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