Thursday, February 19, 2009
Bill and I went out to Point McKenzie to set up our winter training camp on Friday afternoon. We had only 2 students Kevin Hill from Canada and Yair Kellner from Australia, but we had a great time with them despite the warm weather and all the new snow on the trail. Gear testing was all about how it worked in this soggy wet conditions. I was actually able to watch the start of the Susitna 100 race and the Little Su 50 K race at the Point McKenzie store. I met a lot of our friends that were in the race. The trails for the race were soft and rather slow, despite that the bikers Bill Fleming, Greg Matayas and Janice Tower in the 100 mile and Billy Koitzsch in the 50 K finished in an amazing time. The skiers were definetly having the edge this year with snowy trails and warm temperatures perfect for sking. We cheered on racers from our camp in the trees just before Flathorn Lake and spent 5 days out on the trail testing gear and riding the trail to the Yentna River where Kroto Slough joins the trail on Tuesday when the trails finally firmed up some. Despite a tire failure on one of the bikes and a broken snow machine the winter school was a great success.
Thanks to Kevin Hill and Yair Kellner who were great campers and riders!
How different it can be,last week in Willow with -20 F and this week at up to 35 F.
We met Eric Parsons and Brij Potnis on the trail and had a good visit.
Conditions can vary so much. They are supposed to get two more feet of snow in the Alaska Range, we will see what this year's race has to offer us. It is never the same twice for sure.
We eat well!
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
It has been very busy for us gearing up for the 9th annual Iditarod Trail Invitational.
We were able to sneak up to Willow for the 25 mile Va Moose bike race.
The last year and this year so far has been really good to us. The race roster filled up early in November of 2008. Our first winter training camp in November on the Iditarod Trail was a success and we had a great article and video in the New York Times. It has been so exciting to see the winterbike scene and winter ultra races grow so much over the last few years.
The race is growing in popularity locally, with more bike shops in Anchorage offering snow bikes And other smaller winter races such as the 25 mile bike race in Willow during the Willow Winter Carnival, a full Susitna 100 and Su 50K race
AND in the Lower 48 with new and exciting winter races such as the Arrowhead 135 in Minesota
And even overseas, with more international athletes signed up this year.
There has also been a lot of interest already for the 2010 and the 2011 races.
I decided to take a year off from racing myself and will be reporting from McGrath this year.
I think it will be great to see the athletes ariving into McGrath and interview them and post pictures on the website. It will give the race live reporting and what is going on the race course.
I am truly looking forward to that opportunity again.
Even though I am not on the trail racing I will be out there with the racers.
We will have a leaderboard, message board, sleepmonsters reports and MTB podcasts again.
I will post the links to all those sites on the website before the race.
Starting Saturday we will be out on the Iditarod Trail again for another 5 day winterbike training camp through Fabruary 18th.
I will be at the Point McKenzie store and watch the start of the Susitna 100 on the 14th at 9:00 AM where so many of our friends will be that have signed up the the 100 mile race.
On Saturday Feb. 21 we will collect all the drop bags for Fingerlake, Rohn and for the Nome racer's Iditarod drop at Alaskan European B&B at 3107 Cottonwood Street.
Bill will take those and the food & supplies for Puntilla and Rohn to Willow the next day to fly them out to the checkpoint locations with Denali Flying Service.
Our pre race meeting will be February 28th, at the Golden Lion Best Western Hotel in the Kenya Room at 2:00 PM.
It will be a very busy time for us between now and then, but it is always the most exiting time of the year for sure.
The big bus will leave the Golden Lion Best Western Hotel at 11:00 AM Sunday morning March 1 and take all the racers to the starting line on Knik Lake.
But finally the race will take off at Knik Lake on March 1 at 2:00 PM.
Looking forward to seeing everyone off again for another great race!