Monday, July 22, 2013

Fireweed Logistics

I was talking to a non-cycling friend and told her we had ridden Fireweed. She asked why we called it fireweed. Guess that's a really good question if you're not familiar with the ubiquitous plant that blankets Alaska in summer or are not listening to the regular chatter of cyclists about rides on their Life List.

Well, above is the plant, and below is a link to the Ride (click on the picture), which can also be ridden as a Race.

Sometimes I've been asked "How did you first know about Fireweed?" I have no idea. Seems I've always been knowing about Fireweed and hoping that one day I'd be fortunate enough to ride it. 

2013 would be the year.

Fireweed is rich with logistics, especially if you are coming from "the outside" (outside of Alaska) Actually, there were 6 from Europe, 1 from Canada, and 70 from the lower 48.
  1. The start is at Sheep Mountain Lodge 107 miles mostly east of Anchorage. 
  2. How do we, outsiders, get to Sheep Mountain Lodge? 
  3. How do we transport or bikes (recumbents with a longer wheelbase than standard uprights) from Anchorage to Sheep Mountain Lodge?
  4. The Fireweed Course is 200 miles one-way from Sheep Mountain Lodge to Valdez. So, even if we were to rent a car, we would not be coming back to Sheep Mountain Lodge, so....
  5. I should add we could have opted to return to Sheep Mountain Lodge from Valdez by turning the 200 mile ride/race into a 400 mile ride/race, but that would require a SAG/support/crew vehicle and we didn't have one of those.
  6. Fireweed is an unsupported ride, meaning you're on your own for repairs, food, clothing, etc. Of the 779 riders/racers of the 2013 Fireweed all but about 6 had a support vehicle with crew. Michelle and I and the other 4 or so, carried our provisions on our bikes for the duration of the ride, the day before the ride, and what we would need to get us home by Ferry from Valdez to Whittier, and by train from Whittier to Anchorage.
Barry and Joyce continued their consummate hosting of us by offering to drive us from Anchorage to Sheep Mountain Lodge. They would overnight in the area and then do a day-hike to Gun Sight Mountain. I had bought two Thule trays to affix on to the roof-top rails on their Subaru to rack our bents. We would then then overnight in Valdez, take the 7:00 a.m. Ferry from Valdez to Whittier, and the 6:40 p.m. Train from Whittier back to Anchorage. 

Now the ball would be in our court to ride the 200 miles from Sheep Mountain Lodge to Valdez in two days, overnighting 8.5 miles south of Glennallen, near Copper Center, in a delightful Bed and Breakfast, Sawing Logzz.

Sawing Logzz

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