Alaska Adventure Machine!

Alaska Adventure Machine!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Fairbanks or Bust!

I was now within striking distance of Fairbanks. It was 74 miles to Fox and another 10 miles to Fairbanks. I could taste the cold beer on my lips now! My sleeping bag was wet once again and I was determined to make it to Fairbanks today, come hell or high water. What I didn't expect were even more extreme hills, more mud, plus freezing rain and snow. It seems nature was really trying to crush me. After 9 days of cycling, with only 2 months of exercise bike training under my belt, I dug about as deep into myself as I ever had before to complete my ride. Endless grades, under wet gloomy clouds, almost crushed my spirits. My feet were so numb from the wet slush that often I'd stop and walk to get the circulation flowing again. This in spite of wearing a polyester liner sock, a thick wool sock and neoprene cycling booties! My hands were frozen and useless, my Windstopper gloves totally soaked. Several times I'd have to stop and wring out all the icy water from my gloves.


For nearly 20 miles I battled and clawed my way through slush and steep grades. I had a long terrifying descent down Wickersam Dome, in slush and thick fog. Definitely one of those "must not fall" situations. My rear brake was frozen open and unusable, plus the road surface was too slick to use my front brake. At high speed, on the edge of control, I sped down the mountain.

Near dusk I reach Fox and the welcoming lights of the the Silver Gulch Brewery. This was it, end of the ride. I was frozen top to bottom, there would be no more cycling into Fairbanks 10 miles away. Dripping wet I went inside and stripped off wet layers in the restroom. The rain pounded outside and darkness fell. I drank deeply of my first beer in 9 days. It had been a challenging ride and today was beyond category. Fox was enough, as I had cycled here many times before from Fairbanks. The link complete. Nearly 500 miles accomplished under trying conditions. That was something to be proud of. I was ready to go home now, finally.

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