August 21, 2009

Anchorage Hillside Single Track

Batting one thousand in baseball is a mathematic figment, but a statistically insignificant possibility. Yet, my survey on the Anchorage Hillside Single Track Phase 1 is unanimous, albiet anectdotal. Hillside Single Track bats 1000 and packs a very ridable, thrilling and fun set of 3 loops into a surprisingly small area.

Doc & Mrs. Snow were on the trails yesterday evening with another 100 cyclists including yours truly spread out over the system. Again it was unanimous that these trails are fantastic!

The trails are exceptionally well designed for mountain biking with mostly easy ascending gradients. High speeds on a motocross-like surface combine with limited line of sight for some thrilling descents where keeping both wheels on the ground is optional. And the many high-banked turns are fast and fun.

Keep an eye out for moose, bears, hikers, and uphiller bikers and enjoy this Anchorage jewel on the hillside.

Map of Anchorage Hillside Single Track link:

August 3, 2009

Resurrect Your Will and Pedal

Resurrection Pass is a classic cross-country mountain bike route from Cooper Landing to Hope, Alaska on the Kenai Penninsula. It passes through lake-bejeweled country starting in the Kenai River Valley's rich conifer and birch forests, wending up through upland spruce and hemlock groves, tall grass, willow and fireweed, to alpine tundra, and descending back down to near tidewater elevation. Over its 40-mile length, it has a gross climb of 2500 ft vertical with a 2800 ft descent, though there are considerable ups and downs along the way - my typically reliable altimeter recorded 3800 ft vertical descent.

TK graciously helped shuttle cars before floating the Kenai River; we only had to bike from Cooper Landing to our car at Hope and drive home. It was so nice to simply load up at Hope and head home - Thanks TK, you're too kind!

Doc led CW and yours truly on the classic cross-country tour, the federal people call it the "Resurrection Pass National Recreational Trail." Thankful as we were for the excellent trail, we wondered aloud why the federal government would place signs 10 miles from the nearest road asking us to please stay on the trail.

The fireweed was a sight to behold. Perfect weather combined with spectacular scenery and fun trail to create a terrific trip.

The SoggyBottom bike race was held the day before our one-way trip. Those guys do a round trip plus a 20-mile side trip for 100 miles of arduous riding, way beyond my level.

We detected a slight undercurrent of unfriendliness from a few of the hikers who had been on the trail the prior day. Some hikers described the bike race as "crazy". It is only one day per year for the race, and you won't find me on the trail that day.

We found immense enjoyment in the ride, suffered no crashes and only a couple of minor mechanical problems near the end of the ride with very minor delays. Pulling into Hope, we were happily tired.

August 2, 2009

My Friend, Ken

My friend, Ken, did not deserve cancer. For 8 years, he beat the odds, bravely battling, but it is with deep sadness that I report his passing.

Ken was kind, considerate, athletic, wise, honest, well-mannered, admired, strong, inspirational. I wish I could be more like him.

I know Ken ascended to a better place, but we grieve his passing from our earthly lives. Memories of Ken live on and provide inspiration. I should say more, but words I cannot find for I only have tears.