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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

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Old 01-02-09, 10:04 PM   #1
Erik B
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I doubt even Pcad is hard enough for this.



Days like that are a good reason to own a really nice trainer.
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Old 01-02-09, 10:05 PM   #2
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Days like that are a good reason to leave Alaska.
Fixed.
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Old 01-02-09, 10:07 PM   #3
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Not much more room on the left side for that needle to go is there? Then it breaks off.
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Old 01-02-09, 10:13 PM   #4
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Fixed.
Correct.


[Most years it makes the Mexico vacation just that much better.]
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Old 01-02-09, 10:44 PM   #5
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you have to go for a ride and take a picture just to show, ya know, you d man
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Old 01-02-09, 10:53 PM   #6
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I dare you to go outside and see what happens when you pee
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Old 01-02-09, 11:44 PM   #7
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I lived in Fairbanks for several years, now is a good time to go outside with a watergun filled with hot water, I have found few things in life as much fun as that.
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Old 01-03-09, 01:01 AM   #8
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I was born and raised in Fairbanks, and I miss days like that.
I have to admit I never did much winter biking up there, but I always kind of enjoyed the cold snaps.
I was just home for Christmas, but I missed the super-cold by a day or two.
So you can enjoy it for me
or not

Thanks for posting - reminds me of home.
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Old 01-03-09, 08:30 AM   #9
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Looks familiar. I did a stint on Badger Rd where the temp drops off the thermometer. Tires are flat on the bottom, clutch fluid is too stiff to move and door handles break off. Not much riding going on! Thank god for trainers
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Old 01-03-09, 08:33 AM   #10
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In another five minutes Machka will be posting pics of her on her bike next to that thermometer out on some highway in the middle of nowhere surrounded by moose or caribou.
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Old 01-03-09, 08:33 AM   #11
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notice that the caption said "days" and it's looking dark as night. So how short are the days right now?

I think the days are too short in NY.
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Old 01-03-09, 08:50 AM   #12
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In another five minutes Machka will be posting pics of her on her bike next to that thermometer out on some highway in the middle of nowhere surrounded by moose or caribou.
........wearing a wind breaker and tights.
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Old 01-03-09, 08:51 AM   #13
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I hate the cold. I couldn't live there.
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Old 01-03-09, 09:18 AM   #14
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Not much more room on the left side for that needle to go is there? Then time stops.
Fixed
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Old 01-03-09, 09:18 AM   #15
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I lived in Fairbanks for several years, now is a good time to go outside with a watergun filled with hot water, I have found few things in life as much fun as that.
What happens?
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Old 01-03-09, 09:31 AM   #16
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I dare you to go outside and see what happens when you pee
Frostbite (yes, right there)
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Old 01-03-09, 09:41 AM   #17
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I hate the cold. I couldn't live there.
+1

I can barely stand our much milder weather in Denver.
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Old 01-03-09, 09:50 AM   #18
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I love Florida...35 mile group ride this morning, 65*F
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Old 01-03-09, 11:15 AM   #19
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It reads 80deg, go ride!
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Old 01-03-09, 12:46 PM   #20
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I hate the cold. I couldn't live there.
+1 - I was 25 YO when I saw snow for the first time.
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Old 01-03-09, 01:04 PM   #21
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Here's a good read about riding outside the temperature bicycles were designed for.

http://dwb.adn.com/outdoors/story/46...-4599504c.html

One cold ride

Bikers test their limits while exploring Yukon Quest trail

By CRAIG MEDRED
Anchorage Daily News

Published: January 18, 2004
Last Modified: January 25, 2004 at 04:01 AM

High overhead, the aurora borealis rippled a spectacular, multicolored light show across the northern sky. Mike Curiak glanced up and kept pedaling. With the temperature dropping out of sight, he was afraid to stop. It was at least 50 degrees below along the frozen Yukon River, and Curiak couldn't help but wonder what he'd gotten into this time.

A mountain bike veteran, the Grand Junction, Colo., cyclist won a 1,100-mile bike race from Knik to Nome over the Iditarod Trail in 2000. This time Curiak had taken off with Anchorage's Pat Irwin in February 2003 to explore the possibility of staging a wilderness mountain bike race over a portion of the colder, more-desolate Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race route from Fairbanks to Whitehorse, Yukon.

Other bikers had said they, too, might join the exploratory journey billed as the "Great Yukon Challenge," but when a block of chilled high-pressure air settled over the Interior the other bikers had the sense to stay home.

Not Curiak and Irwin, another past victor in Iditarod Trail bike races. So what if the National Weather Service was warning that Interior "travelers must be prepared to endure raw temperatures of minus-60 and wind chill of at least minus-75 Farenheit," they had confidence in their equipment and their survival skills.

Both would be tested. Merely surviving on a trail at 50 degrees below is difficult and scary, Curiak would later note.

"I'm not so sure I'd go back and put myself in that situation again," he confessed.

"The simplest things make your life flash before your eyes," Irwin added. "Seeing running water at 50 below, it will humble you quick."

Should someone, somehow slip into an open hole in the Yukon ice at such temperatures, survival time would be measured in seconds -- even if they got out instantly. Seconds is all it would take for their clothes to freeze into a solid, difficult-to-remove cocoon of ice. Life would hinge on getting out of those clothes and into something dry before that freezeup, and then getting a fire going.

"The old-timers in Alaska have a saying that 'traveling at 50 degrees below is all right as long as it's all right,' " Archdeacon Hudson Stuck wrote almost 90 years ago in "Ten Thousands Miles with a Dog Sled." "If there be a good trail, if there be convenient stopping places, if nothing goes wrong, one may travel with no special risk and with no extraordinary discomfort at 50 degrees below zero and a good deal lower. ... But there is always more or less chance in traveling at low temperatures because a very small thing may necessitate a stop, and a stop may turn into a serious thing. At such temperatures, one must keep going."

Almost a century later, nothing has really changed in that regard. Technology has brought all sorts of wonders to the north country, Irwin and Curiak agreed, but the oldest rule for surviving the deep cold remains:

"At such temperatures, one must keep going."

The two cyclists can joke now about how it takes two mountain bikers to repair a tire on the trail at 40 below, but it was no joking matter when they had no choice but to take turns working on flats in the cold. One biker would grab the icy, aluminum rim of the wheel and struggle to break the stiff rubber of the tire free before his fingers froze solid. Then he'd run around trying to create enough body heat to push warm blood into those digits while the other cyclist worked on getting the tube out of the tire. Then they'd switch again so the one with the fingers now somewhat warmed could try to fit the new tube into the stiff tire.

And so it went until the tube was changed, the tire refitted to rim and, at last, pumped full of air.

"Changing the tubes was a *****," Irwin said.

The task would have been merely difficult had it happened occasionally. It became a nightmare when the flats came in rapid succession. Curiak and Irwin began to dread seeing the temperature push toward 40 below because that signaled the point of almost continuous tire problems.

"At 40 below zero, we started to have tube failures," Curiak later wrote in a summary of the trip that appears on www.airborne.net, a Web site maintained by his bike sponsor. "We had WTB (Wilderness Trail Bikes), Kenda and Avenir tubes with us, and they all pulled apart at their seams. The flats were so prevalent that we no longer had to look at our thermometers to know when the temp had hit minus 40. After the race, a product manager explained to me that 40 below zero falls a bit outside of the design parameters for bicycle inner tubes."

Were Curiak to try this trip again, he said in a subsequent telephone interview, he'd consider putting tubes designed for motorcycles in his mountain bike tires. Motorcycle tubes don't need to expand to fill mountain bike tires, he said, they simply need to fill with air. Bike tubes, on the other hand, are stretched by air to fill the space in the tire. The more the rubber is stretched, the thinner it becomes, and the more vulnerable it becomes to losing the last of its stretch in extreme cold.

Rubber rendered inflexible to cold cracks. Any air it is holding escapes. And a tire goes flat.

This was one of the things Curiak and Irwin learned about the brutal cold of the Interior, but it was not the only thing. Curiak managed to peg all sorts of mechanical problems to the falling temperatures:

• At 25 degrees below, the suspension seat post on his bike froze solid.

• At 30 degrees below, the headsets on the bikes started to freeze, making it hard to turn the handlebars.

• At 40 degrees below, the tube failures started.

• At 47 degrees below, the plastic head on his tire pump shattered.

• At 52 degrees below, the headsets on the bikes became so stiff that the handlebars wouldn't turn more than 10 degrees.

• At 55 degrees below and colder, it was time to forget riding and start pushing, because tubes wouldn't hold up at these temperatures and patching them was impossible.

• And at 60 degrees below, the only thing that mattered were the words of Stuck:

"One must keep going."

Curiak's greatest fear came at 3 or 4 a.m. one morning along the frozen trail when Anchorage's Irwin announced he needed rest. Irwin was near exhaustion from bike pushing.

"We'd had a string of flats about 10, 12 miles out of Slaven's (Cabin)," Curiak said. "It was already two in the morning and bitter cold. Instead of riding, you'd just run for a mile to try to get some heat built up, and that's barely enough. It was 3 or 4 a.m. when Pat said it was too much. He said, 'I've got to lay down and take a nap.'

"I just looked at him," Curiak said, "and asked, 'Do you think you're ever going to get up?'

"Had Pat laid down, he probably would have died in that situation."

Irwin was convinced to keep pushing to Slaven's, an informal checkpoint used by the Quest. He later thanked Curiak for the nudge.

"We went out, planning on (a race)," Irwin said, but quickly realized the real competition was to survive. They became bound by their need for each other in the emptiness.

"We saw two snowmachines the whole time," Curiak said, "and those were the (Quest) trail breakers."

This was starkly different from the Iditarod Trail, he said. Snowmobiles are seen almost everywhere along that route, and in places the traffic borders on heavy. Regular snowmobile traffic makes that trail far safer for bikers than the Quest trail.

It didn't take Curiak and Irwin long to recognize that if they got in trouble on the Quest route, "there ain't" -- as Curiak put it -- "no cavalry coming."

That realization brought the two cyclists back to Anchorage thinking no one should ever hold an actual mountain bike or ski race along this route. Not only would it be crazy, Irwin said, it would be dangerous.

"It's too damn cold to worry about foreigners out there who may or may not know what they're doing at 50 degrees below zero," he said.

"There's no safety net on that trail," Curiak said. "The Iditarod is like being at the mall by comparison. If the temperature had been at least 20 degrees warmer, I would not have thought anything about it. But in those temperatures, it was just a level beyond.

"This is a great thing if people want to do it, but if you just put together a race, you run the risk of getting some pretty flaky people," he said.

And the flaky, the two cyclers agreed, could end up dead in these circumstances. But there is another element at play in the minds of the two bike racers arguing against racing.

Irwin believes running any sort of bike or ski race along a portion of the Quest trail would detract from the 1,000-mile sled dog race that seems a tribute to an earlier time when life in the Alaska Interior was simple, and hard.

"It's certainly not the circus that Iditarod is," Irwin said. "Having a bunch of idiots out there on bikes and skis or just running would ruin the whole thing. When we left Eagle (on the Yukon), we were probably in about fifth place with the (dog) race. There were four or five mushers in front of us."

Everyone was heading for the same cabin 35 miles down the trail because it offered the only promise of shelter and warmth. A bunch of the mushers were already there when Irwin and Curiak rolled in. They had the wood stove fired up, and the cabin was snug and warmed.

By the time the cyclists came stumbling into the warmth in a cloud of cold air, "they were eating and chatting away," Irwin said. "I felt like we'd stepped back 100 years in time. It was just special out there."

Irwin savored the Jack Londonesque feel of it all. So did Curiak. The experience opened their eyes to the beauty in simple things that otherwise go unnoticed in the fast-moving world of today. They came to appreciate shelter as not just a convenience but a necessity.

"You forget about the importance of wood smoke and what it means to you on the trail," Curiak said. "Every time I'd smell it, I'd turn to Pat, and he'd say, 'Yeah, I can smell it, too.' "

The smell was full of promise in a wilderness where a warm cabin really mattered -- mattered more than most people reading this can begin to comprehend.

"On the Iditarod," Curiak said, "even on the coldest days, you get close to zero at least every day. Over five days along the Quest trail, the warmest temperature we saw was 35 degrees below zero. People up there can appreciate it, but it's hard for anyone else -- the temperatures, the scale of the land.

"People think about 500 miles, and they think about 500 miles on a highway," Curiak said, in a car, with the heater running, between cities where warm structures are the norm not the exception. The Quest Trail is the opposite of that.

How much it affected Curiak and Irwin is best recorded in what they are not doing this year. Neither is venturing far from home. Neither plans a major winter mountain-bike adventure for the first winter in years.

"After seven years straight," Curiak said, "I'm taking the winter off. I'm enjoying Colorado. I'm sleeping, not practicing bivvying on a bed of spruce boughs. I'm trying to teach myself to ski. I'm doing a lot of hiking with the dog."

"I'm not obligating myself to anything," Irwin said. He's thinking maybe, kinda, possibly about chasing the Iditarod dog teams to Nome on his bike, but more than that he's making plans for the newly proposed "Sweet Roll 200." It would be a 200-mile, wilderness mountain bike race making use of almost every trail in the Chugach National Forest just south of Anchorage.

And it would happen in summer, when the days are long and the sun, if not hot, is at least warm.
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Old 01-03-09, 01:58 PM   #22
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C'mon, that's not really cold. It's a DRY cold

Joking aside, I once lived in N. Finland and was told in Sept. to put my mountain bike into a middle gear. I said "What? Why?". I was told "Because winter arrives in October and you'll have to take your bike indoors to thaw it out if you want to put it into another gear".

Turned out to be true!
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Old 01-03-09, 02:04 PM   #23
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Days like that are a good reason to own a really nice trainer.
I thought you were in Winnipeg for a minute...

That makes our current temps look a little mild.
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Old 01-03-09, 02:08 PM   #24
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Hey it's 80 degrees here too and you don't see me complaining.
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Old 01-03-09, 02:35 PM   #25
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Days like that are a good reason to own a really nice trainer.
Wow! I've never experienced anything THAT cold before in Coldgary Al-brrr-ta. Thats like "Alien Planet" cold.

I've tried to ride at -30 before, not fun, turned around and came home after 15 minutes.
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