Wild dreams, wild plans, all over with before we knew it.
I was planning on doing the race for the last year, but actual plans did not come together until days before the race. Obligations and life were pulling hard at my "free" time. But the plan.. oh the plan.. it was just too good to NOT attempt. Luc Mehl's psyched factor helped lots with motivation. I owe it to him for pulling it all together at the last minute.
Anyway, bike around the Granite Mountains on ATV trails, then up the Delta river gravel bars, then bash and bike up the Black Rapids glacier. Switch to skis at snowline and tow the bikes in the inflated packrafts. Cross over into either the Susitna-Nenana, or all the way to the Yanert. Float out. 4ish days. beautiful & maybe even competitive. Unfortunately both mechanical woes and weather put a damper on things and we only made it to the Richardson highway.
Luc and I at the start are we missing any sports here? a kite maybe? paragliders? We got a lot of looks with the multi-sport approach and anti-light weight thinking.
But then mud bogged for a few hours. Chris, Bobby, Tyler, Chunk and others leap froged with us since we were slower with all the crap.
About 6 hours later we pulled away from every one on better, drier trails with some decent climbs.
Crossing Jarvis Creek... Luc is actually smiling here.
Covering ground on old moraine...
Route finding got tricky, we were on this roller coaster ATV trail that was taking up alot of our energy with the climbs. So we pondered other routes. During a really minor little brush crossing this happened:
Major Drag. Both single speed gear options did not work. The bike was toast, then it started raining... hard.. and did not stop for the next 10 hrs. We got soaked and ran the trails, then down to the pipeline, then all the way to Donnley and signed into the one and only checkpoint of the race. We were somehow still the first ones there, but it did not matter much.. I was not about to push my bike up and over the black rapids glacier and the weather was not inspiring. That about does it. Chunk and Tyler tried the BR route but turned around from a wall of rain that was engulfing the Alaska range. So I don't feel so bad. The PJ's and a guy from Fairbanks are still out there on the normal route. Probabaly totally killing it with nobody chasing them.
Over with before I knew it. Psyched for redemption next August...