There are some incredible stories coming out of Alaska right now. The Iditarod trail race is a 350 or 1100 mile winter race through the heart of Alaska – in winter! Mode of travel is optional. Some bike, some run, some ski. Read this thread over on MTBR and if you don’t get all jacked up you best get your pulse checked. Lots of illuminating commentary by the previous course record holder Mike Curiak on what the leaders are likely experiencing, thinking, feeling, and what tactics they are opting to use. Prolly the most engrossing MTBR thread I’ve come across. Congrats to anyone that started this event, special congrats to anyone that finished, and super special congrats to Jay P for busting out such an amazing ride as a rookie.
So how many details do you think have to be nailed down to survive an event like that? -30F temps, 40 mph winds, as much as 24 hours between checkpoints, wildlife, trail conditions all over the map including ice, snow, rivers (frozen & otherwise), vegetation choked mountain passes – the list goes on and on. Yea, to survive that one I’m thinking takes a deep bag of tricks and quite a few lucky charms. And that comes from…
So, I hate the cold. Really. As exciting as it is to read those accounts, I don’t ever see myself doing that sort of thing. But…I’ve been looking at the Grand Loop Race for over a year now. It is similar in distance, and the course record times are similar as well. Maybe a bit more climbing at 48k+’. The trick is it’s completely self supported. No outside support, at all. There is one remote store near (but not on) the route. I find this fascinating…
Clearly in a 3+ day period ya gotta get some shuteye. How much grub do you have to carry? Water filter or tablets? Cooking gear or go with all cold stuff? I’ve never even done an overnight by bike so school is in session.
The attraction of this event is tugging at me with the power of a black hole – and it is a bit of a black hole as well. It’d be cocky to do it with any sort of plan to “race” it the first time around – if I do it the goal will be to finish. Besides, with events like the BC Bike Race, 24 hour worlds, and the 24 hours of Moab in the season plan, it’d be darn risky to burn the candle at both ends for 3 days in the heat of June.
Physically, I am ready for this race. Not so long ago I had the impression than when the bonk came that was the end. But in the past 2 years there have been many times when I thought I was done, only to experience a quick rebound. All it takes is a bit of fuel, water, maybe a nap, and I’m good to go again….mentally, I need a new challenge. Cycling has always had a way of providing new challenges.
I feel a good obsession building.