Posted in Bikes, Dog Life, Fairbanks Cycle Club, Mountain Biking, Road Biking, Running, Summer Training, Trail Riding

A Pandemic Can’t Stop National Bike Month

The hardest part about training in 2020 is maintaining motivation. Group rides in Fairbanks are cancelled until June. Races are cancelled or have gone virtual like the Tour of Fairbanks, which is cool though I miss the competitive rush at the start line with the pack. A normal routine doesn’t exist no matter how hard I try to create one. Some days I want to abandon training all together.

Deep down I know the real struggle. I don’t do anything unless there’s a reason. I bike to get somewhere. I run to socialize. And I swim to escape the world.

There is no swimming since the pandemic. Sure our pools are open to a limited capacity, but you have to pre-register online, come already dressed to swim and leave wet because you can’t use the locker rooms. I haven’t run with my friends since my last major injury because I simply can’t keep up, and I can’t expect them to sacrifice the quality of their training. And the trails are still soft, so Java and I stick to our neighborhood dirt road. I have added road biking in the mix. Biking the Old Nenana Hwy that runs by our house is a 1,300-foot killer out and back.

I hate to admit the truth. I am not a competitive athlete. I’m not even an enthusiast. I’m a commuter who feels lost because there is nowhere to commute. Since I hate uselessly burning gas, I tie all my errands into the workday, mostly after I take Java to the dog park. I occasionally workout in the evenings, but not like I used to when I lived 2 minutes from the office and right next to a bird refuge with trails. Now I drive twenty minutes, which is mentally exhausting when half the people can’t at least drive the speed limit.

Most of my National Bike Month Miles come from morning rides with Java. However, I’ve started taking the road bike out for a couple climbs on a highway near our house.

Thankfully, 1 annual event in my life is not cancelled! I don’t even know how I first heard of National Bike Month. Maybe working at Goldstream Sports? Or when I took over as Fairbanks Cycle Club president? Either way, it is a reminder to get out and ride simply because I love biking.

National Bike Month simply celebrates cycling. The League of American Bicyclists established the event in 1956 to showcase the benefits of biking while encouraging new people to give it a try. The month usually includes Bike To Work Week, but that event has been moved to September when hopefully the pandemic eases and less people are working from home. National Bike Month is part of the National Bike Challenge that runs from May 1 to September 31, and includes several other events including Cycle September and National Bike to Work Day. Participation is free and cyclists can sign up on the Love to Ride USA website and start to log their miles, set goals, form groups and invite their friends to join. This year, the site is focused on using the event to create solidarity among cyclists during the pandemic. This include posting safe riding recommendations and encouraging people to post photos of their rides using the hashtag #BikesUnite. As we know I hate to stop when I ride, and so pictures don’t exist in my profile.

As of today, I’ve ridden 58 miles in the 8 rides I’ve done this month, mostly mountain biking with Java. If the weather holds, I will go out tonight on the road bike to bump that closer to the 75 mile mark. If this were an Ironman training year, my mileage would have been in the hundreds by now.

Last year we created a group for Fairbanks Cycle Club. Five people joined the first year. This year we got 6 more. Maybe someday we can get our entire membership and even our community to take part. As far as my personal rides, it’s just me and Java and the mountain bike, or me on the road bike for now. Hopefully, I do a better job with biking than last year when I quit road riding after June. Yeah, I could blame a heavy fire season, or the emergency dog watching gig, or our move to a new house. Yet, none of those things stopped me from finding time to ride with Java because those rides have a purpose.

Maybe this year I’ll learn that my personal enjoyment is reason enough to Love to Ride USA.

Posted in Bikes, Coronavirus, Fairbanks Cycle Club, Road Biking, Spring Training

Directing a Bike Club During a Pandemic

We announced yesterday that all Fairbanks Cycle Club group rides for the month of May were cancelled. Last month we cancelled group rides with a promise to review the situation at the end of the month. The FCC Board along with medical professionals in our membership reviewed the situation. Prior to reopening businesses in Alaska, the state had seen a decrease in cases/day of COVID-19. Fairbanks had gone 14 days without a new case. However, shortly after a limited reopening of the state, the nearby town of North Pole had a new case and the case/day is increasing again statewide. That is a trend we can only see increasing more if we allow group rides to occur.

One person has disputed FCC’s decision by pointing out that groups of 20 are allowed to gather. This is true. As I’ve said in previous posts, the state has been supportive in letting people get out for fresh air and exercise. However, our group rides usually are larger than 20, and we are hoping to prevent the backlash experienced by our fellow cyclist in Europe:

We feel encouraging people to ride solo will prevent sentiments like the one above from emerging in our Alaskan community.

We don’t anticipate the situation to change any time soon. As it is, we have already made moves to transform our race season into a series of virtual events. The revised Tour of Fairbanks is the brainchild of FCC’s top race director Christopher Knott who wants to see Alaskan athletes motivated to keep training and bring customers to businesses recovering from COVID-19 closures. Not only are we lucky to live in such a supportive state, we are also lucky to live in a time when technology can support our efforts to keep events going in an alternative form.

Posted in Bikes, Birthdays, Coronavirus, Dog Life, Ester Alaska, Fall Training, Fat Biking, Mountain Biking, Road Biking, Spring Training, Summer Training, Winter Training

Happy 2nd Birthday, Java!

We have a trend in my family. A majority of people are either born on the 2nd or the 28th.

  • My dad: May 2nd
  • Me: October 28th
  • Ivan (son): March 28th
  • Alex (brother): April 2nd
  • Java (pup pup): April 2nd

You read right. Java fell in line and was born on the 2nd, not like my rebel husband, mother, and son’s fiance who were born on some other day we can’t remember.

Two years has past really fast! Year 1 had a lot of stressful moment when Java visited the emergency vet for all sorts of reasons. This year was better even though we still had to stop into the vets twice for potential emergencies. Otherwise, we shared a lot of good bike rides, runs, and recovery walks. She adapted to the new house, even though she is very aware when we drive up to the old one where my son now lives. And we have teamed up to survive the COVID-19 scare. I told my husband as much as I love him, I’m really glad we have Java. Otherwise, I don’t know if I would be so sane through this period of isolation.

On that note, here is a small video highlighting the last two years. We hope you are staying safe during this time of crisis.

Posted in Bikes, Dog Life, Road Biking, Summer Training

Java Meet The RichieDammit

I finally got to bring home my new road bike–Trek’s Emonda SL7 Disc. I named her RichieDammit, which is a nickname given by my highschool friends. Richie was a nickname that started when I was in Japan prior to highschool and followed me back to the U.S. For the longest time, my friends started their sentences with ‘Richie’ and ended them with ‘Dammit’. For example, “Richie, you need to get to class before Mr. Harrington gives you detention again, dammit.”  Eventually, it just got shortened to “RichieDammit.” And since this bike has some attitude to it, I passed on my old nickname.

So along with the drama of trying to get my puppy from South Dakota to Fairbanks, I was also trying to get my new road bike from Wisconsin.  This was also some drama TNT style (We Know Drama).

  • I order the bike via Trek’s awesome Employee VIP program. They tell me the bike will be shipped at the end of the week.
  • The bike tech at the store I work (Goldstream Sports) tells me that the bike is on back order because customer orders have priority over employee orders. I will now have to wait until the end of the month. Okay, May 30th. I have a Mountain Bike. I can deal.

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  • The bike ships on May 28th. Cool.
  • The bike is turned around on May 29th at Kentucky for a shipping violation.  No notice from Trek. My bike tech has no idea. The store owner thinks it has to do with the lithium battery that powers the Di2 shifters.
  • I exchange a lot of emails with Trek. They confirm that it is the lithium battery.  Someone forgot to put a sticker on the box needed for air shipment.  This is after they tell me they don’t think they can ship the bike to Alaska because of the battery, which made no sense because we had two shipped up here for our customers and have e-bikes shipped up here all the time. This was about the time we were having trouble getting Java flown to Alaska too.  There were a lot of tears that week. A LOT.
  • No more information for a week. I exchange emails with Trek again. They tell me it is on the shipping dock and will arrive in Alaska at the end of the week.
  • Minutes later I get this image texted to me from my inside connection at UPS:

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  • I check UPS Tracking. Sure enough it had been shipped from Wisconsin last week.
  • The bike is delivered. The store is swamped with repairs, but the bike techs have mercy on me and get it put together quickly. I finally got to take it for a solid test ride. Tomorrow the store owner will do a thorough computerized bike fitting.

Okay summer, we can now begin.