In Anchorage we stayed with Jon and Rose, friends of Peter Basinger. We spent the day before the race building up our bikes, going to the pre-race meeting, grocery store, and picking up some last minute things at REI. In the evening Jon made us the most amazing pre-race meal of grilled salmon (that they caught), mushroom (that he picked) pasta, stir-fried veggies, and a blueberry (that he also picked) crisp with ice cream. I spent hours dreaming about this meal on the trail.
Peter's mom drove us to Knik lake where we spent a couple of hours at the bar watching the US vs Canada olympic hockey game while waiting for the clock to strike 2. We missed the last part of the game, and had to wait until we got to Skwentna to find out that Canada had won in overtime.
The first leg of the race is 57 miles and ends at the Yentna roadhouse. It was slow slushy riding and it took us 10 hours to get there. We saw a big moose on the way there. Eric and I stayed only 10 minutes at Yentna, to fill up our camelbaks and check in. We arrived at Skwentna (mile 90) around 7 in the morning, after 17 hrs of riding. In Skwenta we got a 3 hr nap in a real bed while drying out our wet clothes. We had a great breakfast before taking off around 11 o'clock in the morning.
From Skwentna we had about 40 miles to get the Winterlake lodge on Fingerlake. We made good time, but I felt like I was working really hard to keep up with Eric's pace. Eric was riding his new Pugsley snowbike for the first time, while I still hadn't been ready to give up on my "skinny-tire" bike. It looked like he was riding so effortlessly in the soft snow, and I was going anaerobic just to keep moving forward. I was also getting a little self-conscious about all the comments I was getting: You are riding THAT bike???? I saw your tire-track and thought it was someone out for a little spin!!!!! You would be soo fast on a snowbike!!!! :-)
We arrived at the Winterlake lodge sometime close to midnight. After a yummy chicken/rice/black bean burrito we slept for another 3 or so hours in the walled tent. Thanks to ambien, I could sleep anywhere, anytime!! In "the morning" we replenished our food and batteries with stuff from our drop. There was no need to bring more hand or toe-warmers, as it was so warm I hadn't had to use one yet. After a little oatmeal and coffee, we took off around 3:45.
More to come......