Thursday, June 28, 2007

24 Hours of Light

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June 21st marked the Summer Solstice, when the sun sets for about 3 1/2 hours and never really goes far below the horizon. What better way to celebrate it than with a 24 hour bike race!??

Brian had been kicking around the idea of getting a team together for this 24 hour bike race in Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory of Canada for a few weeks. He met some people on that were putting a non-competitive team together and they had two open spots. The event is called "24 hours of light" and it's basically a big party where teams of 1, 2, 4 or 8 take turns doing laps around a 13km mountain bike course.

Some people, including a guy from Seward who caught a ride with us, Chuck, do the race solo. Which means they ride for 24 hours straight.... in circles... for 24 hours...without stopping. We had a seven man(woman) team, the Magnificent Seven. We pretty much rode the whole night, except for the hours between 6 and 8am where we all took a well needed nap. My sunrise lap was interesting. I started at 4am and was hallucinating that I saw a bear jumping up and down on a tree branch. There was nothing there. We ended up doing 19 laps total, we came in second to last! Woohoo!

BTW, Whitehorse is a super cool town and I highly recommend it if you ever happen to find yourself the Yukon. :)

Update: I finally got my pics online.. here they are:
Whitehorse - 24 hours of Light

Monday, June 18, 2007

Mt. Marathon Race

So there's this ridiculous race in Seward, Alaska every 4th of July where runners see how fast they can race to the top of a mountain and back down. The legend is that a bunch of guys were sitting in a bar in Seward and one of them said they could run to the top of the mountain that towers over Seward and back down in under an hour. The bet was on and the next day he ran up and down what is now known as Mt. Marathon (3,022 feet of elevation gain in 1.5 miles) in 62 minutes. He lost the bet. This idea has been turned into an "organized" race, that has been going on every 4th of July for 80 years.

This is not just any mountain. For those of you who don't know what 3000 feet of elevation in 1.5 miles means, here is a translation... @#%@$ steep! You basically have to scale a rocky cliff, then scramble up loose rock, then run down super steep sliding, shifting rock only to have to somehow get back down the rocky cliffs. Racers often cross the finish line filthy and bleeding.

So over a couple of beers one night, Brian's friend Thor suggested that we all sign up. We all said "Yay, Mt Marathon!"... The next day I signed up. Then I found out everyone else backed out. Okay, so I probably won't get into the race anyway. It's a random lottery for first timers and you have less than a 20% chance to get into the Women's race. Two weeks later, in April, I found out I was in.

Needless to say, for the past two months I've been training for this race, running every chance I get and scrambling up any mountain I can find. This weekend, I decided to go check out the mountain.. how bad can it be right? Hmm... the record for the race is 43 minutes up and down. I sat at the bottom of the mountain for about... 43 minutes... and contemplated just how I was going to get up this thing. The start really is a cliff that is half crumbling to the ground. But I made it up.... and down.. in about 2 and half hours. Here are some pictures I downloaded from the internet so you can get an idea...

Mt Marathon Downloaded

I'll be back to let you know how it goes, hopefully with some of my own pics...

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Our first 7000 footer

Saturday night Brian and I and our friends Andy and Karen biked 10 miles to the end of Eklutna Lake to make a 2nd attempt on Bold Peak. The peak is around 7500 feet high and we start at about 1000 feet, so we had our work cut out for us. Last year Brian and I started way too late and only made it to 3800 feet. This year we were determined to make it to the top and luckily we had great weather. We camped at the base of the peak Saturday night and started our ascent at 8:15 am. Here are some pictures and the story...

Bold Peak!