Sunday, August 18, 2013

Beam Me Up

Whenever I come across one of these relics, I think it should have a sticker that says, “My Other Bike is a DeLorean.”

Allsop dreamed up the suspension “beam” 20 years or so ago, in an era when the concept of suspension was so new that many people thought it would be cheaper and more efficient to “suspend the rider, not the bike.” Hell, I worked with an aerospace engineer in those days, and he knew I was a bike geek, so he once excitedly told me how he thought this was a brilliant concept, and he had ideas on how to do it. He thought it was the future of mountain biking.

The problem was that such well-intentioned folks didn’t realize that suspension is about more than rider comfort. It’s also about control and performance at speed, and that means keeping the tires in contact with the ground. You can’t just have a bike bouncing all over the damned place, even if the rider is comfortably cushioned by a flexible carbon-fiber beam and a spring-loaded stem. 

But you have to respect Allsop’s commitment. I mean, look at that bike frame. It was as if someone said, “Seatposts? Bitch, please! Our idea is so damn good, you’ll never need one. We’re goin’ balls to the wall and building a bike that is 100 percent dependent on a $200 doo-dad that’ll float your ass in ‘Softride’ comfort, dude! Seatposts are SO ’80s. Fuck ’em!”

This stuff was either going to be The Bomb, or it was simply going to bomb. We all know how that turned out. Allsop now manufacturers towing accessories, and bike racks for cars.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Time to ride

It has been all mountain bikes, all the time since I put away my road bike after the Fireweed, and anyone crazy enough to occasionally check this blog might recognize that my neglect is a sure sign of a good summer.

Heather just can't get enough of her bikes.

Who has time to blog when the weather's warm and the trails are dry? Hell, I haven't had much time to think of many blog topics, much less write them. Anchorage trails, Crescent Lake and Resurrection Pass have all been getting my attention, with Lost Lake and a couple more on my to-do list.

Last weekend, friends and I were in Hope for the annual sufferfest known as the Soggy Bottom, which lured Moab's coolest fifth-grade teacher -- Pete Basinger -- back to Alaska for a visit. 

Pete goes hunting for some mayhem.

I chatted with Pete after his sub-11-hour finish, when he looked relaxed and unmarred despite a hard crash. He chronicled the whole thing over on his blog, which is actually up to date. Go check it out.

Monday, July 29, 2013

From Paris with love

Just when this ol' blog was dying on the vine because we're having a killer summer and I've been too busy riding to screw around on my laptop, we have a new submission to the Fabulous Finger Gallery, and it comes from Oscar the Grouch, who was recently in "gay Pair-ee."

Lest ye think this is another example of Americans misbehaving in a foreign country and giving the French one more reason to hate us, I remind you the photographer is a Spaniard. On the other hand, I think I know whose finger that is, and she could be stirring up trouble.

There's just something about vacations that bring this shit out of people. Hell, time in Paris even knocked some of the Grouch out of Oscar. He sent this photo with a note that said, "From Paris with love. Or something like that." 

I felt a little tear in my eye.

Right back atchya with a wink, Big Fella!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

90 percent mental, half physical

Now that a few days—and a couple of “recovery rides” have passed—the Fireweed 200 is starting to seem like a fuzzy, demented memory. My body feels normal again, and I’m riding my mountain bike on singletrack, which is why I got into this sport in the first place. Road riding? What’s that?

Heather and I re-enter the wind tunnel.

But I keep seeing this picture that my friend Julie shot during the race, and it brings things back.

Heather and I were rolling back onto the Richardson Highway after a break. We had about 150 miles behind us. The headwinds were beating us to a pulp. And there, in the mountains, was a huge blanket of fog draped over Thompson Pass (in the upper-right portion of this photo). That’s where we were going, and pretty much everything about that portion of ride was already a big bucket of suckage. That high, looming fog reminded us that things were going to get worse before they got better.

Most of my epic rides have been in the mountains, where quitting isn’t an option. If you want the pain to end, you have to get your ass to the trailhead. But I’ve never really been sure what keeps a road rider going when the suffering gets bad and he could simply say, “This isn’t fun. This is stupid. Fuck it.”

People have told me that it’s all mental, and I guess it is. For months, I kept reminding myself that the Fireweed was going to hurt, and there would be times when I’d question the point of continuing. I knew that if I’d quit, the feeling of failure would have haunted me all winter. So I didn’t allow it to be an option. There was no doubt that we’d get to Valdez if we could just cowboy up and keep riding.

It hurt, and we suffered in those headwinds. But in a weird way, sitting here in the comfort of this chair, it doesn’t seem like it was that bad.

But that could just be the wine talking because, as Leonard said this week, “That ride was a head-windy bitch.”

Monday, July 15, 2013


Ken and Julie rock the SAG wagon.
The Fireweed 200 ain't easy. Rough pavement and hard climbs beat up your body. Brutal headwinds punish your muscles and your morale. Huge, nasty, wheel-grabbing cracks in the asphalt never let you relax. But a good crew can keep you going with calories, electrolytes, painkillers and encouraging humor.

This year's event is history, and I'm sure I'll have another blog post or two as I sort through the memories, but for now I'll just say thanks to the crew that helped Heather and I keep pedaling when the shit hit the fan. (And it was a big fan, that blew hard.)

Ken is the guy who lives with the mixed blessing of being married to Heather. It's a mixed blessing because he's lucky to be married to her, but he also has to occasionally put up with her agreeing to do silly shit like this with me. 

Julie is the kind person and tough athlete who happens to be one of our best friends. She didn't have to be there on Saturday. But she was, and I was very grateful.

Until a person has experienced endurance events from both the saddle of a bike and the seat of a support car, it's hard to fully appreciate the importance of a good crew, and how hard they work. They do selfless work, tolerate racers' mood swings, and put in long hours to help friends reach the finish line. They are indispensable.

Saturday was a damn hard day. These two are a big reason Heather and I got through the longest ride of our lives.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

On the road again


It's time to do this thing. Road bikes have been devouring the summer while my Fireweed partner Heather and I have prepared for the 200-mile event this Saturday. But the training rides are done and it's time to git down to bidness. 

One more long day in the saddle, which should be made easier with the great crew of her hubby Ken and our friend Julie, then it'll be all mountain bikes, all the time for the rest of the season. I might not see a 23c again until next April. 

There are two things I expect in this ride: Good times, and bad times. And as my ultra-distance-freak friend Leonard has often pointed out, neither one will last. Good times come, and they go. Bad times come, and they go, too. 

The best we can hope for is that Heather will be strong when I'm weak, I'll be strong when she's weak, and we'll both arrive in Valdez tired but safe. At the end of the day, it's all about the ride, and the cold beer after the finish. 

See you in Valdez, muthafuckas.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Chasing Trail

Nothing I could write tonight would be more entertaining than this new video starring Anchorage's Kevin Murphy riding the shit out of the singletrack at Kincaid on a fat bike. Treat yourself to an awesome couple of minutes.

Chasing Trail | Alaska fat bike on Pinkbike

Monday, July 01, 2013

Lessons from the road

The final long training ride is done. Heather and I spent Saturday riding 162 miles to make sure we’re ready for the Fireweed 200. We’re there. H rode like a high-octane machine, and two days after a hard effort, I’m tired but feeling no pain.

Now it’s time to taper. What better opportunity to share the lessons I’ve learned from this experience (so far)?

  • Long-distance riding is a great escape from reality. There’s a beautiful freedom in having nothing to do but ride and eat for hours at a time.
  • A person can get REALLY hungry two days after a really long ride.
  • All bike shorts are not created equal.
  • There is such a thing as too much chamois cream.
  • Use a metric assload of chamois cream anyway.
  • Flats suck. (I already knew this. I just like repeating it.)
  • The food in Hope, Alaska, is pretty good, but it tastes better when you ride there to get it.
  • It’s fun to drink gin and tonics in the bar car on the Alaska Railroad train from Seward to Anchorage. (I assumed this. I just liked confirming it.)
  • Good riding partners are always important, but even more important after 100 miles. If you can end a marathon day with a friend who lapses into giddy laughter at the sheer insanity of it all, you’re doing it right.
  • I’m doing it right.
  • It’s highly entertaining to watch the reaction of “normal” people when you meet them at a roadside rest area, a restaurant, etc., and they ask how far you’re riding ... and you tell them.
  • I miss trail time, and plan to get dirty again very soon. I love bikes in all forms, but I’ll always be a mountain biker above all else.
Let's do this thing. See you in Valdez.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Sunny summer fingers

The Bike Monkee and Joe hang with da ladies at Devil's Pass cabin.
Tomorrow will be another long day on the bike for a pre-Fireweed training session, so I'm keeping today's blog update simple. Besides, we haven't had a new entry in the FFG in ... well, who knows how long it has been?

Too freakin' long, that's how long. 

If you happen to be on the road between Anchorage and Hope on Saturday, and you see a couple of tired riders looking like they could really use some hamburgers, give us a wave. Whether you use your whole hand or just one finger is up to you.

Long live long rides.

Heather lets me know how she feels about this Fireweed 200 bullshit.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Miles to go before she sleeps

Flounder, you can't spend your whole life worrying about your mistakes! 
You fucked up ... you trusted us!
—Otter, "Animal House" 

With 100 miles behind her, Heather finishes a climb outside Seward.
About a year and a half ago, my friend Heather fucked up. After drinking a lot of wine, she trusted me. When she woke up the next morning, I'm pretty sure she was filled with self-loathing.

Because the previous night, she had agreed to ride the Fireweed 200 with me this year. 
Heather realizes what she has done.

In her entire life, she had never ridden 100 miles in a day. And I had spent years saying there is never a valid reason to ride more than 100 miles at a time. But in the dark recesses of my twisted mind, something wanted to ride 200.

Correction: Something wanted to have ridden 200 miles in a day.

Now we're three weeks out from this year's Fireweed. Heather has been following a structured training program since January. I've been following my usual "ride my ass off and see what happens" training program. Her husband, Ken, has surely been muttering unpleasant things about both of us under his breath, and regretting the fact he didn't step in and stop me as I talked her into this shit while he was stretched out on the floor six feet away. 

On Friday, Heather and I both took the day off and rode 122 miles to Seward. Now she tells me that we have to spend next Saturday riding 160 miles from Anchorage to Hope and back.

Last night, after the wine was poured, a laptop was opened and we both became official entrants in the 200.

And the weird part is, I think we're actually ready to do this thing.

Or at least I sure as shit hope we are. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Shaken, not stirred

Saying goodbye with a foamy toast.
“The only way I’d drink beer up here is if it were dropped from an airplane,” I told friends last Friday as we settled in for the night at Devil’s Pass cabin on the Kenai Peninsula.
The first drop.
(This and top photo by Joe T.)

The line got a laugh from people who had spent the afternoon hiking and mountain biking about 10 miles up to the pass, but no one took it seriously until a couple of hours later, when a small plane passed high overhead, then banked and turned up the valley as it lost altitude. “Does anybody want a cold beer?” I asked.

The only thing better than a bike trip in the backcountry is a backcountry bike trip with an airdrop of food and beer. My friend Stacy had arranged this one with a friend of hers who has a plane and welcomes excuses to fly it. I had provided info on how to find the cabin, but was sworn to secrecy until the plane arrived and Stacy began chucking bundles of foam and duct tape out an open door.

The natives are thirsty. (Photo by Stacy S.)
They made drops on three passes, nailing perfect shots that made it easy to retrieve the bundles – two six-packs of cold beer, and a box of sandwiches and cookies.

“Oh my god, this is awesome,” Emilie said as we laughed and cut open the bundles. “Only in Alaska would you see something like this.”

I suppose it could be done anywhere, but she had a point. Alaska is full of private planes owned by the kind of people who think it's a cool idea to fly into the mountains and chuck beer at thirsty mountain bikers.

That's part of what makes this place great.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Puttin’ down routes

I like busy bike paths. I like them because I love to see people getting exercise and using bikes as transportation. And I’ve written on this blog about the fun of seeing other bike commuters on a regular basis, wondering about their stories and missing them when they disappear, even if we’ve never spoken a word to one another.

But this year, I detoured from my usual route for a few weeks during the spring thaw. I abandoned the popular Chester Creek trail, which is heavily wooded and tends to stay icy longer than some other options. I put together a series of paved paths and on-street bike lanes that makes for a nice commute between my home in the university area and my office downtown. Few other bike commuters seem to use any part of this route, but I've largely stuck with it.

Maybe it’s unpopular because it passes through Mountain View, a part of town that some people call “the Hood.” One old co-worker used to call it “Murder View.” That’s a bit harsh, but point taken: It’s not the most desirable part of Anchorage. When I see someone else on a bicycle there, it’s probably because it's his only option.

But for some reason, I like my funky new route. And I enjoy having it to myself. No one in Mountain View has ever hassled me, and the Ship Creek trail is a great path through woods, industrial zones, and over the railroad tracks. 

I’m more likely to see a moose or beaver than another bike commuter, so I’m free to lose myself in a podcast without any responsibility for smiling, waving or passing other riders. 

A morning commute that’s devoid of social interaction. For a guy who’s not a “morning person,” that’s a pretty sweet deal.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

The kindness of strangers

H exits the store while doing her best Blanche DuBois imitation.
Let's face it. After ibuprofen, Tums may be the most sought-after legal supplement among bicyclists. I've lost track of how many times friends have needed it to settle stomachs during races and long rides.

My friend H needed some during Sunday's hot, 103-mile ride, so when we hit our turnaround point in the little seaside town of Hope, we stopped at a store on what passes for "Main Street." We figured the store would stock Tums, along with other commonly requested things like lip balm and Band-Aids.

I still don't know if the store actually stocked the stuff for sale because, when H asked for them, the lady behind the counter simply dumped a few Tums tablets in a baggie and handed them over. No charge.

Shit like that is why people love small towns.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Born Again

The resurrection.
My old 2004 Specialized Epic served me well for thousands of miles. After I stripped it for parts to build my new 29er, it just didn’t look right to have the bare frame hanging from a hook in my garage. (This should come as no surprise to anyone who read my recent post about appreciating old gear.) 
 A work in progress.

So when my son started talking about getting his first bike in years because he wants to ride with a co-worker and get in shape before leaving for the police academy this summer, ideas started brewing. After only a few weeks of rest, it was time for the Epic to come out of retirement. 

The rear shock is in decent shape, and the Rock Shox fork is only two years old, so with a new set of pivots and bearings to put new life in the frame, there’s no reason this thing can’t put in a few more years on singletrack. 

Old parts were brought out of boxes in the garage. New parts were purchased. Used stuff was bought from a friend. Finally, I started dinking around for a couple of evenings and managed to rebuild the rear suspension pivots. Next thing I knew, I’d go out to spend a few minutes bolting on a part or two, and a couple of hours would pass. 

Before long, it started looking like a bicycle again. And then I was doing test rides on the street in front of my condo as I dialed in the shifting. 

In a couple of days, my son will stop by to pick up his “new” bike, and I’ll say goodbye to my old one. I’ll sort of miss it when it’s gone. 

But bikes exist to be ridden, not to collect dust in garages. Knowing this bike has a second life makes me feel good. And that’s Epic.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


A lot of people have worked hard in recent years to make Anchorage a more bike-friendly city. And we may not be a great biking city just yet but a lot of progress has been made, and the League of American Cyclists has recognized that fact by presenting its silver level award to Anchorage.

If you want to help celebrate the achievement, pedal on over to Cuddy Family Midtown Park tomorrow afternoon at 5:30. The muni will serve some snacks, some suits will speak, and you’ll probably have a chance to thank some folks who have been working to make your daily commute a little easier. 

Try to corner the mayor and tell him you want a gold award to be next, and that he should support pro-bicycle efforts. What's good for bikes is good for communities.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


I think it was about the time my hair on my head fell out and my beard turned gray that I started appreciating things that are well-worn, but not worn out. Funny how that distinction suddenly became important. 

But I love old stuff that still works. I can be fiercely loyal to a good piece of gear, sometimes even using it past the point at which it should have been tossed in a trash bin. I’ve been accused of being cheap – and maybe I am – but I enjoy the patina of hard use. I also feel good about using stuff for a long time instead of being quick to dispose of it. Call me a greenie. I hate waste. 

A couple of weeks ago, the zipper pulls finally snapped off the old neoprene shoe covers that I use in the fall and spring. I fixed one by attaching a zip-tie to pull the zipper up and down. The other zipper was so trashed that I resorted to operating it with pliers. I’ve been keeping a multi-tool at my office so I can take off my flippin’ shoe when I get to work. 

There’s something that’s just wrong about that. And something that’s just right.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Harden up and ride your chopper

Here’s the thing about bike commuting, especially in Alaska: Sometimes, the weather is far from perfect. And that’s OK. You can ride anyway.

Friday is Bike to Work Day, and the amazing people at Bicycle Commuters of Anchorage are already giving pep talks and encouraging riders not to give up just because the weather forecast looks cold and wet. We should all do the same. If you know someone who is second-guessing his or her plan to ride, give them The Speech. You know what it is.

Bike commuting looks cold when the weather sucks and you’re looking out a window at someone else on a bicycle. Remind your friends and co-workers that with good clothing and a healthy attitude, they’ll be plenty warm enough to enjoy the fun of being part of the crowd in bike lanes and bike paths, and stopping at Bike to Work Day stations for coffee and snacks.

Plus, as BCA already pointed out in its Facebook pep talk, anyone who can toughen up a little and ride on wet days will find the perfect days that much sweeter.

The revolution will not be motorized. Get on your bikes and ride.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Campy Keys

Few names in the world of cycling have the history and cache of Campagnolo. The company’s high-end bicycle components have been a huge part of the sport for decades, and have been ridden by the likes of Coppi, Merckx, LeMond and Indurain.

They haven't been ridden by the likes of me, however, because I’ve never been able to afford fancy Italian bling.

The chance to own a Campy doodad was one of the reasons I was eager to get
my hands on one of these cool key rings made from recycled toe clips by Maya Beck and her husband in Colorado. Other reasons include the fact that I’m old enough to to feel a little nostalgic for the days of metal toe clips, I like stuff made from old bike parts and – this is the most important – these things just look really cool.

Maya told me the idea came from the remnant of a broken Campy clip that her husband carried on a keychain for years. Last year, they found a supply of old toe clips on eBay, so they snatched them up and started making these little babies by cutting them down and polishing the edges.

Maya said the keychains are made from vintage toe clips for small feet, so they're no longer a huge seller in the cycling industry. 

"We buy them from someone that (I'm guessing) got them on closeout," she wrote in an email. "So they are new in the package when we buy them, but we give them a second life. If we didn't buy them, I'm sure they would be sitting in a warehouse collecting dust for many years to come."

A cool new product that makes bike riders smile and makes use of obsolete parts. What's not to like about that? Scoot on over to Mara's Etsy site and snatch up a couple.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Make mine extra spicy

Every time I get near the end of a new bike build, I go through a period of feeling like I need to wrap up a dozen final details. Trim this, tighten that, attach the other thing. But this is how I know when the bike is really done: The bear spray goes on.

This is Alaska. We have bears damn near everywhere, and they hate surprises. Mountain bikers move fast, and often surprise the hell out of bears. Big bears. Brown bears. Or, as they’re called in many places, grizzlies. Surprise one at close range, and you could find yourself in the house of pain.

For years, my strategy has been to carry pepper spray in a bottle cage on my bike frame. For one thing, it’s not attached to my body, and I like the
thought of separating from it during a crash that could trigger an accidental release. I also like the idea of a non-lethal deterrent, because bears are cool and shouldn't have to die just because I like speeding through their living rooms.

Best of all, this system allows me to get to the pepper spray quickly, which is vital. When you need this shit, you need it in a freakin’ hurry and a bear isn’t going to wait while you take off your Camelbak and dig out your defense.

Unfortunately, not all of my fellow Alaskans feel this is important. This is gun country, and many folks think the best protection against bear attacks is a big firearm. As this (totally unscientific) poll in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner indicates, about 50 percent of the newspaper’s online readers put their trust in guns, while less than 15 percent carry pepper spray.

The real statistics, however, tell a different story. In their paper “Efficacy of Firearms for Bear Deterrence in Alaska,” noted bear biologists Tom Smith and Stephen Herrero explained that in an exhaustive study of attacks, “firearm bearers suffered the same injury rates in close encounters with bears whether they used their firearms or not,” and that “bear spray [has] a better success rate under a variety of situations ... than firearms.”

You may think you’re a badass with a gun, but unless you are highly trained, have experience staying calm in high-stress emergency situations,  and practice regularly to maintain shooting proficiency, you’re kidding yourself. When a bear is charging you at high speed and you’re about to shit a brick, you’re unlikely to stop it with a bullet.

Hitting it with a broad blast of nasty pepper spray from a can that resembles a small fire extinguisher is far easier. And it's more effective. The numbers don’t lie.

Another bear season is here. Be ready. Be safe.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Joining the Cult of 29

The beast is unleashed. And damn, it's sweet.

Nothing else feels quite like riding a new bike and knowing there’s a summer of singletrack ahead. So here is the unveiling: Pivot Mach 429 (2012 frame) with a Fox 32 Float CTD fork with 120 mm of travel. Salsa carbon handlebar; Race Face Deus crankset; Shimano XT derailleurs; GripShift shifters; Cane Creek headset; Thomson seapost (with a Thomson stem to come after I perfect the fit); WTB saddle; and Avid BB7 brakes.


The wheels are handbuilt -- with thanks to Leonardo -- using Stan’s Archer EX rims around Hadley hubs with DT Swiss spokes and anodized red nipples, and finished off with tubeless Schwalbe Rocket Ron tires. 

 It’s official, folks. I drank the Kool-Aid. Maybe even gulped it a little bit. I ride a 29er.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Let the good times roll

The infection that began in the desert this January is about to peak with a high fever in May. The new 29er is coming together, and it’s going to be the best mountain bike I’ve ever owned.

The wheels were born on my dining-room table yesterday afternoon after a two-hour ride with Leonard, who taught me how to lace them up and showed me how to fine-tune them. One big, sloppy mess later, I had two complete and wonderfully light wheels with tubeless tires mounted in the garage.

Let the sun shine and let the dirt dry. It’s going to be a summer of sweet rides.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Stroke this

Last week I cracked an old filling in one of my molars. The dentist was happy to confirm this on Friday, but he couldn't be bothered to fix it until this morning.

It wasn't the four days of chewing on the left side of my mouth that I minded so much. It was more the pain of having 24-degree air flow over the damaged tooth whenever I rode a bike. While pedaling to work on Monday, I tried to breathe out of the left side of my mouth to divert air from the sensitive right side.

I think that at least once, someone in a passing car must have said, "Oh, honey. Look at that poor man on the bike. I think he's recovering from a stroke."

Yeah. I ride with style.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Spring it

I was born one American spring
When love didn't matter and the birds didn't sing
Rolled from my cradle and picked up my drum
Crawled to the highway and stuck out my thumb

—Robert Hunter

Fat-bikers are living on borrowed time in Alaska. Every week, more stumps appear beside the trail. Every day, more slush forms on the surface. Every ride on my Fatback feels like it might be the last for a while.

Fortunately, the road bike is waiting. And there's a new frame that is sure to make me smile once it's built up and the singletrack dries out. I'm looking forward to summer and dirt-stained legs.

For now, I'm just happy to have a bike that makes me mourn the loss of winter.

Monday, April 15, 2013


We ride bicycles for a variety of reasons. And for those of us who own several bikes, many of those reasons are somewhat hedonistic and selfish. We ride because it's fun, relaxing, a rush, good exercise, or whatever.

On days like this, assigning a higher purpose to a bike ride can seem a little silly. But I don't care. Tonight's ride helped me keep it together. 

I have a sister, brother-in-law and niece who were near the finish line of the Boston Marathon when the bombs went off. If not for a minor injury that slowed her pace, my sister's time goal would have put her at the finish line at just the wrong time. After a few scary minutes, my family was fortunate enough to confirm that our loved ones were safe.

Others weren't so lucky. I read the news stories all day. I saw the photos. At least one of them will stay with me for a very long time. I wanted to forget it, at least for a few hours.

So tonight, I went into the woods with a close friend, and I rode a bike. I started to feel like I could breathe again. Then I drank some wine before the day's events started to creep back in. 

On a night like this, a ride in the woods is priceless.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Billy K's 2K

Billy K at the end of the line.
(Photos via Arctic Cycles' Facebook page)
In an epic achievement that will likely go unnoticed outside the niche community of Alaska fat-bikers, Anchorage homeboy Billy Koitzsch has completed a 2,000 mile winter bike ride that has never been done before.

First, Billy rode the Iditarod Trail to Nome. That alone would have put him in the tiny, elite group of riders who have completed that trip, but Billy then rode out of town and headed to Fairbanks, where he arrived about 40 days after his trip began.

And just in case you're tempted to think he was on a leisurely winter vacation, it should also be noted that he arrived in Fairbanks 40 pounds lighter than when he left home.

Billy, we are in awe. Eat a big hamburger, drink a big beer and enjoy a nice, warm bed for a couple of days.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Twist my nipples

Bicycling. Because what other sport allows you to walk into a store and spend five minutes talking with another guy about your nipple preferences?

Not that I need to do that.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Sit on your ass for singletrack

How many times have you been asked to get off your ass to help get something done? Well, I'm going to ask you to sit on your ass to get something done.

Earn it.
While serving as MC during Friday night's portion of the Singletrack Advocates Mountain Bike Film & Music Festival, I shamelessly stole some material from the previous night's MC, Lee Bolling, who told the crowd there are three things people need to do if they want more singletrack in Anchorage: Support, Donate and Volunteer.

The support portion begins this Thursday (April 11) at 6 p.m. at the Spenard Rec Center when Lee presents the Kincaid North Trail Project to the Parks & Rec Commission. Kincaid Park belongs to all of us, but the municipality isn't going to approve a trail construction project unless muni officials see a public demand for it.

You don't have to speak. You just have to show up and help fill the room with mountain bikers. And you can sit on your ass. The commission won't even be taking public comments on the project at Thursday's meeting. It's that simple. You just need to show up and watch, so the commission will know that Anchorage residents who ride mountain bikes support this project.

On May 9, the commission will meet again to hear public testimony and vote on the project. It will be important to show up for that one, too. But take baby steps, and start by showing up this Thursday.

When you're riding miles of new singletrack, you'll be glad you did it.