Friday, 15 February 2008

Cycling in the extreme

Over in Alaska, contestants are in the final preparations for an endurance race later this month, the Iditarod Trail Invitational. The human powered race runs for 1100 miles from near Anchorage in the south to the north west coast at Nome. It's a winter race for runners, skiers or cyclists with a choice of the full 1100 miles or 350 miles from Knik Lake to McGrath. It runs a week before the traditional Iditarod dog sled race. Competitors will brave Arctic conditions to travel overland in the midst of an Alaskan winter.

One of the cyclists, Jill Homer, has documented her preparations for the 350 mile race on her excellent and very readable blog, Up in Alaska. She's trained hard all winter in as extreme conditions as she was able to find locally in Juneau, Alaska. That included sleeping out in bivouacs in sub-zero temperatures and hauling her oversized Surly Pugsley bike up frozen snow clogged mountain trails. Along the way she has documented her equipment choices and what nutrition she'll need. Fascinating reading - check out her blog and wish her well.

Also running in the race are a number of Brits. Christian Cullinane is also going for the 350 mile distance. Interesting to compare what's in his nutrition plan compared with Jill's. He has a blog at cool-biker. Alan Tilling, going by foot to McGrath, Carl Hutchings, previous winner to Nome in 2005, James Leavesley endurance racer, and 21 year old, Joe Johnstone, youngest to attempt the 1100 mile route by foot.

The race starts Feb 24th. Good luck to Jill and all the other competitors.

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