As I said on my last trip to Los Anchorage, it is home to one hell of a fatbike community. Nearly 300 racers came out last Saturday, to race the 9th annual Frosty Bottom 25/50. A race that starts at Kincaid Park, heads up to Hilltop (where the 25 ends) and/or back to Kincaid (for the 50.) The race is open to runners and skiers as well, but the fairly dry and fast conditions only brought 2 skiers to the finish line- with most of the participants choosing a bike over shoes, like a civilized person would.
I got into town Friday and like most of my trips to Anchorage it started like this:
A delicious beer from Midnight Sun Brewing that I enjoyed with my lunch at Cafe Amsterdam. A Cohoho Imperial IPA on Nitro. So good. The nitro gave it such a creamy consistency and opened up a lot of flavors that I hadn’t noticed in bottle or C02 draft. My food, like most found in Anchorage, at least in my price range- was ok. I didn’t get dysentery, but it was nothing to write home about. From my experience, you won’t find great food or an amazing cocktail in Anchorage- but you can find some good beer, a lot of it brewed in our wonderful state.
I ran some errands and then met up with my tour guide Mike, that I met on my last trip to Anchorage- at Humpy’s Ale House. A Jubelale on nitro and something less intriguing later and we headed to his friends house, where I was to be put up for the weekend. I shared the house with a needy 9 year old German Shepard and two friendly but cautious cats- it was great. Smack dab in the middle of the Peoples Republic of Fairview- a neighborhood where car jackings aren’t uncommon and trash in your front yard is a status symbol. We met Mark at the house and rode that night, connecting bars around town via some of the 300 miles of trails that Anchorage possesses. We visited a couple gems included the Blue Fox and Crossroads. Crossroads may be my new favorite bar- with free food every night. Not pretzels and cheeze puffs, I’m talking a god-dammed meal. Hot dogs are always on, free soup some nights, tacos some nights (I was hoping for the legendary “floaty burgers” but unfortunately they are only on summer Saturdays) they have decent beer on draft or in bottles, friendly service and a clientele that seems pretty darn close-knit. I couldn’t resist the Auto-fry machine- you put frozen things in the front and minutes later fried things like chicken gizzards pop out the side.
We rode and drank beers at different trail sections. I don’t know where we went and I wouldn’t have been able to get us home if they weren’t there to guide us. I had a blast and I’m stoked to have found some friends in Mike and Mark in the big city. Also- there really are hundreds of miles of trails in the Anchorage area and it’s fucking amazing.
8:00am Saturday came early- Mike and I headed downtown to the
Wet Spot White Spot, for a greasy breakfast. A chili-cheese omelet and a couple mugs of Hills Bros. coffee colored swill got me back on the train to healthy. Mark picked us up with our bikes and we headed to Kincaid for the race start. As we rolled in at 9:30, just as it was getting light- we saw a ton of cars, some runners, but couldn’t find the start. This year, as opposed to previous years, they were starting en masse at one of the stadiums- apparently previous years had them lined up on the trail and it was too dangerous. This mass start seemed like a great place to take some photos. Finally I saw a guy on a fatbike messing with some of the trail marking flags.
“Where does the race start?”
Race? What race?
“The Frosty Bottom?” I was a little perplexed as to why he wouldn’t know what was going on- he was obviously messing with flags for the race. Was he just a dickhead trying to mess with people?
Uh… It started like a half hour ago. They’re all gone.
Hmmm. Well that settled that. We hurried back to the truck and bolted for Westchester Lagoon, hoping to get some shots as the racers headed for Hilltop. The course this year being dry and fast- didn’t help us out in a truck on the road. By the time we got there the lead racers had already gone by. Shortly after we arrived the fastest runners were showing up. We decided to wait for the 50-mile racers to reach Hilltop and make the turn around and come back through Westchester.
Westchester Lagoon is a rad city park that Anchorage maintains for ice skating in the winter and the trail runs right past it. Not only does the city check the ice for thickness, they plow the snow off and hotmop it to keep it smooth. They also stock burn barrels with firewood. There were people figure skating, playing hockey and using the oval track. All I could think was “ICE RACING.” We’ll see…
3 beers later, racers started coming back. I didn’t get many good photos because I’m not a good picture taker but here is a couple.
I’ve also got more on the Flickr- check it out HERE
The race was the fastest Frosty Bottom to happen to date, this year the winning about 8 minutes ahead of last years time (also a previous record.)
Women’s Frosty 25 Bike
- 349 Sheryl Loan 1:36:40 1
- 261 Katie Ronsse Libby 1:36:45
- 255 Stacey Kolstad 1:42:06
Men’s Frosty 25 Bike
- 263 Ethan Lynn 1:34:30
- 327 Colin Wolfe 1:36:39
- 249 Roger James 1:37:14
Women’s Frosty 50 Bike
- 128 Amber Stull 3:01:11
- 122 Jill Simek 3:09:20
- 40 Laura Fox 3:13:14
Men’s Frosty 50 Bike
- 127 James Stull 2:40:20
- 11 Tim Berntson 2:40:21
- 114 Will Ross 2:40:25
See the full results list at Chain Reaction’s page HERE
I had a great time, and made a list of things that I plan on doing this winter
- Race a race in Anchorage don’t just take photos
- Get some fucking gloves that are warm because cold hands suck and I haven’t lost enough self respect to use pogies (yet.)
- Take better pictures
- Drink good beer
- Ride more bikes
So that’s about it. Anchorage may be Mecca when it comes to fatbikes and if you get a chance to ride there- especially during an event… do it.
See you on the trail, I’ll be the one with a beer in my hand.