Browse Tag by anchorage
Alaska, Bicycle, Bicycle Racing, Events, fat bike, Races

Frosty Bottom 2015.

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:

c2

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.

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Alaska, Bicycle, Events, fat bike, Rides

Tomorrow in Anchorage: Global Fatbike Day

gfbd

Tomorrow in Anchorage and around the world, people will be straddling their fatbikes and going on rides with friends and making new ones. The majority of my trips and rides are done on my own and I’m looking forward to meeting some people in the Anchorage area. It feels a little like that time in 2006 when I showed up to a Fast Friday in Seattle- not knowing anybody, but that turned out pretty well.

Love them or hate them, fatbikes have made a big impact in the cycling world. It feels a little similar to the fixed gear boom that started about 10 years ago- though there isn’t a conversion kit for a shitty 10sp so you can get in on the cheap. Nope, these bad boys cost some dough.

Global Fatbike Day Alaska Facebook page

Anchorage info- taken from the FB

Ok folks so the details you have all been waiting for. The ride will start from West Chester Lagoon around 7. The group ride will head east on the chester creek trail towards the hillside with many chances to branch off on single track that will re-connect with the bike trail. The ride will continue on the chester creek trail making its way across northern lights and through the university/ medical center area again taking chances to ride more single track along the way. Once back on the bike trail the ride will head across the tudor overpass onto the tour trail and make a shorter loop on some campbell creek science center single tracks. Trails will most likely include blue dot, moose tracks, lynx, birch meadow, Speedway, moose meadow, lower rovers, salmon run and continuing along the tour trail back to westchester. The loop through the campbell tract trails can be done in either direction its up to you! The single tracks that turn off the chester creek trail and the tour trail will be marked come the day of the ride. We will announce what kind of marks to look for because weather may dictate one form of marker over another (marking paint on the snow vs flagging) come ride time.

I would like to stress the listed route is only a loose guideline. If you are not comfortable with any of these single track off shoots sticking to the bike path as well as the tour and larger trails like moose tracks is just fine and continuing on your way towards campbell creek science center is another option. The great part about doing that is you will most likely be constantly riding with fellow fat bikers on the way. The ride is meant to be about having some fun and be done at mellow conversation speed. The route listed above should be largely doable for some within an 1.5-2 hour range however please do not feel like you must do the entire length of route in that time. Ride as much of the route as you can and make sure to be back at the lagoon by 9 ish for the swag give away. Be sure to bring some additional warm layers so you can be comfortable while hanging around post ride. Also be sure to stash some snacks and beverages of your choice in your packs for post ride (or during the ride) up to you really.

Global Fatbike Day general Facebook pageFind your area, and go on a ride! Start one up! Be it solo or in a group- get on your bikes and ride!

Alaska, Bicycle, Bicycle Racing, Cyclocross, Events, Races

Arctic Cross. Cyclocross in The Last Frontier.

The Whittier ferry dock was (and still is) broken, so we took the ferry to Valdez from Cordova, making the drive to Anchorage 300 miles, as opposed to the 60 miles it is from Whittier. Melissa and I decided somewhat last minute to caravan back to Anchorage with Bryan and Garret, spending a few days in the big city picking up this and that, read: booze, groceries, and my new fatbike.  They got a head start on us, as we stopped in Valdez for a late breakfast after we disembarked.  We caught up to them on the side of the road in between Valdez and Glenallen, where car troubles almost caused their rear wheel to fall off.  They hopped in with us and we left Garret’s car there for a few days- planning to bring Garret back with parts and tools on our return trip. Spoiler alert: I didn’t get a bike that weekend, but Melissa got a brand new Fatback for winter adventuring.

It looked like we may even get to witness a cross race- as the Arctic Cross series was having their final race while we were there.  I didn’t think I would be allowed to race- not having been part of the series this year so I didn’t bring my bike. Turns out it would have been fine, and I was pretty bummed that I was so pessimistic.  The Arctic Cross webpage is a little dated and is difficult to understand for somebody coming to town wanting to race bikes. Sure there is race info, it’s mostly results- you can’t find out much about how the race categories are setup, race times, and sometimes even the race days are incorrect. Ah well…computers are hard.

We made it to the Goose Lake race in Anchorage, the course was located right off the bike path in town.  We pulled in to the parking lot, saw  bike racks on cars and trucks, folks in spandex, a couple sections of course tape, and figured we were in the right place.  Parking was easy.

It rained the few days prior, so the course was a bit muddy- but race day was crisp and clear with soggy ground.  My favorite race days.

I often miss the cyclocross in Seattle and I most definitely miss my Hodala teammates.  As we walked into the park we saw the familiar sight of kids playing, riding around on bikes just a little bit too big for them, or too small.  Adults walking around with mud and smiles on faces- a BBQ was being prepared for the end of the season.  Beer flowed from 2 kegs, respectfully stowed out of plain site.  We scoped the course, similar in many spots to a mountain bike course, but with the cyclocross staples of barriers and a sandpit.  Near the BBQ epicenter and just prior to the first set of barriers was a giant chicane.  A spiral which made me dizzy just watching the folks go in circles.  Cyclocross feels new in Anchorage, especially singlespeeding.  People had a blast- and it was a pretty darn nice day.  

It was a diverse race, bikes ranging from mountain bikes, to cross bikes (a few singlespeeds in there too) to polo bikes complete with disk wheels and narrow bars to fatbikes.  Race attire was also from one end of the spectrum to the other. Costumes, team kits, whatever seemed comfortable… One of the most interesting things to watch, was the heckling.  The polo kids, god bless ’em- were doing well at it.  We came across them at the sand pit.  Beers in hand, they would rib the riders as they came by:

“Ride it!”

“You’re doing it wrong- you’re supposed to stay on your bike.”

“That’s why you’re not winning!”

Tall Bryan was also giving them some pointers- encouraging the racers to just get off their bikes and run the section that was slowing so many down.  “No!  Get off your bike!  Run it!  You’re going too slow!”

Heckling is something that I am quite familiar with though not nearly as skilled as my teammates at (much like riding.) Hodala is next level heckling.  Too much for some people- it’s never rarely coming from a place of anger.  It’s like when my mom would say to me “I love you, you little shit stain.”  I knew that “love” was the operative word.  Some people might take offence, and occasionally kick the team fire ring over- but if you can’t take the mud, get off the cross course.  When I first started racing cross, the heckling I heard consisted of:

“Shift!” (because I ride a single speed…. so clever.)

“It’s GO MEANS GO, not SLOW MEANS SLOW!”

I took these ribbings in stride and came out a better rider for it.

The kids race was, as always, fun to watch.  Seeing the boys and girls get stoked on cross is always a good time.

Next year I’ll be at the races, at least a couple of them.  Hoping that my team can make it up to race at least one as well.  Hodala can help ruin cyclocross north of 60°N too.  So keep riding dirty and we’ll see you at the races.

 

Alaska, bikes, Photography, Travel

Alaska Trip Part 1: Anchorage, Off The Chain

It was an early flight into Anchorage,  so by 10:30am we had already managed to walk through the woods and across town. We did stop for coffee (in a city that has more espresso stands per capita than anywhere else in the US), but by now we were seated at a questionable but genuine bar beers-in-hand. In the brief moments between being bombarded (or befriended) by the obviously very regular morning crowd, my host Garret informed me there would be a bicycle available for me to use.

Nishiki_mtb_cruiser

I came to Alaska to visit my good friend Garret Spargo as well as spend some time with Ryan, the man behind GMG himself. Bringing a bike was something I had wanted to do, but it ended up being too expensive to consider. Garret is involved with Off The Chain, a bicycle collective in Anchorage. They granted me access to the shop and I was able to put in some work, and build a bike for myself to use while in town.  Continue Reading