About Me

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My name is J and i currently live in Anchorage, Alaska. Im not going to share much of worthless details about my past life, however i will post about my daily grind, random gear opinions, travels, racing and other crap on this blog. This blog is designed as a connector with my family and friends, memories and experience vault, as well as a means of sharing any info, which may be in interest of a public.

Here it goes

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

White Mountains 100

I got into the WM100 race this year. It is open to about 65 bikers, 10 skiers and 10 runners due to capacity restriction of the checkpoints. So there is a lottery for all the interested racers every year and if you lucky enough you will get in. I was couple places under the cut off, but i got in because some people canceled.

The race is held about 35 miles north of Fairbanks in White Mountains. It is definitely colder up there than here in Anchorage so i was pretty worried what the temperature is going to be like. I mean how cold it is going to get. On the way up to Fairbanks i stop at the Denali viewpoints and snap couple pics.
Denali South Viewpoint
Denali North Viewpoint
The race actually starts on Sunday, but there is a mandatory meeting on Saturday afternoon. The atmosphere of the event was really cool from beginning. Everybody is really talkative and sharing the info from the past races along with some advises.

Preparation for the race

 The Race itself is held on the snow machine trails and there are about 5 checkpoints evenly spread out over the course. You have to climb over the Cache Mountain Pass which everyone call The Divide. The Divide is half point of the way and it is the highest elevation on the course. The first half of the race is all up and down and along with the above mentioned climb to conquer the Divide make up the most of the about 8000 feet of descent of the race. Once you get over the divide you will be flying down until about mile 90 where you hit so called The Wall! The Wall is a very steep climb which I believe gain about 800 feet over 1 mile. You just want to shoot yourself by that time and not to be climbing the Wall!

Start of the Race
Sunrise at the Start of the Race

Anyhow, I really enjoy the bike ride. I mean it was not without the pain, but man it is beautiful up there! The temperature at the start was about 0 Fahrenheit, but it went down to -15 on the first part of the course and that is when i made a fatal mistake and unzipped my jacket! Part of my camel-back tube got exposed and froze. Well,I did not drink a drop of water for the first 39miles (4 hours). So here I'm at mile 30 and cramps are starting taking the fun out of the race. I made it to the second checkpoint and chug a liter of coke and water, recoup and went to conquer the divide. I did not get rid of the cramps for the rest of the race, but it was manageable.

Race map
 Race profile


The Wall was a treat, as i mentioned previously, but other than that the rest of the ride was pretty mellow. I crossed the finish line somewhere under 11h, which i was happy with as my plan was either under the 12 hours or finish before dark. Every finisher got the buckle, which i think is really cool prize. I love my Buckle!!

Finisher Buckle

However, my adventure was not over yet. I crossed the finish line, but i still had a 7hours drive to Anchorage. So I chow down a hotdog chug 3 beers, just kidding i actually chug 3 sparkling waters or whatever that was, and went on my merry way. I was lucky enough that almost entire way home there were norther lights out! Pretty awesome views.

Northern Lights-It is hard to get good pic

Friday, March 24, 2017

Rush to the Knik

There is several glaciers around Anchorage which can be access by fatbike over the winter. The key word is "winter". This is the first year since we arrived to Alaska when we have real winter, which opened up all these possibilities to pedal to and on the glaciers. My crush is on two of the staples around here, Knik and Spencer glaciers. I still have to find a time to go to Spencer, but I went to Knik week ago and it was pretty sweet.

We started our adventure just of the Old Glenn Highway at Jim Creek parking lot. The weather was perfect between 10 to 25 F despite my initial worry when i saw the temperature in my car -4F when we were crossing Knik bridge which is about mile away from the parking lot. Anyhow, the plan was take it easy to the glacier and hammer on the way back with some necessary photo time spent at the face of glacier.

The trail was in the perfect condition, hard packed and wind swept so we were flying about 14 miles per hour. Oh, the distance to the glacier from Jim Creek is about 21 miles. There is couple parts where you are biking on the glare ice and i can tell you that you better have studded tires or you will pay with some bruises as i did. I wiped out about four times, but luckily no injury. So we made it to the glacier in about hour and fifty minutes as the last 7 miles were through the snow drifts which slow you down to crawl.

I don't even need to mention this but the glacier is just spectacular. Blue ice, ice caves, frozen icebergs in the lake and sunshine were the highlights of the day. We took little loop around the lake and headed back by different rout which was more eastward located to connect back to the original path 5 miles down the road. At this point we were flying 15-16 miles per hour and  about 7 miles from the finish i was getting pretty tired, but still had some legs to do extra little 5 mile loop by the parking lot to check out the playground for the local off-roaders.

It is a great way to go see a glacier, if the condition are solid, its pretty smooth riding despite the longer distance. Also it helps that the total elevation gain is under 800 feet so pretty much flat course as it is mostly on the riverbed.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Little Su 50K suffer fest

I did the Little Su 50K fat bike race as last year. I ended up at the same place as last year as if matter, but what was very different as compare to last year were the conditions.

And i mean very very different. It was all hard pack or ice last year so you could buzz along very quickly. if I'm not mistaken it took me about 2 hours and 8 minutes last year. Also if i recall correctly i started cramping up at about 40-45KM into the race last time, which was not really a big deal as all can happen is that you loose the finish sprint.

Well this time around we got some fresh snow throughout the entire week leading to the race so the trails were soft and chopped up by snow machines. it was a slow going for me and pushing uphills. I also run a very low tire pressure which does not help to your speed either. I started cramping up about 20km into the race. i was totally surprised by that. By the 35km slowly rolled around i was almost unable to paddle due to multiple cramps. Not a pretty picture of me. I finished with the pain in my face at about 3hours and 40minutes pretty much one hour and 30minutes slower than last year.

All in All it was a good test for White Mountains 100 miles race which is scheduled for end of the March. Yeah i definitely need to do more biking before that.

here is the map of the course:

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Chena Hot Springs

We, J and J, decided that instead of spending money on over-the-top presents, we will burn it on a trip. I was more than happy with this decision as our house is littered with crap which we do not use.
Also i really enjoy to plan the trips. Well, i usually do not plan well the details as logistics and accommodations but i love researching the opportunities what we can do and see on the way and at the location.

We decided to go to Chena Hot Springs which is a resort on the end of the road 60 miles north east of Fairbanks AK. This place is well known between the locals as the place to go when deep winter is throwing -40 F at you on daily bases.

The resort is literally in the middle of nowhere and it is built around hot springs pools. This location is also known as a fantastic place to watch norther lights. There is an outside hot spring pool, which is not actually a pool rather that is more of a tiny lake. I have no idea what is the water temperature but it is hot and you will not be cold even when it hits -40 (as it did). You will get your hair all frosted over and bag for a beanie. The best time to go is right at 7 am when its opening as you will enjoy entire place for yourself. If you like more of a party time than go after 8 pm as you will be in a company of buzzed people which the hot water eventually turn into being wasted.

The resort has a restaurant and cafe so you will not go hungry plus its about an hour drive from Fairbanks and Fox, where you can hit up Hoodoo or Silver Gulch breweries. Also do not miss out on Alaska Coffee Roasting Company in Fairbanks, which is great bakery and coffee shop.

The resort rooms are quiet expensive if you compare the price versus what you get. The rooms are outdated and walls are paper thin so bring some ear plugs as this place get crazy. There is bunch of activities which you can burn your cash on. You can visit ice museum and drink appletini at the ice bar, go mushing, go hiking/snowshoeing, fly to some remote village above arctic circle, take a trip in a snow cat to watch northern lights and other touristy delights.

I do like the hot springs itself. Well actually, i really like that its -40F and you are sweating balls in this place which would be freaking awesome if left undeveloped. However, it's not the case and the Chena Hot Springs Resort should do couple upgrades before they ask their clients to pay this kind of prices.