Inches of snow– nine point one from the record set in 1954. It’s been a good year for a fatbike; a season with less than four feet may have been an icy reason to leave fat tires at home. Rather, my studded Stumpjumper has been dormant in the basement for weeks at a time, with fresh waves of snow every few days to keep skinny tires inside. Did you ever think 54mm tires were skinny? Three years ago I was on 700 x 28 and 32mm tires, then 32 and 38mm. A year and a half later, I built the High Sierra before a trip to France and was riding 559 x 42mm Panaracer T-serv tires. In anticipation of Mexico, I purchased a pair of 47mm Schwalbe Marathon tires. This summer I procured a used 52mm WTB Nanoraptor tire in Jackson, WY. Staring at a 94mm tire on a 65mm rim all winter makes 2.1 inch mountain bike tires look narrow. The tide of fat tires floods.
Like a word association game, talk of trail rides at the bike shop is mostly a babble of “Blue Dot” and “Baseball”, to “Brown Bear”, “Moose Track” and “Moose Meadow”. These are names for narrow paths that wind, and eventually loop, through the woods. It’s a silly game of riding in circles for fun, but I’m figuring it out and the trail with blue spray paint on the birch and aspen is “Blue Dot” and the one ending at the ball fields is “Baseball”. The others are mostly signed by the Bureau of Land Management, and are wider and well traveled.
Today was an exceptional day to be outdoors in celebration of almost 11 hours of daylight, a near-record seasonal snowfall, perfect trail conditions, and a bike that doesn’t take days off. My hat is off to fat tires. I couldn’t have done it without them.
Another 2-6 inches of snow is expected tomorrow, with 10 hours and 51 minutes (29sec.) of sunlight.
Alpenglow looked over us and long shadows followed us home along the Tour of Anchorage route, the second most populous ski race in the country, which took place today. Gaining 5 min 44sec. a day, Alaskans are high on sunlight for the next six months.