Saturday, March 20, 2010

Knik Lake to McGrath 2010

Well, we did it! Our snowbike trip to Nome AK was the most wicked thing I have ever done. My fingers and toes feel like they are sleeping, my nose is burnt from frost, a piece of ice formed on my buff which was covering my nose and thats how it got burnt, I had no idea it was there. The ride from Knik to McGrath seems so long ago. It was very warm when we started, approx 30 to 40 degrees. I was so nervous at the start, I made myself sick. My stomach was just in knots, wondering how I was going to do this with out my safety blanket JayP? Would I be able to get up the happy steps? How would I get over the pass if I were alone? What if I fell in open water? Gesh! Well all that worring may have helped and kept me focused on the goal-finishing! Winning the race and setting a new record was a bonus. My 1st 6 hrs I was unable to eat due to the stress I had caused myself. We just used the leftovers from our other drops so most of the food I had was chocolate, I like it but could have used some real candy, sour patch kids, Mike & Ikes, I like that kind of candy and it works for me. The temps were warm and the trail was variable. Before the race JayP said I should suck it up and try to mke it to Skwentna, but when I had arrived at Yentna I was completely soaked due to the warm temps, it was after midnight and the only thing I wanted to suck up was a pillow. I ate some Ramen, which I really developed a taste for on this trip, dried my stuff and slept there for approx 3 hrs. I departed the next morning at 425am, the trail conditions were variable, so some walking some riding, it took me approx 7 hrs to get to Skwentna. I had a salmon burger there, dried a few things, spoke with Craig who was breaking trail then continued to Zoe's place. Again the trail comditions were variable. I stopped at Zoe's had a bag of stuffing and a bag of instant potatoes, spoke with some locals who were having a good time, then continued to Finger Lake. As I was leaving Zoe's 2 of the men sleded out to some overflow and clearly marked it so no one would fall in. They were very kind and really wanted to help out. I made it to Finger Lake at 1am to find everyone sleeping. I looked in one of the tents and thought I saw a bunch of chopped off pig heads, but when I looked again the following morning it turned out to be sleeping chickens, guess I was tired. I got my drop, left a lot of food there and departed the next morning with a few others, heading towards Puntilla, which wind up being mostly a walk. My main goal was to stay close enough to someone so I could travel over the Rainy Pass with them. I wind up lagging behind, which meant I had to climb the happy steps by myself. It wasn't as bad as I feared and I even had an audience. Craig Medred was there taking pictures and making me laugh. He was joking around with me saying "Look at me, I'm so little and my bike is so big!" Once my bike is fully loaded, yes it looks pretty big. I caught up with the guys just before Puntilla, but about 5 miles to Puntilla some sort of sprint started, I wasn'r able to keep up, but casught the guys at the checkpoint. We all got some food and rest before heading over Rainy Pass. We pretty much walked from Finger Lake to Rohn. Once at Rohn, Rob who is just an awesome volunteer greeted us with food, warm drinks and made room for us to sit and eat. We all got some sleep before heading to Nikolai. We departed approx 830am. We had to cross some ice and it was really cold, but I recall riding a lot. I was with Bill Fleming, Plesko and Kyle, I was very fortunate to be with these guys, we had a great ride and even some fun! Once we got to Nikolai we had some of the most awesome spagehtti, cheese and butter, which I remembered from last year at was looking forward to. Nick and Olene welcomed us into their house at midnight and were so helpful in feeding us and letting us dry out our stuff. Within 2 hrs we were ready for departure. We wind up dropping Plesko, just becasue he was being thoughtful about me trying to break the record. I was amazed how Chris was able to do this race on a Singlespeed 1st of all, and then with a ankle he had broke only a few months before. So the pack was Bill, Kyle, Sean and myself. They totally pushed me to keep going and helped keep my focus on winning and setting a new record, Sean even shared his skittles, which was very exciting to me, since I love candy. I really didn't think about either, until I was approaching Nikolai. So the stint from Rohn to McGrath wind up being 24 hrs. Once I got to McGrath at approx 10am I was reunited with JayP, who I couldn't wait to see and greeted with a plate of MANCAKES!!! What a treat!
Thank you Chain Reaction for the sick 907 rocket ship, which made my adventure amazingly comfortable. Thanks to Fitzgerald's Bicycles for all your help. Thanks to Jeff at Carousel Design works for the custom frame bags, which carried all my survival gear. Thanks Salsa, Vicious Cycles and Wilson Hardware for giving me the time off.

I knew we would be departing the next day by noon, so I took a shower, washed my clothes, ate and slept as much as I could. Stay tuned for part 2, onto Nome!

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