Barely Making a Bear of a Climb

Hi All,

First riding day in Alaska was a tough one. No such thing as a warm up ride on this trip! Our guides are two very cool dudes, who are doing everything right and great to make this a terrific trip. There are 11 of us from all over the US and one lady from the UK. Varying levels of biking skills, but everyone has someone to ride with.

Beginning at about noon, we covered nearly 50 miles, starting in Palmer and ending in Wasilla, almost all of it in the cold and rain. For you conservative types, you’ll recognize Wasilla as the home of Sarah Palin. We rode past her home today, but didn’t stop. We weren’t dressed properly for dinner or drinks. We are staying in a Best Western literally down the street from her home.

Our ride consisted of 24 miles uphill, in the rain, beginning at sea level and finishing at 3750 ft elevation. Most of the climb was in the 5 – 7% range, but the last 5 miles were in the 8 to 13% range. It was truly one of the most challenging uphills I’ve done, but it was a great experience to do it. While I Barely Made it! I could not have made without the encouragement and help from Mike and Mary Rago. Thanks guys. I will have bragging rights on this bear of a climb for a long time. My quads SCREAMED for the last mile up, but they love the ride down.

The 15 mile descent was absolutely breathtaking! I don’t think I pedaled more than a few strokes in all that milage. It was a little scary because the road was very winding and very wet. No sightseeing on the way down. Only concentration and focus.

The temperature at the bottom was 57 degrees, dropping to 40 degrees at the top of Independence Mine Area. The wind chill on the way down was in the low 30s. Very cold, but we were layered up with clothes and jackets all day.

Take a look at the pictures–on the way up we went through gorgeous lush and green rainforest vegetation. Above the tree line it’s just mostly rocky with scrub brush in a delicate and difficult tundra type environment. Harsh to say the least.

Dinner was so-so tonight. Nothing to brag about. We are in Wasilla- they brag about Sarah. Pretty much that’s it. Definitely not about the food.

The bike I’m riding is incredible fun. More on that in the next post.

It’s 10:42 pm. I cannot keep my eyes open, yet it’s still daylight. Weird.

Here’s some pictures to enjoy. More tomorrow. Nite nite.





Categories: Travel and Life's Adventures

5 replies

  1. Lou, your trip sounds AMAZING! Stay safe and continue to have fun.

  2. Sounds like great fun !?! And all of this is in the rain. Makes it so much better.

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