Sunday, December 7, 2008

Trail grooming

Rose packs down the new trails that Singletrack Advocates built on the Hillside

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving thanks

remember this mid-April ride?
we'll miss you Jessica!

Thanks for another great year.

When a week is turning upside-down
A Wednesday ride brings me back to earth
To dirt
To wooded trails
To wonderful friends.

I sometimes remind myself that when I least feel like going for a ride, that's when I need it most. But it's more than just the biking. It's each one of you Divas who make every ride unique, inspiring and validating.

So, thanks. By joining a ride you are giving to your sisters-in-dirt. And I hope you are also receiving the wonderful, positive vibe that you've provided me.

Happy Thanksgiving!

posted by Rose

Monday, November 24, 2008

Snowy trails ...

A happy bike is one that's not sitting in the garage ...
A happy Diva is one who's not stuck in the house!

If the temperatures stay cold and the snow continues to hold off, the trails at Hillside and Campbell Tract are fine for riding without studs or snowcat tires. The narrow trails, like Rover's Run and Lynx, are especially nicely packed. The wider trails, like Viewpoint, have more loose snow because skiers, walkers, and riders have more trail width to choose from.

If you're feeling adventurous, try one of the new singletrack loops or Birch Meadow along Campbell Creek.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The riding is still good!

The riding at Hillside is still good with just a little snow on the trails. Where/when the temperature gets above freezing, some places can be a little muddy. Ride early to avoid the mud.

Rover's Run is officially open again, but up to 3 dozen trees fell across it in the windstorm last week. The upper half only has half a dozen or so, but we heard the lower half takes some time to navigate. The ski club has been active clearing the trails that it grooms, so most trails are very open.

We did see some bear tracks out on Old Rondy so don't forget your bells, bear spray, and/or friend.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Eklutna fall colors

At the start of the trip.

Friday afternoon five divas pedaled to the Serenity Hut at Eklutna Lake. Gloria, Jo-Ann, Corinne, Bev and I took in the sunshine and views of the fall leaves and glacier-fed lake. Corinne's husband, Paul, joined us for the day trip. He graciously took group photos with at least three cameras - here's one of them:We took our time... and took lots of photos, marveling at our good fortune after a summer enduring countless rain showers during group rides.


Jo-Ann, on her Trice recumbent, who is responsible for rescheduling this trip. Thanks!

This is me pulling my BOB - I'm pretty darn happy!

We shared the cabin with a couple bemused hunters that night. They kept their distance, being outnumbered as they were...

Next day we went for a day hike up the valley to get closer to the glacier.
Corinne, Bev, Gloria, Jo-Ann

Alas, the trail disappeared into steep, loose rock before we could see the moving mass of ice. After a snack and a bit of hiking upward to get some better views, we headed back to the cabin where we met the newly-arrived Saturday gang: Karen, Ann, Terrie and Katherine. Lori and Stacey and friends joined as day-trippers.
One view of the Serenity Hut.

We shared snacks and hot beverages in the sun on the back deck of the cabin before waving so-long to our guests and settling in for another evening. Dinner, a hike. Star-gazing. We hit the forbidden subjects: politics, religion, puberty and shoes.

Sunday morning made three in a row with more sun and cool temperatures. Coffee. Pancakes with blueberries. Clean-up, then the ride out. I don't know if anyone really wanted to leave.

Thanks everyone for organizing and pitching in to make this a fantastic weekend. Special shout-out to Mother Nature: "Thanks, sister; it was great!"

posted & updated by rose

A Diva-licious weekend at Eklutna

If you were in southcentral Alaska this weekend, you know it was the best one of the 'summer.' More reports of the Diva weekend at Serenity Falls Cabin will be coming. Here's a glimpse of the weekend -- Bev pedaling along the shore of Eklutna Lake, pulling a Bob trailer filled with good things to eat and drink.

Last Scheduled Ride ... who told the moose?

We were treated to a beautiful fall evening in Kincaid for our last scheduled ride of the fall.

Several moose turned out to wish us a happy winter (even though some of them will still be turning us around on trails while we're skiing). This mama and calf even had their own gate to prevent us from descending to their grazing spot.

This bull eventually wandered into the woods so we could continue on. We'd already changed course twice.

the end

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Racing sunset and the rain

Divas gather at the top of a hill

Sometimes it's hard to believe that any place on earth is more beautiful than our little corner of Alaska. That's what I kept thinking last night as we biked through the spectacular fall colors of the Campbell Tract and Bicentennial Park -- extensive red carpets of dogwood, brilliant yellow aspen leaves, deep golds of the birch trees, and the constant verdant green of our spruce.

The rain did not dampen my appreciation of this place and it didn't seem to dampen anybody else's enthusiasm to hit the 10 mile mark.

And we did that. We started pedalling up Viewpoint and up up Homestead to the Hillside Loops. Then we looped around the Abbott Multi-Use, Besh, Lighted, and Service Loops back to Homestead. Back on the Campbell Tract, we gave up hills for the windy narrow paths of Lynx, Moose Track, and Salmon Run. We returned to the parking lot right at sunset (8:16 pm).

Thanks, Divas, for a great ride!

Photos by Rose:snow creeping lower

for gloria

Thursday, September 11, 2008

At play in the fall colors

Seven Divas unafraid of a little rain and mud departed from the Campbell Airstrip Trailhead. I got a little dizzy with all the loops we rode, totaling 9.66 miles. Somehow we managed to ride Old Rondy and make a loop of it with the new MLK Jr swath and still end up at the beaver pond. Here we enjoyed the colors of fall, the various props, and the swampy patriotism of other park users.

We instituted a new tradition of cookies half way through the ride (thanks, Gloria!). Then somehow we did P-38 Lightening both ways, and Birch Knob, Moose Track, Lynx, and Coyote, before arriving at the parking lot for more cookies and ginger tea by Kass. Somewhere along the way we forgot about the rain, rode Salmon Run both ways, and had a great time.

American Gothic, Divas style

Rose takes time to stop and smell the dogwood

Gloria, Terrie, and Kass pose in the outdoor portrait studio

Our photographer, Corinne.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Rainy at Kincaid

Twelve of us started from the Raspberry Trailhead in a light sprinkle. Lori and Michelle co-led us on a wonderful tour, including Roller Coaster, Mize Loop, and Margaux's Loop. The rain never stopped, though it did get stronger at times. The trails looked slick but no one wiped out, not even on Little Niagara.

I was lucky to be wearing my fabulous harlot shorts. They shed water and were completely dry at the end of the ride! Lori made an erroneous comparison of these very stylish shorts to a postal uniform. Here I present a side-by-side comparison for your review (stylish harlots on left; utilitarian uniform on right):

Neither rain, nor hail, nor sleet, or snow, can keep a Diva off the trails!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Trails planning in Bicentennial Park

Hey Divas -

If you want to know what's going on in the parks, come to this public meeting:

It's the Far North Bicentennial Park trail users meeting on Monday, September 8, 2008. The meeting was moved to the 2nd Monday due to the Labor Day Holiday (normally on the first Monday of each month). It will be conducted at our traditional time of 6:20pm at the BLM Science Center at the BLM Campbell Tract, 68th and Abbott Loop Road.

Here's the flier (click to make it bigger):

Hope to see you there - please let others know about this.

posted by Rose

Thursday, August 21, 2008

mmm mud!

Guess I should have looked at my own post from earlier in the week about not forgetting my fenders. It would have helped at last night's ride.

Didn't really need it early in the ride as we zipped around on some singletracks and some wider trails. Then... we rode down Black Bear Trail. After the first big wheel-sucking puddle most of us stopped worrying about how muddy and splashed we were getting. Normally, I'd avoid the muddy trails, but it's not like any of us were going to turn around and climb back up that hill.

So, mud it was until after Moose Meadow when we joined the Tour trail and finished our ride.

Thanks everyone for showing up. Thanks for the cookies and muffins & thanks for following our twisty, turny ride through Bicentennial Park. Group photo to follow...

Also, for the record book - Sweep of the Year title goes to Bonnie for finding the seat bag left on the trail after Gloria crashed her bike in the slippery mud. Good eyes, Bonnie!

All trail signs were obeyed, despite the day's news of the suspect sow being shot at Stuckagain.

posted timely by rose; photo additions by corinne

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Ten riders tackled the hilly trails in Kincaid Park on Wednesday. We had beautiful conditions as we rode the maze of trails. We split into two groups - one group met a few moose, the other group found just one trail section blocked by construction.

After sharing tea, cookies and some fresh cherries in the parking lot, the sprinkles began. On my drive home, the rainbow revealed itself over the mountains.This Wednesday's ride is on the east side of town where we've had lots of rain. Hopefully not too much, but put on your fenders just in case.

posted by rose

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Rover's Run closure

In case you haven't heard, the mayor officially closed the Rover's Run trail (also named Mellen's Way) yesterday. Barriers have been put in place to try to keep people out while bears remain in the area. This doesn't mean bears are only on this one trail so it's a good idea to use caution and travel together in groups when you're in Bicentennial Park.

I like that Lt. Paul Honeman of the APD is quoted as recommending: "carry bear spray and to wear 'dinner bells' to avoid surprising a bear." Kind of reminds me of the photo Diana posted on her site. You have to read the last paragraph to appreciate it.

posted by rose

Friday, August 1, 2008

Bear-free on Spencer Loop

Now there are two kinds of bear sign ~ piles of half-digested berries and dayglow warnings from Rick Sinnott!

Despite these various signs, Karen was determined to ride Spencer Loop .. essentially doing a tour of every place the mama bear with cubs has tried to attack some hapless runner or biker. Diana and I took pictures along the way to help the authorities trace our route in case anything should happen to all 9 divas on the ride.

A report of the bears down by the creek did cause a detour early on. We watched the creek banks as we started the loop but were soon too busy huffing and puffing up Wall Street to be concerned about bears. We did the main loops first and then hit Double Bubble to add some distance.

Bonnie asked, "Is that all of Spencer Loop? I've never done all of it."

"Well, no, there is the big hill at the very beginning that we skipped so we could go down to the creek"

"Let's do it."

So one more hill, then back to the parking lot for 2 kinds of iced tea and one kind of iced cookie. Thanks Bonnie, Katherine, and Rae.

Katherine, Rae, Anne, and Bonnie after their first full tour of Spencer Loop.

Diana in the bear-free zone on top of Wall Street.

Karen shows off her Diva freckles and polka dots.

Monday, July 28, 2008

pedaling or trail work?

Let's just say you don't feel like biking on Wednesday. What you really want is an upper-body workout instead. Or, maybe your sweetie is all bummed because you're going riding & he really wants to do something constructive and meet cool people. Well girls, do I have an answer for you!

It's a trail work party on the new singletrack! Be a part of the finish work crew to make our new trail a reality.

pssst, I hiked it today. It's going to be fabulous. It's in a beautiful location, professionally designed and built. ***Singletrack Advocates reminds us to not ride it until it's announced that it's open. But here's a sneak peak at what I saw on my hike:

The STA site will tell you all you need to know. Please also remember that we still need some funds to assure the trail will be completed as planned. If you can contribute - and if your workplace makes contributions - please consider helping out. To paraphrase the NSAA: singletrack doesn't fall from the sky.
This youngster said she'd stay out of the way.

posted by rose

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Warmer at Hillside

Wow, what a great ride!

A BIG thank you to Corinne for going to the flattop trail head to turn unsuspecting Divas around!

Katherine led us on a terrific, 10+ mile tour of FNBP. The 12 hardy divas who showed for the ride were not disappointed! The trails were wet and we were muddy and happy as we rode the horse rutted trails of Hillside down to Homestead, Coyote, up Viewpoint and then back up Homestead and around Service. Whew! The group voted for a big finish with the big hills on the Hillside Lit Loop but a mama moose and her calf had other ideas! She looked like she was not messing around! No worries, back to Coaches' Cutoff and to the trail head where we decided to have our after-ride festivities at Jo-Ann's despite the lateness of the hour. She and Adam(Thanks!) welcomed our mud-speckled faces and we chowed down on Truffles, banana cake and watermelon, sharing a bottle of wine between all of us.

What fun!


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Change of venue July 23

Due to the cold and rainy conditions, we're changing the ride location from Glen Alps - Powerline Trail to Hillside Trailhead in Bicentennial Park.

Same meeting time - 7pm, lower elevation. Bring a rain jacket and a towel.

posted by rose

Monday, July 21, 2008

skills part II

Six of us gathered at the Hilltop parking lot on Monday evening for the second part of the skills clinic. We had some light sprinkles early on then went over skills like: trackstanding, getting over obstacles, riding in wet conditions and other tips. Then a short trail ride that included some rooty singletrack and some fun hills.

We made lots of noise as we pedaled through the trails which we had all to ourselves. With so few people out there, we wanted to be sure the bears heard us and knew we were heading their way. We didn't see any bears.

By the time we were riding on Ridge Loop, rain was coming down and we were still whooping and hollering... it sounded more like a cattle round-up than a bike ride. One rider pointed out that we aren't normally encouraged to be noisy. It feels good to just let it out sometimes. Yeeeha!

Rae set her bike on the ground before it started sprinkling. Here's the stencil it left.

posted by rose

Thursday, July 17, 2008

windy night at kincaid

Despite rain on the east side, thirteen riders gathered at Kincaid Park on Wednesday evening for a ride that took us into the woods, onto a few bits of singletrack and over to the Sisson Loop. We encountered strong winds, tall grass, a covey of ptarmagin and a young moose more stubborn than us.
After a few of us skidded to a stop and started backing up the hill, Hannah, Darlene & Mary Kay

Bullwinkle looked at us, crossed the trail and decided he really just wanted to relax on the side of the trail. We backtracked away from him and did manage to finish the Mize Loop and the rest of the ride with no other wildlife encounters.

Thanks, gang, for bringing cookies, trail mix and tea. Thanks also to Hannah's dad, Tim, for taking the post-ride group shot. You can see by Lori's skirt just how windy it was!

posted by rose

Monday, July 14, 2008

skills & pedals

Kudos to the fine group of women who attended this evening's skill-building clinic. After covering shifting and braking, we went over climbing and descending tips, then tackled the climb from the Hilltop chalet up to the first switchback, and back down. I was impressed with how everyone took on each challenge, from overcoming their descending fears to learning to do a front wheel loft.

Now each of you have something to practice before next week! We'll build off what you learned and actually include a trail ride.

On another topic:
This evening, someone brought up clipless pedals. Sometimes these words put fear into cyclists' hearts as they imagine themselves tumbling over in a struggle to release themselves from the contraptions. Of course, those are the stories everyone remembers. But for mountain biking, after learning them, I think they're a great way to go. Why?

1 - you've got the power - the power to climb - because you have not just the downstroke on the pedals, but also the upstroke. If you use clipless, you will make more hills.
2 - you've got control - because your feet are attached to the pedal, they won't easily slip off on a rocky descent or rooty singletrack.
3 - you've got no hang-ups - this is in contrast to toe clips - the clips & straps that people often have on their pedals, but which they sometimes don't clip their feet into. When not clipped in, the clip can drag and get caught on roots on the trail.
4 - you'll use bike shoes - and bike shoes give your feet more support because they're stiffer. Less fatigue results.

If you've got an opinion about clipless pedals, feel free to post it here.

posted by Rose

Thursday, July 10, 2008

9 July 2008 Biking near to Near Point

Ten of us pedaled out of the Prospect Heights trailhead on the trail to Near Point. Somewhere along the way Dawn caught up with us. We talked quite a bit about bears but saw none. Very few other people were out on what Bonnie called a "nice evening." Ah, some of us would only say "nice" by this summer's standards ... but some of us were comfortable in shorts (until the bugs found us) and even Karen shed her jacket. In the end, it was just great to be outside and spinning the gears.

Mary Kay, Katherine, and Jennifer at the turn-around

Monday, June 30, 2008

diva short film

Katherine has put together a short film from the Spring Formal.

Seeing everyone in their outfits, on their bikes or around the tables makes me feel happy to know each of you. Many thanks, Katherine, for putting this together.

posted by rose

Friday, June 27, 2008

brown bear takes it

We started out with 10. Ready to tackle some singletrack including notorious Brown Bear Trail. We all made it... but Mary Kay's derailleur hanger didn't. So she single-speeded her bike to ride back to the trailhead... and this was just after she wanted to do the trail again! You go, girl!
The rest of the ride was a mix of more singletrack connected by some wider trails. Thanks everyone for not mutinying while we were hiking through the squishy ground on Moose Bone... not a place you want to get lost because every Alaskans' fave insects were out in full force.

I must tell you that after some changes on Brown Bear earlier this season, the trail is in great condition with improved flow and fewer places where you have to dismount the bike... so, if you haven't been on it lately, go check it out again. It's worth it.Thanks Mary for taking this group shot where the Bears meet.

posted by rose

Thursday, June 12, 2008

fab ride

What a great evening for a ride in Bicentennial Park! A small group gathered at Hillside for a climb up Spencer Loop. It actually felt a bit like summer as we made our way up all the climbs. We enjoyed the views on the descent, then headed over to the Ridge trail. Beautiful conditions. Black Bear had no puddles, and Rover's Run, aka Mellen's Way, was also in great shape.

Thanks for joining in on this fun ride. Here's part of our merry band after finishing Rover's.

I hear Wednesday's ride in Chugiak was also a great time. See you next week!

posted by rose

Sunday, June 8, 2008

thanks trail workers!

In a collaboration Singletrack Advocates & other mountain bikers, fourteen people showed up on Saturday to help on a trail clean-up project in Far North Bicentennial Park. Divas Elizabeth, Bonnie, Mary V. and her daughter Laura and I joined other people for a morning project.

We were hauling out wood that was used to build illegal structures in the park and filling in some holes. Work started the night before when two volunteers cut some wood into manageable chunks we could haul out easily with the bike trailers.

People removed nails, carried lumber by hand and used three trailers to get everything out to the road. We filled post holes and a hole that was created when the renagade trail builders were building a jump. We also tidied up a piece of trail that had a slightly banked turn built on it.

The project went pretty smoothly, and we were especially happy to have new volunteers with young, strong backs to haul and do lots of shoveling! Plus, having the trailers was a great help.

So, thanks go out to the volunteers listed above, plus our wood cutters, Greg & Tim K., and the rest of our Saturday crew: Oscar, Jeff, Ted, Kyle, Nik, Debbie, Carol, Brian and Jon. Well done!

Here are the "after" pics and comments from Mary: "Just a note - I had a great time at the trail clean-up today! I rode one of the bikes with a bob trailer, and got experience in shuttling lumber down the trail. We had a resident moose and everything! We broke one bike chain, but otherwise a group of over 10 people from a variety of groups successfully hauled out wood and filled in holes that damaged the trail. Yippee! We quickly went to work and made a difference. Thanks, Rose, for organizing this. Having 3 bob trailers was great, too. We went to town."