Now This is a Bike Race

Bill Gast

After a hearty breakfast the next day, it was off to Wasilla and the Deska landing to begin our adventure into the Alaska Bush. We loaded sleds and picked out our snow mobile and we were off under cloudy skies.  It took about 5 miles for me to get the hang of what to do and what not to do. Soon, I was cruising along comfortable, not minding the 10 degree temps plus wind chill. Yep it was cold!

We passed fat tire bikes (always in twos) coming down river on our snow-packed trail; I noticed there were bibs on the bikes. At a fork in the frozen river, we passed a sign that said “Scary Tree”. I saw five or six bikes next to a tent and just had to stop. Turns out we were sharing a race course with fat tire bikes--the Susitna 100 a Race Across Frozen Alaska . These racers had been on the trail for 12 hours, cooked a meal and were resting in their sleeping bags. Overnight survival gear and a GPS were mandatory. Cell phone coverage is non-existent. Talk about a rest stop!  It had a landing strip marked for ski equipped aircraft. These bike racers certainly had it together. I stayed a bit to chat with the check-point crew and snapped a few pictures. I wish I could have spend more time with these bike adventurers. Later, the SAG vehicle flew in at tree-top level.  That's when I finally realized I was on a adventure! 

Two hours later, we arrived at our destination. The rest of the week was spent in great fellowship with new found friends, eating salmon, elk, caribou and moose steaks for dinner and watching the Aurora Borealis at night . As time permitted, we played and spent quiet time walking through the snowy forest, enjoying nature's beauty, God's handy work. One of the most inspiritual sights was seeing Denali rise up against a blue sky. This was a week I will not soon forget!

Bent Fork - Volume 7, Issue 1 - Vol 7, Issue 2 - 1 April 2014

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