Arctic Circle to Paved Parking Lot – Day 6

07.06.12 Day 6
Arctic Circle to Paved Parking Lot MP 40
74.8 miles, 385.3 trip miles
8.9 avg mph, 46.2 max
8:38:10 ride time
Almost 50% gravel
Mostly sunny 70’s
Days of rain 2

So yesterday I talked about the sun and how it effects me, but what I forgot to mention is how it heats up our tent in the am. Every morning it must be 20+ degrees warmer in our tent. It’s like a sweat lodge.
Today was filled with more climbs. My right knee is not happy with all the climbing. Neither is my right ass cheek. The sit bones/saddle sores seem to be getting better as other areas fall apart.
It was a tough day with all the climbing. I did a lot of staring at my front wheel, sometimes for over an hour. One climb was 4+ miles long and it came at mile 66 of our 75. The descent was great and offered viewing of a dead cow moose. She was big and very buggy!
I don’t want to take anything away from my friends who cycle or anyone else who does but unless you have ever been bike touring or bike packing for a week or more you can’t begin to understand the pain and mental anguish one goes through out here. I have now ridden 40 hours this week! My body aches in ways one can’t get from a 14 hour training week. Don’t think that because I’m going slow it’s somehow easier. It’s not. Climbing 9% grade hills at 3.3 mph with an 80 pound bike sucks.
Even though I had my head down most of the day I enjoyed the scenery. It’s amazing beautiful out here. Alaska is truly a wonder. The mountains are getting smaller but it’s no less beautiful. I can see why my grand parents drove to Dead Horse three times.
We had town food again today, at the Hot Spot. Not much more than a small group of building and trailers the Hot Spot is a burger/gift shop. I had a “Big Burger” as it was called. It was BIG and so tasty. I also feel off the wagon and had my first Coke in almost three years. Then I had a second. I also had a small bag of chips since they didn’t have french fries. The burger really filled me up and gave me some much needed protein and calories.
The only other thing of note is the lack of good water. Unlike the Pacific Crest Trail or Appalachian Trail the “data book” (Mile Post, a book for RV’s) doesn’t tell one where the water is. When we do find it, it’s nasty looking. Mike and I keep skimping when we get water then run out way before the next source. I think I’m running in a constant state of dehydration right now.
We have 125 +/- miles to Fairbanks and our first showers since June. Who wants a hug?

Scatman

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