Friday, June 19, 2009

riding out of town

Bev on Resurrection Trail, August 2007

Divas escaped the big city this last week and pedaled beyond the city proper ...

Six of us started the week with a ride on Crescent Lake trail on the Kenai. Despite a few sprinkles here in Anchorage and over Turnagain Pass, we were dry on the trail. A little wipe with mosquito dope kept the bugs at bay as we pedaled through forests, along a canyon, and through mountain meadows.

Jo-Ann suggested a few years ago that Russian Lakes is the easiest of the Kenai rides, but I'd vote for Crescent Lake trail. For those wanting to get some backcountry singletrack on their odometers, I'd recommend this trail. It's only 6.5 miles to the end and it's an out-and-back, so it can be scaled to individual rider's ability and comfort level. Most of the trail is a smooth riding surface of dirt and spruce needles at a steady, manageable grade. Short portions are rooty and rocky and/or steep, and the canyon section can seem precipitous to those of us fearing heights. But overall, this is as easy as riding the Hillside singletrack trails. Our total riding time was just over 2 hours for 13 miles.

Despite the short distance and time, this ride was a good reminder to have tools and first aid along on any ride (cue Jamie to jump in now with some commentary!). Bonnie's chain broke about 4 miles up the trail. She and Jena installed a QuickLinks and she was able to finish the ride. Terrie isn't sure what happened, but near the end of the ride she did an end-oh over a large rock buried in the trail. Gloria had baby wipes for clean up and antibiotic cream for immediate healing. Terrie reports no major damage and she's done a great job covering up her black eye with makeup. She will be buying a new helmet ASAP, right, Terrie?

On Wednesday, 23 of us met in Chugiak/Birchwood to ride the Beach Lake Trails. Thanks to Terrie and Mary for taking two groups around the various loops (all hilly!). A little rain hardened all those sandy, loamy spots that usually suck the power out of a hill climb. As Terrie said, the "bugs were hungry" on the trails but almost absent from the parking lot where we enjoyed hot & cold tea, homemade cereal bars, cookies, and strawberries after the ride.

If anyone has pictures from either of these rides, please send to me and/or upload to the yahoo site so I can put a current photo with this post. Thanks!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

on singletrack and delicate subjects

We've just had our third dirt ride of the season. Now's the time we discover what is or isn't working for us. Last night Lori took half the riders on a tour of the hilly Hillside trail system while I led the other half up the new STA trails. Everyone tackled the blue (intermediate) loop with power and positive energy. Probably fueled by the sunshiny upper-70-degree temperatures.

Things got broke & Gina had to bail - bummer because she had just been telling me how much she had been looking forward to riding these wonderful new trails. Come back next time, Gina! Brakes were challenged as were butts, not to mention quads & calves. (After a season of climbing, won't our legs be gorgeous!?)

I was talking with another rider about saddles and butts and would like to share a few things about that subject. Choose your saddle well. Saddles come in many shapes and sizes and should be selected based on the width of one's sit bones. For mountain biking, I like the Terry Butterfly

my butterfly
because it's wide enough, but not so wide that I can't slide off the back of it on a steep descent. Each one of us is built differently, so find a saddle that fits you. If you're having a shop install the saddle, ask if you can take a spin around the parking lot to make sure it's the right shape and positioned at the correct angle. It might take a few tries to get the angle just right, but patience will pay off in more miles of riding happiness.

another kind of butterfly

Now, what goes with the saddle? The cycling shorts or pants. If you didn't already know this, the secret is: the pants have padding in them - that's why they make the riding much more comfortable. Be sure to wear them with nothing underneath (no panties). Cycling shorts and pants are designed to eliminate chafing and hotspots and their fabric is thick enough to not be too revealing... if this seems weird, imagine wearing panties under your swimwear. Get the picture? They should fit snugly, but not be so tight that you feel you can't breathe or swallow a gulp of water!

When you're comfortable in the saddle, there's one less thing on your mind so you can focus on the trail and enjoy the experience more fully. Your bike will feel like an extension of your body. That's when you will make leaps in becoming a better rider.

(Corinne was taking photos last night but said she wouldn't post anything until it rains. I'd like to see those pictures, on the other hand...)

posted by rose

From corinne:
Today was cloudy and cool, and I was curious about those photos, too, so here are a few from the singletrack riders.

Gloria with her new bike frame - can she crack this one on the first ride?

Are they going to make it up that hill before the mosquitos carry us away?

Terry escapes the Hive .. or was that the Jive?

The Dusty Boys Bike Club met the Alaska Dirt Divas at the Gasline.
They came from Anchorage, Mexico, Philipines, and Dominican Republic.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

June? Really?

Today someone told me the June schedule wasn't here on the blog... oops. Sorry about that! I know we've all been looking forward to summer and the dirt trail riding, but with everything we try to fit into the days - work, planting gardens and being out on the bike, somehow updating the schedule just slipped our minds. S0...

June is now posted and maybe we'll get July and August up there more promptly. Just let me know when the next rainy day comes along...

Besides riding on the dirt trails, we have an opportunity to give back to the trails we love --and will ride this summer -- by volunteering on June 6th to do a little finish work on the Singletrack Advocates (STA) trails. I rode one of the loops this evening after work with my husband. Just a short ride on the outermost loop. After catching my breath at the top of the climb, we enjoyed the twisting, rolling descent. This is one of those perma-grin trails you'll love riding. If you can lend a hand on Saturday, you'll appreciate the trails even more. I hope lots of Divas & friends can make it. Thanks.

posted by Rose