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Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Weekend

Traffic... what traffic? 

A friend of ours offered the use of their cabin up the snake river valley for a few years now.  We finally took them up on it this weekend.  20 miles from our house. 80 degree heat. Breezy with no mosquitoes. 

Never ending daylight

Family fun. 

Relaxing on tundra. 

Hardly saw a soul. 
Ahh, what a weekend family vacation.
Thank you Scofields!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dog Blog

Winter left in a rush. Summer is here in Nome, even though it is not June 21st.  With the nice weather, I feel inclined to get out with the constant daylight.  A few days ago I went on my 3rd bike ride since the ITI. It felt good.  It was the first on dirt and sure enough I had my first dog encounter.  I have had so many, dating as far back as childhood when I used to deliver papers, that this season I thought I might categorize & tally my dog encounters with point system.  

Without further ado or judgment to dog owners here are my tentative categories (CAT 1 - 6). Kind of appropriate for bike dog categories, right? For CAT racing and also for dog/cat.. ha.  

Cat 1: dog chases you but sort of a friendly dog, non-threatening from bikers perspective.
Cat 2: dog chases you a little menacing but owner immediately calls for dog, no contact.
Cat 3: dog chases you, menacing, owner doesn't call back but no contact.
Cat 4: dog chases you, menacing, owner calls back but there is contact.
Cat 5: dog chases you, menacing, no owner and there is contact.
Cat 6: blood drawn or gear ripped from dog.

I have had all categories at one point or another. Owners usual response, "my dog has never done that before!" I'll have to think about the wild animal encounter, that has it's own nuances depending on the animal.

My first seasonal encounter started out as a CAT 1 but rapidly moved to a CAT 4.  Lets see.. I'll keep that as a tally of 4.  At the end of the season, I 'll tally up the number and maybe give myself a prize unless someone else wants to join in?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

ITI 2010 (7): Home

This will be my last post on 2010 ITI and put another year of it out of my mind. The writing was slow and the processing even slower.  Things are already fading readily in the background and am glad I was able to put something down in the form of a race report that turned out quite a bit longer than I anticipated. I look forward to next years ITI. Will I do the Nome race next year?  It is just too much time away from the family.  My co-workers and family conspired to have me sign a "contract" not to do the long race only the short  version next year. However, maybe the following year...   _______________________________________________________________
Day 15 - 17

Elim - Nome ~ 130 miles

Home Stretch
I shot out onto Golovin bay where there seemed to be a temperature inversion from the hills. My thermometer showed -20. I had to wear my goggles even with a little wind. By 9am I was in Golovin, went to the store warmed up and then continued on to White Mountain. The trail became better and better. I was in White Mountain at 11:00 am, went to the Iditarod Checkpoint and they offered me all sorts of food. An iditarod volunteer and cyclist, Granis Stewart, took these White Mountain pics and sent them to me.

I left White Mountain at 1pm and was in awe. The sun was out, the trail was hard as a rock and I was almost home. Holy ##**&. I was so anxious to get to Topkok, the notorious premiere blow hole of all blow holes. The topkok hills were a lot longer than I remember. I crested that last big climb before the coast and boogied into Topkok cabin. It was calm, sunny and actually a balmy 0 degrees. Very rare. Due to the (usual) extensive wind the next five miles were wind blown hard packed sand and the snow was concrete (as seen in the photo below). I was hauling the next 15 miles to the Council road. (A road in summer and trail in winter).

For some reason the snow went from hard packed to absolute mushy granular powder. I was still awestruck that it was 35 miles from Nome!! Typically there is so much snow machine traffic this trail is concrete. This is where I train and have always been able to ride a skinny tire MTB, what the heck? I saw two snow machiners pull up and they waved their hands. It was a friend, Erika and her sister. Holy mind trip. We talked a while and I told them an approximate time to expect me in Nome. The next 15 miles to Safety were rideable but slow. Right before Safety a helicopter landed close by, it was Russ with Bering Air flying a sight seeing group and he waved, gave me the thumbs up before he took off again. Another wow!! I motored on. By the time I was close to Cape Nome I had to push the bike because of snow but Nathan and Nora pulled up in a snow machine too. We hugged. It was super exciting. I kept pushing around the cape, there was little trail all snowed in but shorter than the Iditarod trail that goes over the cape. Chris pulled up on snowmachine then another guy Jeff. All wanting an ETA. It was hard to push a bike so close to home. I was only 10 miles out!! Yet the trail and road both usually hardpacked was mushy. One can decide to take the road in or continue with the Iditarod trail. I opted for the trail since the road is usually an infrequent snow machine track and lots of massive 20+ ft drifts. Then my headlamp started blinking. I was out of batteries and my spare was busted. I turned it off and then put it on the low setting. Hopefully it would make it.
I pushed, ground my pedals furiously and grunted my way on to the trail. Finally it re-intersected the road 5 miles out (plowed road). Unbelievable!! I hopped on the road and rode freely. I easily could kick it up to 13 mph. Cars and trucks rode out and back cheering and honking horns. Nora met me 1 mile from Nome with her bike and we rode the last mile into town, down front street to a huge gathering of friends and my wife with Hahnah were there. I rode under the arch and hugged my family for the first time in 3 weeks. It was glorious. It was incredible. The last 73 miles from White Mountain took 11 hours. 19 hrs from Elim. The adrenaline factor must have been huge and I just couldn’t get over the fact that I rode home.

Video Link of finish.

ITI Follow up

The afternnon after my finish I found out JP and Tracey were out of White Mountain and asked my friend Chris to snow machine out to give them a moral boost and let them know that he would be hosting them. We cheered them into the arch for their finish. They left town the next day so didn’t get a chance to chat much, however, the next few days I cheered in Tom Jarding, Tim Hewitt and the legend himself, Mike Curiak (for his self supported crazy endevour).

Here we are at my house after a great meal and some tales from the trail. Outstanding! Thank you Chris Miller for hosting all the plethora of racers on my behalf this year, it was a lot harder to have guests in our small house with a light sleeping baby. This year the recovery process was an interesting experience of fluctuating moods and energy levels that lasted over a month. Surprisingly, I had no knee pain or injuries. I simply can’t believe I was able to finish this animal of a race after such intense injury, nerve damage and edema 2 years ago.

I'm going to say it again... Thank you everyone who made this possible especially my family, Sarah, Hahnah and co-workers, Jamie and Dana. And Chris for letting the racers crash in his bachelor pad.

!!For the LLS We raised: $1630 for grand total of $21,600!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

ITI 2010 (6): Unalakleet - Elim

Unalakleet - Elim, ~150 or so miles

I was on the way to Shaktoolik by 10 am, later than I wanted but able to cruise with the solid hard packed trail beneath my tires. I aired up those endomorphs as hard as my little pump would allow. The 40+ miles to Shaktoolik I know well. When I lived in Unalakleet I traveled regularly by snow machine to Shaktoolik and Koyuk. This section is hilly but fast with good ups and good downs. The last 10 miles as you pop out onto the flats is usually the hardest, from boredom… and wind. Typically, the hills are well protected with tress but once you drop down onto the flats it’s exposed all the way to Koyuk. It’s rare to have no wind. That day was rare. As I got closer to Shaktoolik the snow turned a little punchy but managed to roll into town by 6 pm. I went to the store in Shaktoolik to load up. Directly across from the store is the clinic and next door, the school. I stopped in the clinic to warm up a little and say hello to fellow NSHC employees. My platform was to raise money for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for a friend of mine who beat Leukemia. She is a physician, originally from Unalakleet, who also works at NSHC. NSHC has always been a supporter of my events and this cause. It was a good idea to show my face and in the process eat my food.  I planned to either sleep in the shelter cabin at mile 12 before the ice crossing or continue on to Koyuk across the ice throughout the night. The wind is notorious and out on the sea ice a guarantee. Since arriving into Shaktoolik the northwind picked up to 15-20 mph (headwind) and when the sun went down the temps dropped below zero. Yet another -20 with ridiculous windchills; however, it could've been much worse. I decided to get a move on, home was beckoning.

Koyuk daze
I left Shaktoolik around 9 pm. The next twelve miles were a solid headwind with increasing winds the closer I came to Reindeer cove.  I arrived at the shelter cabin by midnight. I left my GPS on for this leg to get a better sense of distance. On the backtrack it showed 15 miles, a little longer than I thought. It was good to get out of the wind,  it seemed to pick up pretty hard and didn’t realize how chilled I was when I stopped moving. Stopping was a conundrum;  I either had to keep moving or warm up the place. Unfortunately, I chopped some wood and made a fire.Warm food and the woodstove got the better of me but I was undecided to sleep or not. I put some food on the woodstove and warmed up my water. Hot drink and food encouraged droopy eyelids. The plywood bed was looking good... screw it, I thought and kept going. While it was a good rest and food intake I kind of felt like I wasted the 2 hrs it took to warm up the cabin. It’s a great shelter cabin but I almost wished it wasn’t an option.

This section is monotonous by snow machine. By bike it was h-o-r-r-e-n-d-o-u-s, especially with no sleep. The Koyuk lights were visible since Shaktoolik and never seemed to get closer. The pressure ridges were massive this year therefore the trail wound mercilessly an additional painful meandering 10 miles. It is usually 30 miles from the cabin but it was closer to 40. I left the cabin at 2 am and rode and rode. The wind died down, thankfully, and the stars were brighter than any planetarium. With my sleep deprivation and the cold night clarity I found myself stopping and staring at the sky with a sort of drug induced type of stare. The northern lights started dancing around 4 am, lots of reds, greens and whites. A couple of times I found myself sleeping that way for a few minutes or hanging on the bars.  The Patagonia Parka strapped on my front Epic Design "rack" made for a really comfy pillow. 

At some point I glanced behind me and could see Shaktoolik lights and then closer behind me a headlamp. Oh no! Did I mistakenly fall asleep long enough for JP to catch up? I couldn’t quite clear my head so I hopped on the bike and kept riding. My tracks probably looked drunken, I was weaving so bad until I began to see the sun rise an hour later. The headlamp caught up to me and passed. Oh yeah, the Iditarod was going on and the musher waved hello. Koyuk was elusive with those additional miles, typically the trail is beeline direct. I couldn’t believe how winding it was almost completely across the sound to Isaacs Point and back until I made Koyuk by 9 am.  I was tired, about 100 miles since leaving Unalakleet 23 hrs previously.  I stopped at the store and loaded up on goodies. I popped in at the clinic to say greetings and was delighted to be able to crash a few hours in the bunk room. I gathered my gear and food then was on the trail to Elim around 4pm.

Almost home
It was hard packed with fabulous conditions. The 3 hr sleep was perfect and I could feel the closeness of home and it was stand up riding all the way to Elim. I had this shiteating grin on when Jason Barron (a musher), passed me outside Moses Point, he probably thought I was a lunatic. The trail was so fast that when he passed me I was able to keep up with him all the way to the Moses Point road. Well at least until I jumped a little ice ridge and landed my front tire in a rim-crevasse ( a crevasse the perfect width of your rim). If I didn’t have the sturdy large marge rims I think it would have easily been a taco. I went head first over the handlebars and landed 5 feet away flipped over on my back. Scary. Shook it off and rode into Elim Iditarod checkpoint at midnight. I ate and slept till 3am and was ontrail for the final day by 3:30 am. The Little Denali hill climb at walla walla 15 miles outside of Elim was not so little. Another sweat laden quad burning climbing fest.

I was so close to Nome, I felt on fire.  During such ultra events my mind and body go through countless emotional / physical highs and crashing lows but since Unalakleet I have been riding what was probably a full on adrenaline high.  I kept waiting for the huge crash. Luckily it didn't happen.  I was almost home, almost home.

Friday, May 7, 2010

ITI 2010 (5): Kaltag - Unalakleet portage

Kaltag - Unalakleet Portage 90 miles.  

Again No pics.  This one was taken leaving Unalakleet by B$.

I left Kaltag around 1pm or so not long after Lance Mackey blew straight through to Unalakleet.  He was the first musher to pass me and the start of a whole field of dogs and mushers that would sneak up on me.  I say “sneak” because you can’t hear them.  You only hope the musher yells something. Most, thankfully, did.  I also knew that there would be some serious mushers behind me racing for the lead in an event that actually had prize money.  One time Charlie Boulding (a top musher) was close to Nome and I was next to the trail cheering him in to Nome about 10 miles out and the dogs stopped.  They thought I was a checkpoint.  It was a horrifying experience that I, gratefully, didn’t cause him to lose a place and a few thousand dollars.  Ever since I have given the dogs a wide berth on my snow machine and stay off-trail. 

It worked out really well because most mushers would yell when they came up behind me and I would immediately jump off the bike and pull everything off trail.  In the process usually sink to my knees or waist in snow but still it was efficient.  No one had to slow down or stop on my account.   

The trail out of Kaltag is full of dense trees with a path sliced through them.  I was so anxious to see mountains and scenery I was familiar with that this section felt really long.  In addition, the trail deteriorated to a push.  There was about 6 inches of new snow on top of the base that made riding difficult and lots of pushing.  About 10 miles out of Kaltag the second musher Hans Gatt passed me. Really nice guy. Followed an hour or so later by Jeff King who was a little gruff.  I just kept at it with pushing and grinding. Hopping on the bike. Hopping off the bike.  I found myself constantly looking over my shoulder for mushers and for the Petervary’s. This is definitely where my 65 mm large marges were a pain in the arse.   

The windy trail kept going on and on.  I ran into some snow machiners coming back from Shaktoolik. Wow I still couldn’t believe I was that close to Shaktoolik, a village I am very familiar with.  Earlier this season the iron dog racers were able to travel super fast on the sea ice between Unalakleet and Shaktoolik so I asked them if they were able to do so.  The time could be cut in half if there was a decent trail.  They said they did but there were a lot of leads (open water) they had to water skip.   In addition the trail was about 2-3 miles out if not more.  At least I knew I wasn’t going that route and would stick with the traditional overland  trail.  We chatted briefly then moved on.  I plugged along and night sunk in. The temps dropped yet again to well below -20.  Another night where a cabin is preferable to a cold bivy.

Tripod Cabin
The Tripod flats cabin was a deceivingly long ways but I seemed to be nearing and I looked forward to sleeping.   I made it by 10 or 11 pm.  Hans Gatt was just leaving and had the cabin warmed up already.  It was (IS) a fantastic cabin with 3 beds; a bunk bed and a side bed.  I added some wood and brought in some more, hung my gear and ate a good meal.  When I laid down JP and Tracey had just arrived.  I slept pretty good and wanted about 4 hours rest.  The next few hours, however, was an onslaught of mushers coming in and out.  At one point someone added so much wood the cabin was incredibly hot.  I had to strip down to my bike shorts.  Kind of crazy when it was -30 to -40 out.   I read a race report recently on Sebastian Schnuelle who stated about Tripod cabinI was very disappointed to find the cabin full of Iditabikers without any place to sleep for us mushers.”  Now,  every musher I ran into was awesome, super nice and we seemed to have a mutual respect.  I was sleeping when Sebastian came in but in all fairness it is a BLM public use cabin, JP and Tracy were huddled on one cot together and Aly Zirkle, another top musher, was sleeping above me.  Additionally, I heard Zack Steer come in around 4am and I gave him my spot.  I’m sure from Sebastian’s perspective it was probably frustrating not to have a cot; however in 2005 when he arrived in Nome for his first Iditarod my friend, Mike, hosted him and I was staying there so gave up my bed to him.  I hope that evens things out.  Alaska- the biggest small town. 

Old Woman
I was out the door by 4:30 am and started feeling my engine getting a strange vibration.  Almost like someone shoveled an extra load of coal into a locomotive.  When dawn broke I could see Old Woman mountain.  Oh my God! What a rush.  I could hardly contain myself, Old Woman Cabin was only a few miles away.  I’ve been to Old Woman cabin a few times and it not only reminded me of past trips but I was able to know each part of the trail, each mile, each landmark, each section.  It was a weird and euphoric feeling.  I was also worried about overdoing it.  All I wanted to do was keep going but reason prevailed.  I stopped at Old Woman Cabin, chopped a bunch of wood since most of the kindling and smaller logs were gone.  I started the fire in the woodstove and tried to warm up and dry out yet again.  It was only 17 miles from Tripod but it is hard to pass up a cabin when it’s -30.  I also needed to make a little more water, hot water preferably.  I then found a vacuum sealed bag of lasagna a musher left behind.  Oh that was good, oh so good when I threw it in the boiling water.  Hmmm I was toasty warm, full of food and full of water.  I was ready to get onto the hard packed flats of 30 miles to Unalakleet.  Another WOW moment. Unalakleet, I just couldn’t believe I would be there by evening.  Would any of my friends be there to greet me? Is anyone even following the race? Or know about  it?  As I got ready to leave the cabin, JP and Tracey arrived.  I was so excited about Unalakleet I just wished them luck and kept rolling.  The trail finally firmed up to super hard pack.  The sun was out, it was cold and clear and the trail was fabulous. Just fabulous.

I turned the corner of Old Woman Mountain and literally vvrrooom!!! An intense wind storm hit.  This meant two things; 1) I had to put on both of my windproof facemasks and 2) I was close to the coast.  This is a spot-on typical coastal windstorm.  This is what I train in all the time.   I glorified in it. I reveled in it.  It was blowing so hard, it had to be up in the higher 30+ mph range and the temp was easily -20.  Something like a -50 windchill.  But man was I pysched.  Unfortunately, the hard packed trail started becoming drifted and then I  had to plow through drifts.  I refused to get off my bike. Simply refused, I just kept riding and riding even slow because the 30 +mph was not just wind but a head wind.  But I knew where I was!  I knew what was around the corner and where the lulls would be, the tree breaks.  The trees fell away after Old Woman and started on more of the tundra openness that I am used to.   I felt great.  All of a sudden a snow machine group stopped.  It was the head of BLM. (I think he said his name was Jim.  He shook my hand and we talked a little. Rather yelled in the wind to each other.  I told them JP and Tracey were behind me and to check on them too.  I’m sure they were fine but without the windproof stuff this wind will simply eat you alive.  I plowed ahead.  About 2 hours later another group of snow machines came up the trail.  I was overwhelmed, it was Jeff Erickson and crew.  He stopped and stood in front of me and the wind.  He is a big guy about a half foot taller and wide as a football player.  He stopped the wind and we hugged each other.  I was speechless to the fact that I was now in territory of people I knew.  We spoke a few words and he was going to Old Woman to watch mushers.  I moved on with new found energy.  I rode another hour and another machine stopped.  It was B$!!! Holy cow! I was wondering what he was doing snow machining in this wind and I almost thought he was checking on me but alas he was checking on  Dee Dee Jonrow.  Also going to Old Woman.  It was still incredible though.  He was going to catch up to me on the way back and we would have hamburgers at Igloo, the local hamburger / arcade hangout.  It was still blowing like crazy and I had about 15 miles to go but only 5 to get onto the river.  

About an hour and a half later I was on the river and the wind died.  I started cruising.  It was standup riding the rest of the way to Unalakleet.  About 100 yards from the boat dock B$ passed me on snowmachine super fast.  Scared the heck out of me.  He said he couldn’t believe I almost beat him back to Unalakleet.  We hugged and I told him I would meet him at Igloo.  I rode up the boat ramp and into town. WowWow Wow.  My old home town.  I couldn’t get the smile off my face.  It was 8 pm,  I was totally soaked from the exertion and rolled into the Igloo.  B$ was there and I got two cheesburgers, two fries, two cokes and we sat down to chat.  It was glorious.  I called in Bill and Kathi and told them I made it in.  B$ said he passed the other two bikers at 15 miles out still.  I made a little time and looked forward to a good rest before my last 250 mile push to Nome.  

Sunday, May 2, 2010

ITI 2010 (4): Yukon


Day 10 - 12, Ruby - Kaltag: ~160 miles.

If only I had a snow machine. When we left Ruby and dropped on to the Yukon I would have been able to pin the throttle and relax.  But I didn’t.  It seems like everytime you do this kind of thing you are always wishing for something else. Sometimes you wish for skis, bigger rims, lighter bike, better gear, snowshoes, snow machines maybe even a plane.  It was still flat and pretty fast for a bike, a striking contrast from the hills and interior leading up to the Yukon.  It was cold too, no contrast there.  The Yukon was pretty exhilarating, in a sense it meant back in civilization and the beginning of a new section while ticking off one of the most difficult.  Kind of like getting over Rainy Pass.

Galena came fast in about 10 hrs, the time was in fact 5:01pm.  Exactly one minute too late to retrieve my mail drop. The post master would not give me my box.  Another one of those contrasts; compared to rolling in to Ruby where the post master delivered our boxes after hours.   Galena is a pretty large village and while I was not able to retrieve my drop I was able to go to the store and buy enough food to get to Kaltag.  I didn’t think it was necessary to send drops at every village since the stores were more than sufficient and even if I missed a store I always had enough to last me to the next village.  This was a lot easier when I hit the coast simply because I knew each store, snack bar, food spot and their hours in all the villages from Unalakleet to Nome.  

An interesting sidebar was that I received my drop from Galena back in Nome about a week ago.  It had a return to sender notification on it.  Kind of like Christmas, lots of goodies and my expensive lithiums!

I stopped in at the local eatery in Galena and JP and Tracy were eating there as well.  Understandably, I was sure they wanted to do their own thing so I decided to take a B&B instead of the Iditarod Checkpoint.  It was a great thing. There is nothing quite like stepping into a world of normalcy.  The B&B was quiet, relaxed, warm and right next to the trail so I didn’t have to back track anywhere.   It was fantastically hospitable and one of my best rests.  I organized my bike and laid my clothes out to dry next to a wood stove.   My gear was soaked from the exertion to try to make the post office before closing. The host was used to Iron Dog racers so she had a great drying rack system.  I ate and ate some more than slept fitfully for four hours and got up at 2 am.  It was day 11 and  I was on the trail by 4 am.  I wanted to make Kaltag in one shot so I tried to get out as early as possible.  It was also really super cold.  This was the only stretch that I had to put my overboots on for the cold.

I heard reports of -50 that day but it was probably closer to -40.   I was able to ride but noticed my tires were soft, really soft. It didn’t act like a flat tire, just lost air after a couple of hours.  It was no fun airing up my tires on the Yukon periodically, though I was happy I didn't have to replace a tube. At those temperatures things snap and break much too easily. I had to make sure my pump was warm (next to my body) but without moisture ( difficult when sweating) in it before slapping it on the valve stem.  JP and Tracy passed me around 1pm or so close to Koyukuk and then we played tag all the way to Nulato about 3-4 pm.  It was early but I needed to check out my tires and switch out tubes so I stopped.  The Petervary’s also decided to dry out and retrieve their drop.  It was a great stop as the Iditarod checkpoint is the school gym and has lots of room.  Everyone was super nice.   I dried out my gear and changed a tube with some trouble.  I had one of the larger tubes and it didn’t seem like it would set on the bead. JP said just to keep airing it up and eventually it set.  I aired up the old tube and there was no hole or leak I could see.  I suppose it was so cold the air density or something with the tube changed characteristics or maybe the valve stem.  JP had the same issue the following day too so it must be something with the cold. 

We left Nulato relatively at the same time somewhere around 6 or 7 pm.  This was the first time Iditarod actually caught up with us, at least the trail breaking snow machines.  They left Nulato a little before us and the trail went from hard packed to mush.  We all aired our tires up super hard thinking it was going to be a fast trail and it was not, unfortunately.  Sort of an air up and air down kind of trail.   This sucked because I realized it was going to be a long night.  The trail of about 40 miles from Nulato to Kaltag went from a grind into a push.  The temperature dropped as twilight turned to night and kept on dropping.   I ground furiously for about 4 hours and built up a huge sweat. JP and Tracy passed me again and the grind slowly turned to a push.   The time was around 2 am and it was getting cold.  22 hours since I left Galena.  The lights of Kaltag were visible but didn’t get closer, the last nine miles were an extremely tiring cold push with typical sleep deprivation hallucinations and dejavu.  Here is what I hallucinated about...

                                                              Hawaii with family 

I had to put on a  my seal skin hat and puffy coat on as I wasn't really generating enough heat pushing. I needed to make Kaltag soon. In Galena the B&B host told me that if I get into Kaltag I could knock on the Burnhams door and they would probably welcome me in.  I heard their name before as a friend of a friend or some odd thing.  I relayed that info to JP while we were in Nulato if they couldn’t find a place.   My intention, however, was to crash at the Iditarod checkpoint, if possible, or at the school. When I stumbled into Kaltag around 4 am, the checkpoint was surprisingly hopping.  The first musher was due in sometime the next day and everyone was getting ready.  I saw JP and Tracey being led to the school and another guy came up to me and asked if I wanted to go to the school too.  I found myself asking where the Burnhams lived.  I was adamantly focused on wanting some space, even if I had to bivvy in the trees.  The guy told me that the Burnhams would welcome me in even at such a late hour.  He knocked on the door and was correct. Richard and his wife were completely welcoming and I slept on their couch. Thank you millions!! 

They let me dry out and I slept about 3-4 hours when my sleep caked eyes opened to two little kids staring at me.  The Burnhams were taking care of their grandchildren, so I got up.  My feet were swollen and it took me about an hour or two of moving around before I started feeling human.  I got my drop at the checkpoint and made some of my coffee and food.  I went to the store and stocked up on some more food but the selection was pretty slim.  I had to get enough for two days because the portage to Unalakleet is a long 90 miles.  If the snow conditions are the same as the last section it would likely be a push at least through the hills until I get to the flats after Old Woman.  Old Woman, WOW, my old stomping grounds.  I used to live in Unalakleet and couldn’t believe I would really start seeing memories once I get to Old Woman.  Maybe even see old friends out snow machining, what an incredibly strange feeling.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Another Ahhhh....

Another title fitting for this seat.  

ISM Rocks! They sent me their new Adamo MTB Peak after I told them how awesome the below seat was..... A little worn after about 1,100 miles but sure saved my ass!!! 

Thank you ISM!