Saturday, July 21, 2007

climbing to glen alps & beyond

Maybe it's because I haven't been doing as many long mountain bike rides, but it felt like I took on a bit too much on Wednesday. I was headed out to meet the WOMBATS at the Glen Alps trailhead to ride part of the Powerline Pass trail - just up to the lakes and back. Instead of driving to the trailhead, I decided I needed a good hillclimb, so I'd start at my house (near Tudor & Baxter) and cross Bicentennial Park to get to the state park.

The day was cool enough, and the short warmup on the road was nice. Pedaled up Rover's Run (aka Mellen's Way), then up to Spencer Loop and the Gasline. Once in the park, I took the Powerline. In places it was steep, sometimes muddy, sometimes with loose rocks. I knew I hadn't given myself enough time to make the 7pm ride start time, but luckily the gang was just leaving the parking lot for the trail when I was arriving, so I turned around and joined them for the rest of the climb up to the ponds.

Keeping up was mostly OK, though I don't know if my friends believed me when I said I felt spent, but it's true! I'd made the mistake of riding with some people the day before on a steep hillclimb after work on my road bike. Ouch! We didn't hang out long in the upper valley because the wind was sweeping down from the pass. Just a couple of photos taken and layers added before we turned around.

The ride home was mostly a descent, though I returned via the South Rim Trail which has tall grass on both sides of the singletrack making me wonder what was on the ground as well as around the corner. Bear country, riding alone and fairly silently, I stayed alert and stepped off the bike a few times where planks laid at varying angles from one-another made up the trail. Later, I took Llama, which is also getting overgrown. Ah, July.

When I ventured off Llama and back onto the Gasline a moose and calf grazing on the side of the trail made me stop and wait, talking to them until they decided to leave the trail. Good thing they left - I didn't want to backtrack up the hill I'd just descended.

All told, it was about a 27-mile round trip with a good elevation gain (I'll have to look that up). I'm glad I challenged myself a bit more than I have been lately. It's good to remind myself just what my legs can accomplish.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Trails and more trails

I hope this is the beginning of a good resource for mountain bike trails in Anchorage, AK.

Since I published the book "Mountain Bike Anchorage" in 2005, the trails in the Anchorage area have changed. New trails have been added, others have been widened or paved. Others may have deteriorated. The guide book is a snapshot of what was on the ground at the beginning of 2005, but people want timely updates. They can find them on my website:, but most people don't think to go there.

So, until I go live with another website, let this be a place where you can ask questions about the local trails or even post updates on trail conditions you have noticed around the area.

I'll also post new routes, trail conditions or changes as I learn about them. It's all just a big experiment. Come along for the ride!