Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Resurrection; first MTB ride of the season

The Kenai's world class backcountry mountain biking brought me here, but for most the year, this is not the land of singletrack heaven.
Alas the season seems to have risen.
Long days, clear skies and temps in the 50's and 60's have set off rumors that the southern portion of the Hope to Cooper Landing section of the Resurrection trail was rideable.
Friday I did what any good journalist should, and investigated said rumors for myself.

Map of Resurrection Trail, on left is the northern most section, right shows southern section and some of the northern section, including the stretch I rode Friday (click for a better view). Map courtesy of Alaska Hike Search

The entire Resurrection trail is 71.5 miles long and stretches from the end of Exit Glacier Rd. outside Seward, north to the little town of Hope. The 16.9 mile section from the end of Exit Glacier Rd. to Russian Lakes trail is called the southern portion. It's overgrown, unmaintained and not rideable unless you like carrying a bike. The trail then overlaps the Lower Russian Lakes Trail to the Sterling Highway, crossing the road in Cooper Landing and heading north another 39 miles over Resurrection Pass to Hope.
This latter section is the subject of this post. I only rolled 7 or 8 miles in to Trout Lake before turning around on Friday.

East towards Cooper Landing and Kenai Lake.

The trail had little standing water on it thanks to the lack of rain and light snowfall this season, however the clay mud was sticky and caked on heavily making the going slow in some places.

Looking south down Juneau Bean Creek on the Trout Lake spur trail.

"Then He made singletrack, and it was good"

Overflow ice was still present in a few places, but clouds kept temps cool and the ice was good for cleaning the mud from treads.

Classic Kenai day, clear and cloudless in Sterling but in and out rain and sun in the mountains.

The new plates make this car look good, but I knew something was missing, ah, that's it, a muddy bike on the roof!

On Saturday I did something unimaginable, got up before six, inhaled some oatmeal and toast, and went to work.
Only catch, I was working on my bike.
The first ever North Kenai Peninsula 200km Brevet bike race was being held and I was covering the first 100k by riding along and interviewing some of the local riders.
It's the first time I've ever conducted interviews by bike, pretty cool, and I got paid to ride.
I'll post a link for the story, to come out on Tuesday, in my Thursday post.
As a side thought from the experience, I'd forgotten that riding early in the morning, offers quite a bit of satisfaction.
Though I was riding slower than my usual pace to interview, there's nothing like knowing you can put away a 60+ mile ride before lunch, when on most days I dread the thought of doing anything physical before 11.
Scott snapped this photo just outside Kenai. Wisely I let the riders get on their way first, giving myself a bit of time to warm-up and clear the windpipes before catching-up to do my interviews.

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