Changing Perspective

Frostbite & I after a 7 mile run on local IMBA singletrack. Photo by Brett

Frostbite & I after a 7 mile run on local IMBA singletrack. Photo by Brett

I've recently (& finally) taken up trail running, after much (desire, for years, and...) inspiration from four of my friends who are out running great distances to accomplish lofty goals and mountain peaks. The idea was to adopt the theme and motivation to run with my dog, Frostbite, an Alaskan Husky, unfortunately in this sense with a thick winter coat, which means she doesn't handle the summer heat (even in Alaska) very well. My friend Brett and I are always looking for seemingly unattainable/masochistic adventures to go on together, and after running 7 miles of singletrack two weeks ago, off the couch, not having run since 2012, I felt great and said we should obviously double the distance as 7 was so easy. Naturally, we looked to the mountains (at least in terms of Interior Alaska), but this also meant I couldn't take Frostbite, as she'd surely overheat in a mile (warm temps & exposed sun) and as there is no water up on the ridges (so we thought).

So, Brett & I ran the Granite Tors trail, 15 miles, in 3 hrs 55 min after work two nights ago.
We had to walk the one super steep section, a few massive boulder sections, and around quite a few super deep water & mucky sections in the trail, but honestly jogged the rest. It was hard and our muscles were locking up a bit on the way down (Brett actually probably strained one hamstring), but it was a lot of fun, and again, naturally, we are now looking to (masochistically) up the distance for our next (3rd) run... for me, of the summer, not counting a few two-milers.

I decided to make it even more interesting and use only a disposable camera for documentation of our adventure. The results are far from quality, but I find them beautiful in other ways.

I hold this run as exceptionally noteworthy, as it's by far the longest I've ever run, the second run I've done since an 8+ mi marathon relay section in 2012, and the first 10+ mile run since 2004 (although countless 20+ mi days hiking on & off trail, but that's hiking).

Please pardon all the RUN-on sentences :)

Sunday Funday

Jen, being a non-mom, picked up an overtime shift at her air traffic control job today, so we biked in together, as I was wanting to go on a longish ride, anyway. She asked if I was going straight home or on a long ride and I said I'd take a 'kinda indirect way home.' I should have realized there would eventually be more emphasis on the 'kinda indirect' than 'way home.' What started as a casual ride with Jen and then turning around to go home and get things done quickly became a pleasant 50 mile exploration, taking full advantage of the beautiful weather.

I got a good amount of dirt & gravel in, along with hopping some logs and splashing some puddles. All in all, it was an incredibly nice day with lots of enjoyable, comfortable miles. I even passed a road biker who was cruising along at a brisk pace... except I was riding on the dirt trail parallel to the road... on a mountain bike with 2.25" tires... and fully loaded for four days of touring, including food & water. That felt great. I think I'm ready for Oregon.

Headed to the tower

Ready for the 360 mile Oregon Outback this week

Grumman Goose in town from Anchorage

Nice sidetrack and diversion from the pavement

Almost full leaves

A mid-ride drink sounded like a good idea. Finishing it on the hill climb leaving the store was even better.

What a nice day

Now to go surprise Jen at the tower and ride back home with her... and make it a 70 mile day.

Passing the Torch

The prototype venerable mountain touring steed is now at a new loving home in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Exits Cities (like Anchorage) Rapidly

A good weekend of social riding respectfully passed the Exploration Camping Rig torch into my hands, from Nicholas. It will become my dirt & gravel commuter for the rough route each day and will surely see some activity carrying growlers & a sleeping bag to campfires with friends.

Love at first sight.

You can find adventure anywhere. Jen & her Krampus.

Embraces Civilization Remorsefully

Beautiful night on the Coastal Trail.

The Gypsy.

Jen feeding the Krampus.

Nicholas v Mud

Nicholas the victor.

Jen v Moose

The reward.

Nick & Lael

Nick's fat 29 Mukluk, the 29+ ECR, & Jen's 29+ Krampus

Large ECR vs small Krampus

Photo by Nicholas Carman

Thanks to all who made it such a great weekend and especially to Nicholas for passing the torch.

29+ Beargrease

I finally have a real 'mountain bike.' 

After months of debate, I decided to put 29+ on the fast & light Salsa Beargrease XX1. I had 29+ on my Salsa Mukluk for the past year and have loved it, riding it on everything from long paved road tours and hundreds of miles of gravel & dirt Alaskan roads to the beaches of Alaska's Kenai Peninsula.

Below are images of how the 29+ Surly Knards on Rabbit Holes fit on the Beargrease. Even with these Knards having stretched and grown over the past year of being tubeless, they still fit with room to spare. The tightest spot is the seat stay bridge, but I think there is still room for more aggressively knobbed tires, like the Surly Dirt Wizard.

The 29+ Beargrease will be my 'race' bike, not that I plan on doing any races with it, but it'll be used for light & fast(ish) summer bikepacking tours in Alaska and bikepacking trips downstates when winter gets negative... rides like the Stagecoach 400, which I hope to do in November.

Shown with a Becker Sewing & Design Triangle Sack from Fairbanks, AK.

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