Saturday, January 28, 2006

I love neoprene

Date: Jan. 27
Mileage: 18.6
January mileage: 418.4
Temperature upon departure: -4

Today was, well ... it was a bright, sunny day. Mercury hit somewhere around -4, but strong, blasting winds out of the north (for my ride today, a direct side wind both ways) really upped the shock factor. Then, atop hardpacked ice roads, there were the 35 mph descents. Brrrrr. Pretty safe to say, that was the coldest ride yet. At least, the coldest until tomorrow. Geoff and I drove up to Palmer today. And barring any unforeseen events, tomorrow we will ride pieces of the Susitna 100 course. The actual Iditarod trail. It's the reason we drove up here, so it will be hard to talk ourselves out of it. Temperature right now ... -12.

I've learned to love my neoprene gear above all. Face, hands and feet are all protected by a thin layer of that stuff, and it's simply amazing. Today, all I wore on my hands were a pair of neoprene gloves - the very same ones kayakers wear. I brought a pair of mittens with me, but I never needed them. My hands were toasty. I can't say the same about patches of my face that accidentally became exposed while I was adjusting my goggles. Today, I also learned how quickly skin can freeze. I'm definitely going to be more careful tomorrow.

Anyway, we finally arrived in Palmer pretty late tonight, so I should probably cut this post short. We went to the University of Alaska Anchorage Folk Fest. We had to sit through clogging but we saw a friend of ours play in her 14-member old-timey string band. We also saw a great bluegrass band called the South Austin Jug Band. Bunch of Texans visiting Alaska during a January cold snap. But they sure could play. Good times.


  1. Congrats on being in the TOP TWO in Spinner, Jill! You are working your tail off for the Susitna! If heart and drive have anything to do with winning, you have those in SPADES! Keep it up, and DEFINATELY let me know how you do! If you wouldn't mind, Jill, shoot me an email to gunsel2001(AT)yahoo(DOT)com as there area couple of questions I'd like to ask for a feature article for my well as possible submission to our local paper if you wouldn't mind!

  2. South Austin Jug Band! One of my favorites! Hope to see them soon when they get back home (to Austin).

  3. I hope your ride on the race trail is a good one. If you're passing through town on your way south tomorrow, you and Geoff should stop to join us at Goose Lake for the Frigid Bits race. Do a few laps and loosen up those legs before the long haul back to Homer. If you're feeling worked after today's ride, just stop by and say hello. You'll meet a couple of folks you're likely to see at other bike events around the Kenai and Southcentral.

    Goose Lake is only a few blocks out of your way. If you want directions or other information, drop me a note at and I'll give you all the dirt and a cell number in case you have any trouble. The race starts at 2 p.m., but we'll be hanging out and riding laps for an hour or so before that.

  4. I'm looking forward to the ride report on that one. Best of luck on the trail. Yeah, my fam in Eagle River say it's pretty frosty there too. Good luck not freezing to death.

  5. I'm looking forward to the ride report on that one. Best of luck on the trail. Yeah, my fam in Eagle River say it's pretty frosty there too. Good luck not freezing to death.

  6. Dude!!!
    I found the perfect bike for you!
    My dad is at the Outdoor Retailer show for the industry in Salt Lake City right now and he found something called a Snomobike. Some guy from Portland has invented it. Here's the link:
    Retail is $1500... WAY too steep in my opinion. But a pretty cool idea.

  7. That's not a snow bike. It's scrap metal in denial. Here's a snow bike that's actually a bike:

    I saw the builder, Mark Gronewald, in an Anchorage shop this afternoon and checked out his latest build. You want to chug through some snow, get one of those babies.

  8. Damn.
    Those are some big tires!
    But I liked the snowmobike concept... maybe it'd be a good tourist toy.

  9. There's always the Pugsley too. Four-inch tires... just think... it'd be like a bulldozer.

  10. Nice to meet you guys today over at Goose Lake. Folkfest was pretty sweet this year. I was going to go again tonight, but ended to the hockey game instead.


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