Sunday, March 11, 2007

Summer dreams

Daylight Savings Time always gets me dreaming about spring. Why did it have to come so early this year? We logged another 9-10 inches of snowfall today to add on to our 50 inches in March alone and 200 so far this season. That stuff stacks up and always seems to take its sweet time melting. So spring is nowhere near my horizon. Might as well dream about summer.

I think I have my 2007 endurance race season planned out. It’s a meager one for sure ... probably another trilogy this year, with a few long independent rides and maybe a mountain running race or two thrown in. The Susitna 100 has come and gone, so here are the other two:

24 Hours of Light (June 23-24?):
I know close to nothing about this race. I don’t even know exactly when it is. But I do know that it’s around the solstice and it’s in Whitehorse, Yukon, which is a small jump across the pond from Juneau. The only description the Web site gives is “No lights allowed (or required) ... Ride sweet singletrack and rolling terrain all night long with the glow of the sun as your guide.” It sounds like the 24 Hours of Kincaid with Canadians. Let the good times roll!

I wish I had a chance to ride more 24-hour mountain bike races. I live for the challenge of self-supported wilderness events, but the setup of a 24 gives me a place to shine. They’re perfect for me ... I’m not fast, but I can ride long stretches of time without stopping. Middle-of-the-night sleepiness is not a problem for me. Technical trail is only a problem if I’m unfamiliar with it and dogged by my typical lack of confidence. But give me 16 identical laps, and I’m bouncing off ledges with the best of them. In short, I actually love solo riding the hamster runs. But only one of them is within my reach this year.

So my other race is:

The Fireweed 400 (July 6-7):
I know. They’re so close together. That’s how it goes. I’ll probably ride this race one way or another. If Geoff gets into the Mount Marathon race, we'll turn it into a mini vacation and fly out together. I’ll ride the full 400 if I can find a willing (and therefore crazy) support crew. A friend in Anchorage is trying to help me recruit right now (If you’re in the Anchorage area, and you think hours of hours of puttering behind me in a rental car sounds like fun, drop me a line) If not, I’ll ride the 200 and consider an unofficial ride back.

This is a pretty serious roadie event - possibly the largest in Alaska - and I look forward to showing up at Sheep Mountain with my $600 flat-bar touring bike with its platform pedals and 27 gears, wearing running shoes and a big backpack so I can pretend that there’s not some petroleum-powered vehicle shadowing me the whole time. I do plan to train hard so I can ride it seriously - you know, at least come in before the cutoff. I have no idea what kind of pace I can maintain on a road bike. This is what makes this race so appealing to me. It's such a new concept for me.

Everything else is tentative. The Soggy Bottom 100 is in September, but it’s a lot of effort and money for me to take a weekend off work and buy a plane ticket to Anchorage, so it’s unlikely I’ll be able ride it this year. Same goes for any race in the Lower 48. The one exception is a trip to Utah I am planning, likely during the first week of May. Every year, Fat Cyclist and his friends put together a “Ride Around the White Rim in One Day” extraveganza, but I think RAWROD 2007 is in April. I’d like to organize one of my own White Rim assaults, but don’t have a friend in the world who would be willing to do it with me. So if you live in Salt Lake/Moab/Denver ... or anywhere, really ... and are interested in meeting in Moab for a self-supported (No vehicle. Carry all water and food) single-day ride around the White Rim trail sometime between May 4 and May 9, please comment below or send me an e-mail. I am serious about organizing this. And it would be cool to ride with some of my Mountain-West-based blogger friends if you're available (Dave Nice? Chris Plesko? Dave Chenault? Anyone? Bueller?). Anyone interested can reach me at


  1. Hummmmm its a bit close after Trans Iowa and a bit close before KTR i'll have to think about that one... Ranger rick shut us down earlier this year so White rim and I have some unfinished biz! =)

    +i got too damn cold on that ride in Jan!

  2. i actually won't be able to do the standard RAWROD this year, since my sister's wedding is the exact same day. so i'm looking to put together an alternate rawrod with other folks who can't make the 4/28 date work. 5/4-9 dates sound as good as any other time. email me ( and let's figure it out.

  3. Used to be a race called The Midnight Sun 600K - Anchorage to Fairbanks. Had to do it in <= 24 hours to qualify as a finisher. It was a RAAM qualifying event. Don't know if it's still an event, I lost track of it in ~1998, but if so that'd be a dandy.

  4. I'm interested in doing it but I'll have to see how things go between now and then. I don't think I've done a ride over 1.5 hours since October. I spent the weekend using a demo saw and chipping hammer to make a doorway through my foundation into the basement. This my cycling off year to work on all the stuff I haven't done the last couple years while training for RAAM.

    Are they moving the Soggy Bottom 100 to September for this year? I thought last year it was the end of July. My wife is wanting to come to Alaska this summer since my sister is talking of moving back here the end of the summer. I'm crewing for RAAM so it would be hard for me to do the Fireweed 400. I was even thinking it would be hard to do the Soggy Bottom but if it's later maybe it would work.

  5. Id love to do the Rim Trail ride, I will be riding there a couple weeks earlier though. If my plans change I will certainly let you know.

  6. Jill,
    You were the only nominated sports blogger actually DOING what you wrote about. They need a new category for bloggers like you so you can win it next year!

  7. Have you considered the Fruita Fat Tire Fest about a week earlier?

  8. hmmm .... never been to Moab, and I am so needy for a vacation. I think I am supposed to ride a century 5/6 ... drat.

  9. Dude. Montezuma's Revenge.

    I've done 24 Hours of Light up in Whitehorse twice. Super cool race. At midnight everybody rides nude and gets credit for 2 laps for the price of one. It's a race with a fun focus, but you can make it as burly as you want. Plus, no lights...simple!

  10. Like Dave said it's close to after TransIowa which makes it hard because I'll be recovering maybe and because it means traveling another weekend. I can however throw it together at the last minute if things work out and join you. I would prefer that Sat or Sun. Taking a day off would make it not feasable for me.

  11. Tell your support crew to rent a Cadillac or some other comfy car. My back was so sore after crewing 24+ hours in my Honda CR-V. The sharp, shooting pain was kinda good because it kept me awake for the drive back to Anchorage.

    Sitting in a car that long was horrendous I don't think I could do 400 miles on a bike. I might want to reproduce again one day.


Feedback is always appreciated!