The Backcountry cycling team is growing at an alarming rate. The idea was hatched at the shop this winter and became reality this spring. Compared to the larger Anchorage teams we have just a handful of riders, but they've kicked ass this year. Our laid-back approach to cycling, willingness to support other team members, and appetite for good beer make the Backcountry team a ton of fun.
Our newest addition is Kirk Louthan, a young man who definitely fits the Backcountry model. Kirk is a 3rd year civil engineering student at UAA and lives in Kenai. Kirk started riding a mountain bike around the Kenai-Soldotna loop for fun his senior year of high school. He saved his fishing money and has since picked up a road bike. This year Kirk was awarded the Supper Randonneur by completing a 200k, 300k, 400k, and 600k Randonneur in the same year. Great work Kirk - quite a stretch from pushing a 40lb mountain bike around dirt roads!
It's great to have this guy as part of the Backcountry team. Look for Kirk during the distance events next year and call him if you need a road or bridge built.
Without a doubt, my 2nd favorite time of year for cycling for a few reasons:
The State Fair has concluded. Here in Palmer we're finally free of the "holy-shit" pace of life for these lovely couple weeks. Thousands of drivers focused more on flat beer, funnel cakes and bricks of deep fried starch than my flashing bicycle light. I'd love to have a dart gun for (a) the 197 year-old drivers who manage to drift over and give more space AFTER they've passed. Jesus, just hang it up already. And (b) the under-25 male your-tax-dollars-will-someday-pay-for-my-seven-kids crowd. You know, the ones that have a confederate flag somewhere on there lifted truck and insist on dropping the hammer when passing.
It's getting colder. School is back in session and people seem to have settled into the slower fall/winter rhythm of life. Summers in Alaska are bananas. Vitamin-D deprived Alaskans try and squeeze 6 months of living into 3 each summer, which makes for a noticeable let-down in the fall. I love it. My morning rides now include thermal arm and leg warmers, toe covers, hats and thicker gloves. Cycling shorts are not made with wind guard material in the front crotch panel? Am I the only one who dreams of a neoprene ball-koozie during the first 15 minutes of each ride? It's too early for the fleece tights but too cold for the regular clothing. I guess I'm just trying to squeeze more out of less this summer. . .it's Alaskan.
This is the first post in yet ANOTHER Alaska cycling blog. Before you roll you eyes and exhale, hear me out. Most other blogs I frequent have write-ups and great photos of past races, epic rides, or other events relating to cycling. My blog will take a different approach and focus on the personal challenges of training, racing, gear and nutrition as it relates to cycling in Alaska. Sure, they'll always be sweet photos and the dates of upcoming races but I'd like to share what's rattling around in my head at night. We'll see where this blog goes from here. . .