Sunday, September 8, 2013

Arctic Valley Bike Ride - 9.5.2013

For the last several months I've felt like I've been in a prolonged period of cabin fever. It started with a long period stuck on the boat in the Prince William Sound, and with rainy season now in full effect here in Anchorage I've been having a hard time breaking out of it.

I figured the cure I needed was some anguish on my bike. So, after work I headed just north of Anchorage to the Arctic Valley Road, drove a couple kilometers up the road and started riding towards the ski area. I immediately began to wonder if I'd made the right decision as heavy winds blew me all over the road. But, the views up Ship Creek kept me quite distracted from the tornado around me.

Winter is coming!!!

The initial planning from my desk had led me to believe that I could follow a road to a high point around 1,200 meters that would look down on the Matanuska Susitna Valley. However, upon reaching the fork in the road, the plethora of NO TRESPASSING and LIVE FIRE signs convinced me to just head towards the ski area. Looking south towards Knoya Peak and Ship Creek.

9 km and 650 vertical meters later, I made it to the ski area, I turned off the gravel road and pushed/rode my bike up a steep trail towards the top of the lifts.

Made it! (Total elevation gain just short of 1 km)

From the top of the lifts I could see a rad trail that continued along the ridge to the east. But, already contemplating hypothermia and a soon to be setting sun, I decided to call it a day and head back towards the car.

I choose one of the many random trails that descend Alpenglow; it turned out to be steep, pencil-thin, and awesome!

In retrospect, the road to the ski area is a good leg burner. It sounds like there are some fun social trails that descend along the road back to the bottom. However, I have not quite come to terms with trespassing on military property. The ski area itself has plenty of steep and random trails descending from the top. I could do several laps there. Most interesting, I'm told that you can connect the ski area with the drainage to the north for some more extended adventure biking.

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