One hundred and twenty three (.7)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.20120305-010013.jpg

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5 thoughts on “One hundred and twenty three (.7)

  1. Nick,

    What saddle bag is that that Lael is using? looks great. Might want to get one for Ellie.
    Also… just ordered Park truing stand and all the tools (at least the ones you need) to build wheels. So when you get back into T-Town you have another place to do good wheel work…. And I’ll even hook you up with some home-made hard cider. Wheel building and cider…. does it get much better?

    • Josh, It’s a Revelate Viscacha seatpack. These bags are what internal framepacks were to backpacks, when externally-framed bags were king. Check out this website for cool outdoor gear history::http://www.oregonphotos.com/Backpacking-Revolution1.html Revelate bags are now available through your favorite local bike shop, from QBP, although they still seems to be available directly from Eric in Anchorage on his website, if you don’t have a favorite shop. The Revelate bag would be great for smaller bicycles with shorter clearance between the wheel and seat. The Pika, is the same as the Viscacha, but a little smaller for even smaller frames. That might be a good option for Ellie.

      You should catch up with Alex; he’s been building wheels for his new Big Dummy. He’s finished the dynamo wheel, and will be building a 48 spoke Rohloff wheel soon.

      Cider and wheels sounds good. Reminds me of my first wheelbuild while living in Brittany, home to great smoky ciders.

      • Ya I have seen the new 2nd! Alex was there working on the Rohloff when we talked. The location is so much better and it feels more like a real shop now. I picked up a bike from them for my mother-in-law. She’ll be rocking it this spring.

        Thanks for the info on the bags. I’ll check them out for sure.

  2. Pingback: Back in Alaska | gypsy by trade

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