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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Nome in the News

Photo taken by Carol Gales

A little activity in Nome that seems to be making the rounds in the media .  The two pictures here show the difference in camera's and that maybe I need a new one.  The above was taken by our friend Carol and below with an iphone.  My normal point and shoot cheapo camera finally gave out after 4 yours of brutal use.

Watching the Coast Guard move around in that ice is pretty cool and their journey sounds epic. They arrived just in time for the weather to warm up to -2.  I heard and read about the updates on the news.  A pace, at times, as slow as snow biking on the ITI... over Rainy Pass.... in 2009.  How low we really were with fuel (Crowley also provides fuel) I don't personally know but with the past month of -30 temps I wouldn't be surprised if it ate up a bunch.   

In either case, I can't post much in the way of photos till I get a new camera.  I'll never be as prolific as MC's beautiful shots but during yesterday's run would've posed some good opportunities.  The family went for a short ride in the car and dropped me off at Osborne/Triple creek area.  (I watched the Olympic Trials for the marathon yesterday and got the urge to run).  I ran back to town over dexter bypass just as the wind picked up.  It was about 11 miles with a diversion up Anvil hill.  Much of the run over the dexter road was buried in snow. Between the poor visibility, poor crust running and the poor resurgence of wind I was glad to make it back home in a very non-Olympic time.  

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Lucky Lakes

Christmas fun!
 Today was a balmy -9. Many know that most of Alaska has been in a cold spell for the past 3 weeks or so.  We have had record days never getting higher than -30 and mostly closer to -40 (lower in river beds or interior).  I was so happy and felt lucky when the cold spell occurred, I mean what better way to check gear and bike functions??  Normally, we have a lot of wind and wind chill but rarely ambient temps like Fairbanks, at -40 on the coast.

The Lake shoes also arrived.  I was able to test them out in the cold and had some pleasant runs.  The shoe is definitely made narrow, even a size 13.5 is a little tight but they are probably one of the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn out of the box.

If there is any question about circulation versus insulation you should know I added three large layers of socks plus a VB today (since it was warm) simply to stretch the boot.  It took an hour to get cold.  I removed all layers but one and in no time the foot circulated warmth.  It really is a good winter boot and the next two hours were great.  I've tested them easily down to -45 without an overboot and only one sock layer.  Similar to my Lobbens.  Good stuff.

I (also) say luck because while riding in the cold temps last week my freewheel froze open and obviously needs a little service. Something that may have happened during the ITI since the hubs and rims are so new I wouldn't have thought to have them serviced.  I had to switch back to my large marge rims with the older WTB hub and freewheel which works great, still, even at the lowest temps... probably because of Pete B's magic mechanics as he was the last to repack them.
 The higher temps today (while I was out) according to my kestrel was -18.2 and the local trail was hopping with skijoring and dog sledding.  It was amazing that the lower river beds still dropped 10 degrees to -27.  During the really low temps last week I used my kestrel weather station and wanted to take a pic of the temp but it was so cold in the snake river valley the LCD screen was blank (even out of a warm pocket) and the camera froze.

The VB have been amazing.  Wore them a lot and are absolutely perfect for these colder days. During a 2 hr snow trail run last week I wanted to see how little clothes I could tolerate and was able to take off all layers except a light Ibex sweater over the RBH VB jacket at -38.  It was incredible.  I'm sold on them.