Sunday, June 25, 2006

Hillside Park Ride Posted by Picasa

Hillside Trail Ride

Decided to go into Anchorage yesterday to check out Hillside Park and the new Brown Bear trail. I grew up in the Hillside area but haven't lived there for more than half of my life now. I had NO idea of the awesome trail system they have. I had such a great time, I think I was laughing the whole time except when I was gasping on the hills. I really need to get more hill-time in. The closest hill around my home is 5 miles away and not much of a hill.

We crossed paths a few times with one of those young, cute, barely 20 year old girls riding a Specialized. She was lost sort of, asking us for directions to a specific trail. You can't REALLY get lost there, up takes you to the mountains, down will take you to town somewhere. So we all tried to figure out where we were on trail maps that totally sucked, her's worse than ours. My husband points out a route but it's all uphill. The Cute Young One says "Hills are OK, they don't bother me". I'm thinking "yeah, just wait 19 years from now and see it you think the same". :) I'm gettin old...

The Brown Bear was too technical for me. My shoulder still isn't as stable or strong as it was which really causes me to be probably overly careful. That trail is pretty interesting. I'd like to see how the REAL mountain bikes get through it. SOMEDAY, I'm gonna be a REAL biker. I still feel like a poser most of the time.

I got braver the last half of the Brown Bear. I have to remind myself sometimes on trails like that to keep the tires turning and don't try and coast. We then got on smooth single-track and just blasted. It was great fun! Got on the Tour of Anchorage Trail, which is basically a road, got back on some single track then onto the cross country ski courses. Beautiful ride. I haven't been on a trail before where you could just ride as fast as possible without having to worry about big rocks/roots/washouts/slides. My only complaint, which isn't really enought to call a complaint, is better maps of the trails.

I'm amazed at what speed can get you out of sometimes. There have been a few times up at Hatcher's Pass, on the trails that are half dirt, half basketball rocks jutting out of the trail everythere, that I was pretty sure I was going to lose it, feel the tires start to slide out or the bike tip, and then manage to pull out of it. My bike knows more than I do, I put my trust in my bike and it gets me through.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Beaver and Bear country. We are going to start carrying bear spray and maybe bear bells attached to the bikes. We saw fairly fresh bear scatt and a few hikers said they saw 2 brown bear sows. NOT an animal I want to run into.  Posted by Picasa

Down the Valley. Took 2-3 times longer going up into the valley, blasted down, out of the valley. Coming down is REALLY FUN.  Posted by Picasa

Up the valley Posted by Picasa

Resting after miles of gradual climbing. The trail finally started to smooth out Posted by Picasa

View of the trail from my bike Posted by Picasa

Bike Boy #2 crash, didn't make it over the rock Posted by Picasa

Sunday's ride, Gold Mint Trail at Hatcher's Pass. A long, gradual CLIMB into the valley.  Posted by Picasa

My Son's Bike Posted by Picasa

It SNOWED Last Night

It has been raining and the temps have dropped. Dropped enought for it to snow on the mountains....what time of year is it? There is snow at Hatcher's Pass now. I'm NOT happy about this. Summer here is short enough, we don't need Winter interferring.

My son's birthday was 06/14, I went to the bike shop to pick up the bike in the am, it wasn't ready. A problem with the disk brakes, the rotors were bent or something, Bike guy didn't have time to really get into it. It's still the MAD season as the bike shop, Bike guy says he's had a customer really getting on his case so he wanted to get her bikes finished up for her. Ok, I can deal with that. It accually increased the suspense of my son, who HOPED I would be coming home with a bike.

When I came home with no bike, the kid's jaw dropped to the floor. He asked where I had been, said I had to go to my office and get some work done. He did that long, skinny, slopped-shoulder droop that only a 15 year old boy can do, got out his bass guitar and started strumming loud and sad...I giggled to myself. So then around 4:30 pm, I told him to get into the truck and i will take him to the bank to cash the birthday check he got. His cousin, Bike Kid #2 tagged along. We started heading to the town where the bike shop is, not the town we live next to. He started asking WHY we are going this way, to where the BIKE SHOP is?? I just couldn't help but smile and giggle. So he figured it out for sure, but I still made him wait so I could get his check cashed. Then we pulled into the bike shop. He was bouncing at this point. He didn't know what bike he got. He said he thinks I got him a road bike. Bike Guy, as non-chalant as always, asked my kid "what's up?". My son gets a confused look on his face, Bike Guy is working on a old lady's cruiser. My son mumbles something, Bike Guy's wife comes out and tells him "Happy Birthday" and to check out is new ride. Out comes the full suspension 2006 K2 Lithium 3. Bike guy upgraded the bars to FSA carbon fiber bars and rear derailler to X.9. I really like the value of K2's - good bikes with quality components at good price. We have 2 K2's already and they are great bikes, no complaints at all. I have had more problems with 1 my Cannondale, never any problems with the K2's. It's a beautiful bike and the kid is HAPPY!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

My Bike and Beer Pick of the Week: Kona FireRock Pale Ale Posted by Picasa

This 2 seconds of Bike and Beer fame goes to Arleigh - thanks for the recommendation! New Castle Brown Ale Posted by Picasa

This 2 seconds of Bike and Beer fame goes to DT. Thanks for the recommendation. Alaska Smoked Porter  Posted by Picasa

Saturday, June 10, 2006

What Beer Do You Want to See With My Bike?

Give me suggestions of the beer you would like to see with my bike, if it's available in Alaska, I will get it, ride the bike, drink the beer, shoot the picture and post it, naming whoever gave the recommendation for the beer. This could be your 2 seconds of Bike and Beer fame!! If it's not available here in Alaska, send me some in the mail :)

Bike and Beer Picture of the Month: Blue Moon Belgian White Wheat Ale. Posted by Picasa


I was given 2 bikes from a guy I know. They have been sitting outside his house for years and he was just going to trash them. One is a California Crusier, single speed, frame looks good, rims/hubs/crank need to be checked out more to determine if they are usable, the chain is shot. The second is a GranDelta road bike, I could't really find any information on it except it may be a line that was purchased by Releigh a few decades back. It looks like it's in pretty fair condition, no rust on the drivetrain. A front brake is totally missing and the back brake is totally screwed up. It will be a good learning experience getting these back up and running. The cruiser looks fun. I'm not sure if the road bike is a touring bike, the tires are much wider than on a typical road bike. Maybe I can get some hints from Dr. Frank-n-Bike aka Steve aka Biking in Halifax and start playing with electricity and chemicals...woohoo, I always LOVED chemistry. I will post some pictures later.

Took my Bike Kid to the bike shop yesterday. He doesn't know about his birthday bike so he's still pushing hard to get another bike for his birthday. He received $50 from his grandparents for "promoting" from 8th grade to high school. That wasn't done when I was in school so it seems a bit silly to me, but ok, now he's offically in high school. Anyway, the $50 was burning a hole in his pocket and he wanted to go to the bike shop.

I gotta say, I LOVE the bike shop. It's one of my Happy Places. Pretty, shiny bikes all around. I'm a constant source of amusument to Bike Guy, my ignorance is pretty funny sometimes. Like the time I was looking at a Santa Cruz he was building, I started squeezing the brake handles and that sort of thing, Bike Guy started talking about the "air" brakes on that bike. I'm going "wow, I never heard of those", then I notice there are no LINES attached. HaHa! Yesterday I was looking at a triathalon bike that wasn't yet finished. I asked how the gears are shifted because it has aerobars rather than the drop bars. He grabs the brake handle and said "squeeze once, up shift. Squeeze twice, downshift. Squeeze 3 times, braking". I'm again going "gee, really??" but I caught on a bit quicker this time, but DAMN, he got me again. Big laughs on that one. In my defense, the smell of bike tires and lube drops my IQ by a few dozen points, ok??? I have to laugh at my own gulibility. I'd rather laugh at myself than get twisted over stuff.

My son didn't buy anything there but I think he checked out EVERY SINGLE ITEM in the shop. I can't wait until Wednesday!! Pick up the bike, give it to the kid!! Bike Guy is upgrading it to XR at no charge (a trade for the amusement I bring to his shop or maybe the Red Bull I keep him supplied with or maybe because I've spent into the 4 digits in his shop in 1 year and gave brought 5 other people in there who all purchased bikes from him??) My son is going to LOVE IT!! I'm such a good MOM! :)

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Bicylist Killed in Hit and Run - Part 2

Friggin Shit. This is unbelievable.

Suspect in Valley hit-and-run dead of apparent suicide

Anchorage Daily News

Published: June 7, 2006
Last Modified: June 7, 2006 at 03:22 PM

A Palmer man suspected of killing a bicyclist in a Wasilla hit-and-run Monday was found dead at his home in an apparent suicide, Alaska State Troopers said today.

The hit-and-run occurred about 10 p.m. Monday. Troopers said Patrick Joseph Curtis, 47, of Wasilla was bicycling along Fireweed Road when a truck struck him from behind and killed him.

The truck sped away, but not before witnesses got a look at it. Troopers immediately started hunting for the driver and the truck, which was described as a dark Dodge flatbed with a lumber or pipe rack and a tank in the back.

Investigators soon identified James Jay Felland, 34, of Palmer as a possible suspect. He lived in the area and owned a 1999 Dodge flatbed, they said in a written statement this morning.

Troopers went to Felland’s home around 3:15 p.m. Tuesday. They found the Dodge parked in the driveway. It had damage that corresponded to the hit-and-run. No one appeared to be home. Investigators waited while troopers from the Palmer post applied for a search warrant.

Troopers said Felland’s wife arrived home about 6 p.m. and gave them permission to examine the Dodge more closely. When she went inside, she found a suicide note from her husband, troopers said.

Investigators found Felland in an upstairs bedroom, dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to the statement. His body was released to the family.

Troopers said their investigation shows that Felland was driving home from Wasilla the night the accident occurred. There is no indication that Felland knew the victim prior to crash, they said.


Contact reporter Tataboline Brant at

Bicylist killed in Hit and Run

Driver sought in fatal hit-and-run

Published: June 7, 2006
Last Modified: June 7, 2006 at 03:25 AM

Alaska State Troopers are looking for a flatbed truck that struck and killed a bicyclist Monday on Fireweed Road near the Fairview Loop intersection.

At 10:11 p.m., troopers responded to the scene to find Patrick Joseph Curtis, 47, of Wasilla dead of his injuries. Troopers notified Curtis' next of kin in Hawaii and Oregon, Lt. Rick Roberts said.

Roberts said it is unclear where the bicycle was in relation to traffic, but a trooper press statement said Curtis was eastbound when he was struck from behind.

The truck, a dark Dodge flatbed with a lumber or pipe rack and what witnesses said may have been an upright acetylene tank, fled the scene at a high speed, the statement said.

The truck had a broken left window and broken left headlight or turn-signal lens.

Trooper spokesman Greg Wilkinson said the investigation so far includes following up on many leads troopers have from the public and from their own investigation.

He said troopers "encourage the public to give us a call if anyone knows anything."

Anyone with information about the incident may call troopers at 745-2131.

-- Anchorage Daily News

Racing more important than Life and Death

I was talking about cycling today with friend a work. She told me something EXTREMELY disturbing and I'm would like to think it is not true but I have no reason to doubt her.

2 summers ago, her daughter, grandbaby and 3 year old grandson were down at the Knik River or the Matanuska River, I don't remember which one, but think it must have been the the Knik River. They were loading water into the water tank in the bed of her pickup when the river bank gave way and into the silty water the truck, mom and 2 kids went. The mom was able to get the baby out of the truck but wasn't able to get to the 3 year old boy. There were other people around who saw it happen and called 911. They were able to rescue the mom and baby, but the truck and 3 year old were washed away.

Now that's tragic enough, but this just twisted the knife in the gut a but more when my friend told me that the ambulance and State Troopers were delayed in getting there because the bike club in Anchorage was holding a bike race. The racers would not get off the road so the ambulance and troopers could pass. There is no shoulder on the old Glenn Hwy and the racer's would have had to get off their bikes and get off the road. Instead they decided their race was more important than a possible life and death emergency and would not move.

My friend was crying when she told me this. She said "they were racing while her grandchild was dying". She didn't say that the boy may have survived if they emergency vehicles arrived sooner, but she is very hurt at the selfish heartlessness of these cyclists.

She asked me, knowing I am a cyclist, if this bike club encourages that behavior. I told her I don't know, I think it would be more of an individual racer's choice to move or not. I know I would move off the road, my time be damned, if I had a bunch of troopers and ambulance on my ass.

I apologize to my friend, her daughter and the little boy who is now with God. Not all of us are like that.

There are more important things in life than riding a bike and winning a race.

Monday, June 05, 2006

To the glacier Posted by Picasa

Bears across the river Posted by Picasa

Serenity Falls Posted by Picasa

I like the colors in this picture Posted by Picasa

The end of the lake Posted by Picasa

Eklutna Lake, glacier fed  Posted by Picasa

Good Weekend

Good ride this weekend, to Eklutna Glacier (as far as you can ride) and back, about 26 miles or so. My friend's mom also thought it was a bit much for Bike Guy to shut down, blow off his family and drive 12 hrs to deliver a bike, she called him and told him they would figure out some other way to get the bike. My friend still thinks the mom should have let him, but I guarentee if it was the FRIEND who was in Bike Guy's position, she would NOT even think about doing that. Some things should be a 2-way street. Let's not be soo selfish. Yes, I agree it would be good avertising for Bike Guy, but it also needs to be realistic. That's just my opinion.

Almost my kid's birthday, his bike is being built!! I can't wait to give it to him!

We checked out the campgrounds at the end of Eklutna Lake, that will be our 1st bike/camping destination. Saw 2 brown bears, quite a few mountain goats on the valley walls, was told of a few other black bears that were closer by in the brush. We will bring a gun, state the tent away from the fire and will have to bring rope to suspend food from a tree. Yep, we really do these things. Then just kick back and enjoy the wilderness.

Saturday, June 03, 2006