a couple of shots of us on the ride.  In the picture with Amanda, Fiona and my bike the white you can see in the air is fog not 
look a pretty christmas tree

The smile says it all


Anchorage collected 79 toys which is fantastic and hopefully will mean some children get to have a much better christmas.  
79 toys looking for a new home
Thanks for a great event Kevin and Jordy, my only suggestion for next year is get a megaphone to talk with/organise people before the start.... maybe announce the route too :D
See you all next year. 


The route

Just a little side note on the route, firstly I hope everyone had a good time and didn't get lost. 
We planned two routes this year a short and long one.  The shorter route took us to Campbell airstrip then up to Salmon run and back the longer route took continued around to rovers run and back to Salmon run to join with the short route. 

Route planning
This year I was the one who marked the course, our only intention was to mark the short course which would have been around 10miles.  I ended up doing this on Friday for the bit around Campbell Tract and Saturday morning for the bit around the university.  the event was Saturday evening and unfortunately some people decided that the marking shouldn't be there I guess.

marking out the route on Friday 

I guess someone wasn't happy with my marking

all that work destroyed

Sorry if you missed this turn onto Campbell Airstrip trail, it really was marked well on Friday. 
Also if you took the unmarked route through blue booty that was never in the plan for the route but I hope you enjoyed that trail. 
Tour trail marking but alas most took 
blue booty and probably didn't see this






Alternative Tour of Anchorage

On Sunday 6th December I was lucky enough to be able to ride all day.  The only reason I was able to do this was that Amanda agreed to look after Fiona and let me go and play.
A friend (Clint) who is trying to get some long miles in as training for a big event was planning a big day out and I joined him, along with a few other friends.
We started as a group of 5 at Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop I highly recommend this as a starting point for around town loops, not only are they close to the trails but the baked goods provide some great sustenance for riding all day. Over coffee, cakes and scones a route around town was quickly hashed together.
Getting ready to leave (Laura, Nico, Chuck, Tony and Clint)
Tony didn't join us this time as he had his own ride planned. 
One of the huge advantages of being this far north in the winter is the ability to get out on a ride before sunrise and still not actually have to get up that early.
This was taken a little after 10:20am
Another advantage is the golden hour light which pretty much lasts all day, you will see this in the photos later on.
Our route took us along the coastal trail to Point Woronzof where  the 100stone project is placed.
100 Stone Project
We joined the beach for around 10 miles of riding.  The "beach" is a mixture of coastal mud flats, frozen sand, rocks and icebergs. 
The start of the beach, lots of icebergs
Playing around on the icebergs

Selfie/watching out for icebergs, its a lot harder doing these off road.

Big Iceberg - Photo credit Laura Fox

Me riding some frozen mud flats - Photo credit Laura Fox

Confirming that the snow hasn't bonded to the ice, I think we all crashed once. 
Shortly after some sketchy unbonded snow we joined up with another friend Ryan who guided us around the rest of the beach to our exit point at Campbell Creek.
More iceberg fun - photo credit Ryan Greeff

Another golden hour light photo opportunity 

Looking out over Campbell Creek tidal section
- Photo credit Ryan Greeff
After a fuel stop at a local supermarket our route took us across some lakes and swamps before heading back across town on one of the local green belts to Campbell Tract and Bicentennial Park for more swamp riding and a little singletrack.
Supermarket refuel

Riding on frozen lakes

Swamp riding

Swamp riding selfie

Bridge on green belt

New blue dot trail

discussing route options 

Riding the last section of swamps before we all headed home
- Photo Credit Ryan Greeff

Sunset

All in all a grand day out with a good variety of everything that fat biking can offer. If you live in Anchorage and the tides and weather play in your favour I highly recommend going for a ride amongst the icebergs it was a lot of fun.