Saturday, February 13, 2010

Moose Creek Loop

High today (FAI): 16 F
Low today (FAI): -9 F
Mileage: 37
Holy crap, that one kicked my butt! Funny now that I am back at home after a meal at Hilltop, I feel pretty good actually. Out on the trail though, I was beginning to struggle. I'm almost positive it was due to a calorie deficit. Today I went out to ride a 37 mile loop with Helena and Robbie - a seismologist from Australia just visiting Alaska for a couple of weeks. This will have marked my longest winter ride yet - scary being that the 100 mile race is in five weeks. I was totally pumped to find people to ride this with, because I was going to do this today, solo or accompanied.
The three of us at the trailhead ready to rock n roll.

We had an absolutely beautiful day, but not quite as warm as we were expecting. The 16 miles to Moose Creek were an absolute breeze, getting in there in about 2 hours and 40 mins.. averaging 6mph which I don't think is too bad for the hilly terrain and stopping to take photos.
We stopped in the Moose Creek cabin for awhile since it was empty, made a small fire to warm the extremities, and eat lunch out of the wind.
Then, the fun began. We took the Moose Creek trail, a 9-mile connector trail which ends back at the Wickersham Trail shelter, and we got our butts kicked. Well, it was in better shape than the Lil' Su course last year, but really ripped up in spots from a 4-wheeler. I figured that the pushing a bike is good for me but I was concerned a little bit about the joy that came to the others from pushing a bike several miles through soft snow. But as you can see, I couldn't have asked for more excited people to be out on bikes with.
Robbie lowers the pressure on his tires to get through the soft snow.

Helena still smiling!
Above photo courtesy of Helena

Lucky for us, the scenery was incredible and the sun was shining down on us (requiring shades!) so it was more enjoyable than it would have been had it been raining or cloudy or something. We were all pretty wiped by the end of that trail though, because even the rideable parts (which was the majority of it), was very fatiguing fighting with soft snow and finding a line of least resistance. So, we ended up at the junction of the shelter, with 11 miles left, and slowing down considerably. The sun had gone down so we had only a bit of daylight left. We finally had to turn lights on at the top of the Wickersham wall, and had about 6 miles left to go. Doesn't sound like much but it was tough to get through the darkness portion. It was difficult to know where the hills were and how long and steep they were, which was tough mentally because you don't know how much energy to expend on a section of trail. Ned and Poops were waiting for us in the last mile of trail and my morale went up 500% when we saw them, amazing what a familar face will do and knowing that you are so close to the end!
Overall, it was a very good ride and a little kick in the face for what I still need to do. Did I mention that my riding buddies were AWESOME?!


Heike said...

Well done!!! You will kick some serious booty in 5 weeks :)

Patty V said...

Great Job, Julsie!