Thursday, February 21, 2008

2008 Susitna 100

I have contemplated writing a detailed account of my Alaskan adventure but it might sound too much like whining; flight was canceled, it was cold, windy, snowy, soft, blah, blah, blah…

The reality is that I was uncomfortable with the way things were going during the race and pulled the plug early enough to get myself out. The chain of events leading up to the race may, or may not, have affected me and I have no way to know for sure. As Lynda so accurately pointed out to me in an email:

1) You are alive with all of your fingers and toes
2) The race provided excellent training motivation for a few months and you are fitter now than you would have been without a goal
3) You saw a piece of Alaska and made a piece of history

Many people including my wonderful wife, friends, and Bloggers I have never met, were incredibly supportive before and after this race and I can’t thank you enough.

Second guessing my decision will serve no purpose now but I can learn a lot from this trip and build on this for next year’s race. Yes, I am going back to AK next winter.

When flying to an event that is more than one time zone away, allow more than a one day cushion on either end because shit happens before, during, and after races.

Wear less at the beginning and add to it only if you get cold. Odds are good that you won’t be cold after 15 minutes and you will sweat less as a result.

Chemical hand warmers are heavy to carry and are worth twice the weight penalty.

The only thing that can prepare you for racing in the wind is training in the wind.

Having a hood to pull on and off in the wind can be invaluable

Chris E. is a bad motha’! He was quietly confident throughout the trip. In the last mental image I have of him during the race he was fully enclosed by balaclavas, hoods, and goggles while shaking his fist at the ground blizzard and yelling something to the effect of, “…Now I am pissed off” as he headed off across the Dismal Swamp. Greatness. He looked pretty damn fresh on Sunday afternoon when he got back too. Hopefully I can talk him into going back next year too.

You cannot predict what the trail conditions will be like. Some folks pushed their bikes 22 miles from Eagle Song to Luce’s while others rode the entire stretch (at 4 mph) eight hours later.

Speedway Cycles in Anchorage, home of the FatBack, is currently the center of the snow bike universe. The commitment they have to advancing the sport is impressive and inspiring.

As I expected, I met some great people and was inspired.


Anonymous said...

Dave you are a braver man than most for even attempting such a task of mental and physical endurance. You have obviously learned from this adventure and already are planning to takle it again with a new strategy. It seems to me that nothing but good things came from this and next year you will finish without a doubt. Thanks for taking the time to fill us in on all the details

Doug said...

What Brandon said!

And I'll add what a great learning experience an event like this is. Nothing else will ever seem as hard from now on. It's great to hear you've already decided to go back for another try. I know for me, after last years DNF at the AH135, there was no doubt in my mind I'd be back to give it another go. There's such a huge learning curve. You'll get 'er done next year. I already can't wait to hear about it!

Anonymous said...

HA! I was kind of pissed off at the time... It was another one of those times when you don't realize how much fun you are having until it's over! Man, oh man, Greg from Speedway was the best: taking us under his wing, letting us hang like locals at the shop and steering us to only the finest breweries in town! Class act all the way. Thanks Greg!!

Chris E.

Geoff said...

yeah, speedway is the place to be for everything snow biking.

a week after you were there the dismal swamp was the most calm, hard packed, gentle place you could ever imagine. mike c's 140 pound outfit was rolling on through it like it was a highway.

that's probably the most intense thing about the winter races is just how different they can be from one hour to the next but you have to be prepared for the worst because at some point you will get the worst. just sucks for all the susitna people this year that you pretty much got the worst the whole time.

anyway, hope to see you up here next year.