Monday, March 26, 2012

The first week

30 minutes into the start of this trip, I felt as though the last five months had just disappeared. I finished 4200 miles last Thanksgiving and now I'm already back on the road. I'm having a hard time remembering what is real about my life. It seams like I have never gotten off the bike.
In one way, this is good because it only took me a few minutes to slip right back into my rhythm. But in another way, I don't feel or know if I have had any time off.
I sat on the side of the highway yesterday, eating a Poptart. Trucks slowly climbing the hill in their low gears. I felt like I could relate and wanted to clear them on. It's just an empty spot on the road, nothing around for miles, but I'm there. As my mind settled into the break, I could begin to feel not alone, but solitude. I could see myself from above, sitting there; and I began to zoom up and out. Farther and farther my mind got a birds eye view, like a Google satellite image.
I was a speck in the middle of a vast, dry, rugged, wilderness. I could see how insignificant I am. When I got back on the bike, my imagined importance roared back to give me strength. I felt victorious as the road squeezed under the tires.

California to Alaska and back

Last Saturday I set out from Badwater in Death Valley California. It was the first day of 144 day trip to cycle solo to Denali National Park in Alaska where I will try to summit Mt. McKinley; and then if all goes to plan, I will cycle back to Badwater.

Badwater is -282 feet below sea level. Mt. McKinley in 20320 feet above sea level. They represent the lowest and highest points in North America, and they are separated by 3750 miles. So this ride is from low point to high point and then back to low.

My goal is to do this ride all by my own power. In particular that means hiking 45 miles to Mt. McKinley, foregoing the normal plane ride from Talkeetna to the base camp at 7200 feet. And once on the summit, turning around and hiking back out to my bike, for the ride back.

The cycling route is taking Interstate 15 from Las Vegas all the way to the border with Canada, then up to Calgary and Edmonton, then over to Dawsons Creek where I will pick up the Alaskan Highway towards Fairbanks. This route is flatter, dryer, and a bit warmer then going along the coast.

I'm averaging 68 miles a day, and riding for 55 days in a row just to get to Alaska I took all the rest days out of the trip to push the start date as far into Spring as possible and try to avoid as much snow and cold weather. Round trip, the ride will be 7800 miles over 110 days.

After hiking in from the south side of the mountain from Petersville, the combing route will be the less technical West Buttress, a very common route for most of the climbers. After reaching the summit, The climbing team and I will head North and hike/climb down the mountain into Denali National Park and to Wonder Lake, 25 miles away. While the climbing team will board a buss, I will switch back to my bike and begin the ride home. I all, the climb and hike will cover 116 miles over 31 days.

After the first week on the road I have made a short video and took a few pictures:

Week #1

Location:Layton, Utah

Friday, March 23, 2012

Death Valley to Denali and back

144 days, 7800 miles, lowest point to highest point and back.

"Know who you are, Know who you want to be, and Follow your dreams..."
-Antonio Figureida