Date: Jan. 27
January mileage: 418.4
Temperature upon departure: -4
Today was, well ... it was a bright, sunny day. Mercury hit somewhere around -4, but strong, blasting winds out of the north (for my ride today, a direct side wind both ways) really upped the shock factor. Then, atop hardpacked ice roads, there were the 35 mph descents. Brrrrr. Pretty safe to say, that was the coldest ride yet. At least, the coldest until tomorrow. Geoff and I drove up to Palmer today. And barring any unforeseen events, tomorrow we will ride pieces of the Susitna 100 course. The actual Iditarod trail. It's the reason we drove up here, so it will be hard to talk ourselves out of it. Temperature right now ... -12.
I've learned to love my neoprene gear above all. Face, hands and feet are all protected by a thin layer of that stuff, and it's simply amazing. Today, all I wore on my hands were a pair of neoprene gloves - the very same ones kayakers wear. I brought a pair of mittens with me, but I never needed them. My hands were toasty. I can't say the same about patches of my face that accidentally became exposed while I was adjusting my goggles. Today, I also learned how quickly skin can freeze. I'm definitely going to be more careful tomorrow.
Anyway, we finally arrived in Palmer pretty late tonight, so I should probably cut this post short. We went to the University of Alaska Anchorage Folk Fest. We had to sit through clogging but we saw a friend of ours play in her 14-member old-timey string band. We also saw a great bluegrass band called the South Austin Jug Band. Bunch of Texans visiting Alaska during a January cold snap. But they sure could play. Good times.