Made it back!

Quick update before I set off up north to the Arctic Ocean. It’s been so hard to keep up with the schedule of this trip; I’m bound by certain weather windows so I must do all I can to hurry up.

Anyhow made it back from my first training exercise on the Kenai Peninsula; quite possibly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. Combine that with some of the best mountain biking and trails I’ve ever seen, the eight days I spent there were phenomenal.

Huge thank you to the guys at Speedway Cycles (Anchorage) for helping me plan my route in the Kenai. If you’re looking for people who are passionate about what they do and willing to take the time to help then I would definitely recommend dropping by. Thanks Anthony, Robert and Jeffere – you guys are awesome.

I started out from Anchorage highly excited heading down the highway with my bike packed awkwardly full of gear not really knowing what to expect. It was a very special moment. One of complete freedom blown away by where I was and how I got to be there. A feeling of if I could do this then anything would be possible.
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Fully loaded with 8 days of food and looking a bit new

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First day -image from Seward Hwy

Anyway, the first couple of days of my route took me down the Seward Hwy to a trail called Johnson Pass which I cycled from north to south. From there I headed to Devils Pass and then down Resurrection Trail to a beautiful little town called Hope. I then took a lift back to Anchorage with Pam (thank you!) and am currently camping out the back of Tony’s backyard. Tony Allen happens to be a bicycling enthusiast and has been exceptionally hospitable to me. Very much appreciated.

Sparing you all the details (far too much happened) the highlights involved:
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Crossing a snowy mountain pass (Devils); one false move and my 40 kg beast and I would have ended up in the lake. Probably my most treacherous moment. It was actually a lot steeper but the camera has distorted the image.

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Bear fur in the campsite (I think?)

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Bear locker in the campsite to store food

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Getting absolutely savaged by mosquitos – far worse than anything I’ve ever experienced.

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Headnet essential

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Rocky paths. Tough cycling with a heavy load uphill.
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This tree making the best out of its precarious situation

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My path actually looking more like a river (Johnson Pass)

Insanely overgrown mountain biking on Johnson Pass. Quite technical on a loaded bike; just trying to stay on the path was difficult.

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Building a camp fire in the rain (“very good for morale” etc)

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More snow

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Getting rewarded with this view after a very tough climb, pushing my ridiculously heavy bike up a very rocky path

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Feeling the cold at the top of Devils Pass

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Yet more river crossings

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The sun finally coming out after 7 days of rain

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Fantastic mountain biking

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Stunning sunset at Hope

Heading up to Prudhoe Bay tomorrow to start the actual trip south. No real opportunities to get supplies until Fairbanks once I start cycling south – 500 miles of wilderness on a gravel pot-holed road. Should be interesting. Looking forward to more feelings of remoteness; not so much looking forward to the severe mosquito agitation. Hopefully my knees will hold up; I’m expecting 10 days of punishing cycling, back to back. I can’t really take this section slowly or I’ll run out of food.


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23 thoughts on “Made it back!

  1. Awesome blog update. Very cool photos and great commentary, keep it up! Video works perfectly, good high resolution. Those mossies look hideous.  Hey, take a photo of your tent setup, would interested to see how big it is. Hadn’t quite appreciated how heavy and cumbersome your bike was going to look/be. Guess you won’t be able to update for awhile whilst on the 500mile bit.  If low on battery and have signal, just update time and long/latt co-ordinates.

    Good luck on the dalton highway. Await next update!
    Tom

  2. Hi Nick, great photos and write up! It looks an amazing place. Can you do more of the video footage please!! All the best for the big push down the Dalton Highway.
    Mat

  3. Looking forward to your book coming out! Glad all going well, amazing what you are doing, one word….jealous…! Keep up the good blogging, like the way you write. Keep safe xxx

  4. Sounds amazing Nick! Keep the posts coming. Great to see the photos too. Keep safe and look forward to following you as you go South. XX

  5. Nick, fantastic blog ( move over Michael Palin!). Looks an incredible start already. Slightly nervous for your next big 10 days! I do hope you dont run out of food or water and are not forced to drink your own pee or something horrid :). I trust some of those Bear Grylls survival guide tips stay fresh in your mind also!
    Nasty Mossie bites – seems such a contrast to the cold and snow too.
    Stay safe and look forward to your next update. xx

  6. That’s brilliant Nick, well done. Seriously impressive to cycle any distance on a road with that amount of equipment, let alone off road! How many miles were you managing in a day? Keep up the blog and good luck for the main trip.

    • Hi nick, that trip was a training trip so I’d have a rest day after each hard day cycling but a the terrain was tricky in places the distances was sometimes low. Anything from 20 miles to 50. Got to step this up for the Dalton… Speak soon…

  7. Wow. Incredible photographs Nick. Did you see any other people on the track? Those must be crazy mad mutant mozzies – aren’t mosquitoes supposed to like warm weather? The preparation was obviously essential, imagine of you hadn’t had a mosquito net or anything. The scenery just looks stunning, what an amazing experience. Terrifying, but amazing! Xxxx

    • Hi Jo, yes mutant mosquitos. Seem to be a few strains of them. There seems to be swampy stagnant land and not many spiders so perhaps that helps. I know they have a much longer life span so they must be different. Over the eight days I was camping alone but saw probably 4 or so other small groups, all very friendly which is great Xx

  8. What a fantastic experience! If you do nothing else, all those preparations will have been worthwhile. We will look forward to the next update!!! You’re probably on your way to Prudhoe Bay by now, but the message I posted yesterday didn’t seem to make it.
    Bon voyage and love, Mum and Dad.
    xxx

  9. Hey Nick, trip looks really, really amazing – everything you’d hoped for and more I guess!? Lots of great comments so far and yes I do think there should be some more video footage as it really brings to life the surroundings and brings us closer to what you’ll be going through.

    Few questions: i) does the bike have name yet? If not, why not and can we submit some suggestions? ii) how is the kit working out? I imagine there must be a pretty quick process of deciding what’s surplus or not? iii) where’s the sawn off (over and under) shotgun to deal with the bears?? 🙂

    Good luck with the next leg!

    Cheers
    S

    • Yeah, it’s been awesome thanks Steve! The bike has no name yet, feel free to suggest! 🙂 the kit is good but too much of it! Need to send some home. It’s heavy but it’s more the bulk of trying to get it into the panniers each morning that’s the tedious thing. I have pepper spray for the bears, no sawn-off. I thought overall it would be more dangerous than not to have one! Saw a black bear yesterday on side of the road but didn’t have a chance to photograph it… Cheers for the comment anyhow and good to hear from you!

  10. Awesome photos and scenery. Good luck as your adventure continue, and DON’T break a leg!

    Cheers,
    Pete and Family

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