Wednesday, July 30, 2008

4th of July

Yep, I'm finally getting caught up. We went to Seward for the 4th and watched the fireworks at midnight of the 3rd (it was sort of dusky, the clouds helped) and sang patriotic songs as they exploded in the air between the mountains.

We camped in my roommates parent's yard and we went down in the morning to watch our friend Aubrey take 4th in the race...no, THE RACE!

The mount marathon race is a race up, then down a mountain. It's so steep that every year tourists have to be rescued off of it: http://www.adn.com/front/story/477169.html

The following are pix from the men's race (we couldn't get ourselves up early enough for the women's except to be at the finish line).

Here they are going up the part that you can see from the bottom:


Here is a few guys flying down the cliff face on the way back down (click on the pix to make it bigger):


And here is the winner running down the shale:


There is snow at the top so they kind of skid/ slide down on their butts until they get back to dirt and rock.

We also got to meet the Mrs. distant cousin who was coming though on a cruise. He is the district attorney for a huge area in northern Minnesota encompassing Duluth. He wrote a very nice letter of recommendation to help get her into law school for which we are very grateful.

The drive down and back were gorgeous between the mountains and next to the sea.

67.5

An odd number for a title, but that's my mileage from biking yesterday. I used my Dahon fold-up bike and may have set an Alaskan record for most miles on a compact bike in a day.

My knee was getting pretty sore at the end, still is, but when a gorgeously sunny day presents itself here you have to take advantage (last week it rained for 6 days straight)


Here is how you treat a sore knee:


Here are some flowers from the Turnagain Arm where I ate my lunch. In the background you can see the clear strips on the mountain where the avalanches have removed the trees (too bad I didn't realize the camera was set at a low mega pixel when I took some of these):


Here is the view where I ate my lunch:


On my way back into town, I met up with the Mrs. when she was finished working. We went down the Tony Coastal trail to get home and got to see a bunch of these:


Now I've got helmet cam positioned right, but it's still doing 8mm quality video. Here is a sample of what you get to see riding/ driving to the Kenai Peninsula from Anchorage (can you tell it's an upright bike?):



video

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Career Milestone


So here I am at the big milestone: 10,000 flight hours! I've been logging flight time for 18 years and on July 9, 2008 at 7:51 Pacific Daylight time I snapped this picture when I hit the big number on my way from Seattle to Lihue, Hawaii.
If this keeps up I'll have over 30,000 hours when I retire.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

cursed hill

Today I biked my hill route. Last time I did it I got glass in a tire which was annoying to change since I had stuff piled up in my basket.

Today I managed to break a spoke on the way down some recently climbed large hills. It wasn't too bad, but the wheel would rub one side of the brake then the other. I gotta stop incorporating errands into my workout: I had the basket full again today.

I was able to get it fixed at the LBS so I can ride it to work tomorrow. It's always nice having something done at the bike shop when it comes back in better shape than I could have done and, of course, a lot less effort on my part.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Biking in Anchorage

The Mrs. has been biking to work so she is getting in plenty o riding (17miles round trip) during the week. Thankfully, she still rides with me on her days off.
Here we are in downtown Anchorage where she is either being mauled or has some crazy new bruin dance moves:
The following images are from our bike ride on a path along the new Seward Highway which is next to the Turnagain arm.

I always intended to keep my ugly mug off this blog, but since I'm all over her Facebook I've given up:

It was VERY windy that day (usually is in that area) and it was much more hilly on the trail than it looks on the road so we didn't put on any big mileage. It was fun checking out all the info-histo signage that some local govt agency has placed along the trail.

We did see some Dall sheep on the cliffs above us to our east. These rocks are pretty high and steep only interrupted in their climb from the mudflats by the highway.

The mudflats are left by 30 foot tides which are famous for the bore tidal waves: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bore_tide

I got the Mrs. to ride a beluga whale near beluga point. She said it was cold:

When I was in the Netherlands I took a day trip to Texel island and rented a bike for the day. It was one of my favorite days biking in my life. This photo reminded me of that day:

Sitka!


It's been a while...we've been very busy and I STILL DON'T HAVE MY BIKE FIXED!! Getting a little cranky riding on the road so much.
Earlier this month the Mrs. came on an overnight with me to Sitka, Alaska. It was a pretty nice day for a hike so we went out to see some totem poles.
There is a really famous artist that does these totem poles and you get to see where he works and the wood he chooses, etc. It's like looking at the marble to be used by Michael Angelo, because if you are into totem poles he IS your guy. Too bad I can't remember his name.
Here is some of the lovely coast that day:
We had a fancy dinner at the hotel where we stayed because in Alaska it is expensive to eat out and I'll take the 20% off the hotel meals when I can.
We saw some Russian Orthodox architecture and climbed the historic hill where they exchanged the Russian flag for the American one when Seward got us a pretty good deal on some land.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Bike woes

It's been a while...sorry about that, just been too busy having fun to spend much time posting. I'll post up some pix the next time the weather is bad or I'm too sore to get out and do stuff.


I recently discovered a crack in the frame of my MTB. Bad news if the frame were to fail leaving me stranded somewhere or worse fell apart on me as I was cruising down a hill. So the local bike shop (LBS) is trying to get the manufacturer to warranty it and get me a new frame.


In the mean time, I've decided that my 23 inch framed commuter is too big for me. I've slipped a couple times trying to get my foot over the top tube and I'm not comfortable taking it on the dirt with the top tube snugly against my crotch whenever I need to hop off the pedals.


So I "need" a new/ used bike.


I think what I'm shooting for is a rigid MTB so I can stay on the dirt while the broken frame gets sorted out. Then (more than likely this winter) I'd like to purchase an xtracycle http://www.xtracycle.com/models.php with which I'd not only have a commuter that fits, but for all intensive purposes a second car.


There is a Kona Ute http://www.konaworld.com/08_ute_w.htm at a LBS for $800. Problem is that it only comes in one size and it is too small for me.


$800 is steep for a brand new second car only in the sense that it didn't fit me and I'm done buying bikes that don't fit me no matter how cool they happen to be: Murray, current Trek commuter.


But wait (those of you who know me) say: you don't bike in the cold or the depths of winter, you told us you can't carry all your stuff to work on a bike, and even if you could there is no shower there for your sweaty self.


I have started biking to work, even carrying my full size suitcase (roller bag) in the jumbo basket of my current commuter. The advantage of using an xtracycle would be the fact that I could carry a garment bag+laptop case on one side and my roller bag on the other side and it wouldn't be so top heavy and difficult to handle as it is now with everything in the basket.


In the winter I could change at work and leave my stinky riding clothes in the crew room to dry out by the time I returned from my four days aloft.


Is this realistic? I think so. I'm not saying I'd be riding to work every time, but I could see myself doing it more than zero times.