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Beardcicle Chronicles: Who Knows?


I love riding in snow. It’s just so amazing being out in the woods or in the mountains when no one is around. The silence. The joy.


I got a great chance to get some early winter riding this past weekend down in Girdwood, Alaska. Amazing!

I didn’t ride far. In fact, I barely topped seven miles in total. Approximately. Maybe a bit further, maybe a bit shorter. Who knows for sure? Who really cares?


The riding was challenging and for a portion of it I broke the rules, but it was worth it. Winner Creek trail. The first 7/10ths of a mile of the trail is closed to bikes. Well, not closed to bikes, but closed to riding bikes. And I understand why. This trail is a popular trail, starting on a resort’s property. The trail, in the early stages, is a lot of narrow boardwalk and generally gets a lot of traffic. In the summer. When I took off, there were exactly one set of tracks in the snow. I figured if it came down to it, I’d hop off the bike if I ran into anyone. No worries.

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The route is a mixed bag. Primarily climbing. Lots of boardwalk. Some narrow boardwalk with lots of step ups on the way out. Climbing. Lots of climbing. The first mile and a half, to the junction between the upper and lower Winner Creek trails is nice riding through some amazing temperate rain forest. The trees here seem absolutely massive. Particularly when compared to trees elsewhere in this state.


I decided, at the junction, to take the upper trail, as I’ve hiked the lower before and knew where it would take me. So I took the upper. I made it maybe another mile and a half to two miles up the trail before time and trail conditions conspired against me and I decided to turn around.

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All in all, I spent a good hour and 45 minutes riding up and then back down the trail. I had no revelations. No deep thoughts about anything. Just enjoyed the feeling of working my legs and lungs and heart. Enjoyed the feeling of sweating in the cold air. Enjoyed watching the snow coming down the mountain.

It was a good ride. A good day.


Read more from Phil on his blog Multimodal Alaska Adventures.

Phil was born and raised in the Midwest. He moved to Alaska in 2010 and started his bike commuting life then and hasn't looked back yet. He is primarily focused on how bikes can be used to supplant other forms of transportation, when it makes sense to do so, but he is also interested in how to combine different forms of alternative transportation to create a sustainable and enjoyable commute. Besides cycling, Phil works as a business analyst, is a recovering poet, teaches technical writing, and still harbors a dream to write a great novel some day.

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