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Friday, October 4, 2013

WILD & UNKNOWN ALASKA | @SalsaCycles


To me, Alaska has always seemed like a far off wild country with no rules or laws. It seemed like a place where there might be more wild animals drinking beer at the bar than humans. I pictured few paved, and mostly minimum maintenance, roads that had car-swallowing ruts for miles. I imagined that people there carried guns on their hips, and the sheriff wore a cowboy hat with a tin star under his duster. These were the visions that floated through my dreams as a youngster longing to visit a not-yet-settled land.
My dreams started to come true when we announced the winner of our Reveal the Path contest. Erinn Vasquez solicited five more votes than the next closest contestant in the final minutes of voting. Click here to see his winning video. It was official, we had a winner and we needed to draw straws to determine which lucky Salsa team members were going to get the privilege to go to the beaches of the Kenai Peninsula. The straw drawing came shortly after we shipped Erinn his sweet new Mukluk Ti, the other half of his winnings.
Bobby Dahlberg and I came out the victors, and it only took a few weeks for the tears from the rest of the crew to dry. My mind found this an amazing excuse to buy a bucket load of new gear. And I do mean a bunch…quite possibly too much. But that theme seemed to be the same for everyone on the trip. From tents to cookware, to new camera gear, the folks on this trip found ways to make it memorable.
The Trip:
The trip was arranged to ride the same section of beach from Clam Gulch to Homer as is seen in the film Reveal The Path. We set out for three full days of riding with a day up front to test our gear and get a warm-up ride in, and a day after as a free day for travel and sightseeing. For Bobby and I, the free day would be for salmon fishing.
Day one we journeyed to Resurrection Pass. We heard of beautiful views of waterfalls and other tranquil Alaskan landscapes. On loaded Mukluk’s we set out for a climb. The gravel from the parking lot turned to singletrack and we headed up. And we headed up some more. This year, Alaska had a winter that lingered on much like most of the upper Midwest and their season was three to four weeks behind schedule. But the bike gods smiled down on us the whole trip and gave us beautiful weather with plenty of sunshine and 70-degree days. The nights did dip down into the 40’s and 50’s, but it was comfortable with the sun shining in your tent…more on that later.

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