Thursday, March 3, 2011

We Have Moved

We have moved to our own domain.

The space is sparse, but we're sprucin' it up.

Please visit us at our new, permanent home:

Sunday, September 26, 2010

CTC 300K Review

The Chugiak/Talkeetna/Chugiak 300K brevet was one for the record books for possibly the most continuous hours of fog on an Alaskan brevet course to date. Give a hand to all the riders who came out and rode last Saturday. These guys braved over 6 hours of riding in cold damp fog!

As we got closer to Talkeetna the sunshine finally punched it’s way through the fog. Sunny skies and incredible views of the Alaska range greeted us. In beautiful downtown Talkeetna, we basked in the sunshine while munching on Caribou Tacos from West Rib Pub and Grille located right behind Nagley’s General Store.

The day wrapped up with a beautiful clear sunset toward Cook Inlet, and moonrise over the Chugach mountains.

Congratulations to Kirk Louthan who gained his Super Randonneur status!

A special thanks to Alaska Bicycle Center, Inc. in Wasilla, AK for opening a half hour early to sell our volunteer some tubes and a patch kit. We’d also like to thank our

Controle locations: Tesoro at Pittman and Parks Hwy., Sheep Creek Lodge, West Rib Pub and Grille, Nagley’s General Store

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Chugiak/Talkeetna/Chugiak 300K

It's going to be a beautiful weekend, and winter is right around the corner, so come out and ride the last brevet of the year.

The Chugiak/Talkeetna/Chugiak 300K brevet is perhaps our fastest course, with minimal turns and route-finding challenges, and a very low profile too. The turn-around in Talkeetna offers several yummy of refueling options also.

Saturday, September 18
Start/Finish: Chugiak High School, Chugiak, Alaska
Registration: 5:00AM
Distance: 300KM

Full details on the AK Rando website!

Come ride with us!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fall Colors 200K Review

The Glennallen/Chitina/Glennallen 200K brevet took us through some incredibly scenic parts of Alaska. The morning started out cool and foggy. As the sun burned off the fog, the fall colors and rusty mountain tops came into view. Along the way were wide open vistas dotted with patches of red leaves (red is a rare fall color here in AK) and glassy calm lakes with mirror-like reflections of the Wrangell Mountains. Along the way was a roadside 'on your honor' stand selling Rhubarb custard pies, brownies, and banana bread! Last but not least -- Tibetan Yaks! Who knew? Yaks in Alaska! The Yaks can be found online at We met up at the finish for some tasty Thai food at Tok Thai in the parking lot of the Glennallen Tesoro. All riders had a successful day and all agreed that the scenery was absolutely stunning!

A special thanks to our Controle locations: Caribou Hotel, Copper Center Lodge, Kenny Lake Mercantile, Chitina Grocery, Tok Thai (Tasty), and the Glennallen Tesoro.

Don't forget! Next weekend is the LAST brevet of the season (sniffle). Yes, winter is coming and QUICK! So, for one last chance to work those legs until next season, please join us for the Chugiak/Talkeetna/Chugiak 300K. If the weather holds, this one should also be filled with fall colors and fun times! Maybe no Yaks though.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fall Colors 200K

Don't let all the miles you've put in your legs this summer go to waste. If you're not riding Arctic Cross this Saturday, come enjoy the back roads and fall colors on the adventurous 200K Glennallen/Chitna/Glennallen 200K brevet.

Saturday, September 11
Start/Finish: Caribou Hotel in Glennallen, Alaska
Registration: 6:00AM
Distance: 200KM

Full details on the AK Rando website!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

PBP Sud - 2010's Last Populaire

Come join us for our third, and last populaire of the randonneuring season, this Saturday, August 28th, starting at the Midnight Sun Brewery Parking lot.

Populaires are shorter, more relaxed versions of brevets. They're a great opportunity to get on some roads you'd normally never ride, and also to meet some new riders. This one will begin at the brewery, head south to the end of Potter Marsh, then go directly north to Chugiak High School, then return to the Midnight Sun for lunch and suds/sodas.

Register: 7:00AM
Start/Finish: Midnight Sun Brewery (bring some $$ for après vélo victuals and libation)

Full details on the AK Rando website.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

RUSA Anniversary Populaire - PBP Nord

If you're not riding Soggy Bottom this weekend, 8/7/10, come join us for our RUSA anniversary ride, the Palmer Populaire (aka PBP Nord). The weather is expected to be nice. Accuweather is saying 67 degrees! Remember, you can't call it from the couch!

Populaires are shorter versions of brevets, and this one is just a tad shorter than 100K. Due to highway resurfacing, it looks like we'll be sticking to the back-roads. It'll make for a grand day out on beautiful roads, with some great new riding partners. Our last populaire had 70 riders.

Register: 7:00AM Fred Meyer Palmer
Start: 8:00AM

Full details on the AK Rando website.

See you at the start!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Denali Park Road Conditions Report - Guest Blogger

From our "on-the-scene" rando correspondent and guest blogger, Mike Downer:

The Denali Dirt Road Randonnée melds the spirit of randonneuring with the appeal that draws so many of us to Alaska. It could be argued that no other randonneuring event in the world celebrates the spirit of self-reliance in such a real way. While Paris-Brest-Paris has its challenges; it does not have Grizzly Bears.

I had the opportunity to camp in the park over the recent weekend. Through conversations with several park workers and personal observation I was able to piece together a fair picture of what we will be facing on the 17th. The most obvious thing about the road is that it’s not very flat. “Thank you Captain Obvious” you may have just muttered. I don’t blame you, but seeing those long uphills winding around mountain bends and then reappearing far back on another slope really gave it perspective.
I’m sure that’s a challenge most will relish.

What you may not relish is the traffic. The first shuttle bus heads into the park around 8 am. There are a number of guided tours that leave earlier. The first buses coming out of the park leave Kantishna and Wonder Lake around 6 am. The first bus which passes will bring a semi-regular stream passing at 5-10 minute intervals, sometimes two at a time. The speed limit on the road is a tame 25 MPH and the drivers I observed seemed very respectful of cyclists. Nonetheless, due to the narrow nature of the road, casting a regular glance over the shoulder will be important. Don't let any of this discourage you. The majestic scenery will most certainly overcome any minor inconvenience the busses might be.

The road surface itself also appears to be in good shape. I rode the Denali Highway 200K brevet over Memorial Day weekend, and for sure the Denali Park road is better maintained and in better condition. It is nicely packed down on the regular bus lines and also seems very rideable near the edges. The gravelly soil should provide excellent drainage. I spent time checking it after a night and morning of rain. There were no running rivulets. If anything it will be a faster (and obviously less dusty) surface when wet. According to a friend who lives in the park that’s going to be important. They haven’t gone a day in nearly three weeks without some part of the road receiving precipitation.

At this point I would be no sort of biking enthusiast if I continued sitting inside while the sun beats down on my ride. The trail is calling.

Hope to see you in Denali!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Denali Dirt Road Randonnée 7/17/10

Wilderness randonneuring, deep into the heart of Denali National Park and Preserve, that's what the Denali Dirt Road Randonnée is all about. It's the epitome of self-reliance on the bike.

The Super Randonneur brevet series (200, 300, 400, & 600K) is over, but that doesn't mean we don't have more brevets and populairs in store for you. Check out the rest of the rides on the calendar HERE.

Last year the Denali Dirt Road Randonnée had to be cancelled due to forest fire smoke that was just too thick to ride through. We're back this year, and we've added a 200K brevet option that goes from Rainbow Village to Eielson Visitor Center and back. This will be a great option for those Fireweed riders who will want to stretch their legs again after their hard rides this last weekend.

This is the most remote ride on our calendar. The Denali Park road is popular with cyclists, and many riders fly into Kantishna and ride, one-way, out to the park entrance. The National Park Service has done much to encourage and improve cycling in the park in recent years. And they maintain the park road to near perfection. A mountain bike or a cyclocross bike will be the perfect tool for the job.

The Denali Dirt Road Randonnée will be a one day roundtrip, out-and-back ride. As with any brevet, all riders are considered to be on an individual ride. It will be a spectacular and unique way to experience the park. Just be sure to pack your water filter and bear spray.

The ride will be Saturday 7/17/10.
All the details for the ride may be found HERE.

See you in Denali!

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Long Ride

Speaking to many people over the years about cycling, I have realized that what passes as a long ride can vary quite dramatically. For some, anything longer than say 35 miles requires equal parts insanity and determination. For others, the century is the apex of their distance riding ambition. Then there is the randonneur. This lot will ride 400, 600 and 1200k brevets! Just to make sure the point is made, that’s 248.5, 372.8 and 745.6 miles respectively. 200k (124.3 miles) is introduction and consequentially, the shortest distance for a brevet. I believe it’s safe to assume that for the majority of the general cycling population, a 200k is “long” and covering 400k or more on a bike in the allotted time absolutely requires some insanity as a pre-requisite.

Having completed my first populaire this last weekend, the 100k Bread & Water ride, I have given much thought to the long ride and the spirit of randonneuring. Populaire, by the way, is reserved for randonneur rides under 200k and serve as a super intro to randonneuring. I used to be steeped in the competitive world of cycling where I regularly covered 75 to 100 miles as my weekly “long” ride in a six-day-a-week ride schedule that added up to what a 400k brevet covers in one ride. Well, that was seven years ago. I have long since had a “ride schedule”. In the last calendar year, I have been on my bike only a handful of times with my longest ride being just shy of 13 miles. Inspired by a friend who decided to do a 200k brevet on the Denali Highway cold turkey, i.e. no prior experience of long rides and no regular training schedule on the bike, and successfully finish, I decided to test the legs and my will. Just to make the jump that much more committing, I decided to ride to the ride. I live only five miles from where the ride start was. As if to prove that I knew I was in way over my head, I left the lycra cycling kit at home and instead wore jeans, a hoodie and Converse.

It was interesting showing up to a ride looking like a commuter. I rode in a tight knit group of four. Though each of us is very active in other ways (running, hiking, etc.), we were untrained for a longish bike ride. We just wanted to ride!

We started together and we finished together. This was not a race. We just wanted to finish. It was in this light that I understood cycling as I had not since I was a kid. Instead of obsessing on how fast I could go, I wanted to see how far I could go. There is a lot of psychology involved in pushing your limits. Reflecting back, I realized that I suffered more in dealing with the distance psychologically than physically. Yes my legs hurt and at times they really really hurt, but as long as I could talk myself out of pulling off and calling for a ride I could make it to the next mile, then the next and so on. The last 20 miles were as pleasant as the first. By the time I arrived at the finish with my friends, I realized that the extra five miles home would not be all that bad.

I now have my eyes set on the 7/17/10 Denali Park Road 200k randonnée! Either I have already forgotten how painful it was to add 60 miles to my longest ride in a year or the joy of camaraderie and accomplishing something beyond my current limits makes it all worth it. Am I mad for wanting to double my current highpoint a month from now? Maybe, but the memories of a bike ride in Denali National Park will be worth it!