Around The World

Alaska – Downhill with MTB

 

There are two problems related to Cycling in the town I grew up:

  • Bicycle is considered transportation vehicle you use to go to the store with. Bicycle as a sport? No way, we already have soccer and basketball!
  • The area where I live is totally flat. You can drive 200 miles in one direction and you want make an altitude difference more than 3 feet. Hill is something you can only dream about.

When I realized that I’m visiting Alaska I was thrilled.

Why?

  • Firstly I never have been to Alaska, and I’ve always wanted to experience by myself the unreal nature and wilderness I have only seen on TV
  • Secondly well this is going to sound crazy to you but I really got bored with Caribbean exotic destinations that are offering gorgeous beaches, beach bars and beautiful bikini girls.

My route was designed to allow me to experience the best of Alaska: visiting the glaciers, fjords, landing in Juneau…

Landing in Juno means only one thing – I’m renting a bike and heading straight to the hills. That was my first objective.
I was tired of riding in shopping malls I wanted to taste the nature!

So that’s how it started.
When we landed in Juneau, there was no snow because it was end of April. It is beautiful little city of 30000 inhabitans, lying down on the seaside. It is also in the base of wonderful hills crisscrossed with countless hiking – cycling tracks.

To choose a track should be no problem to there is a million of them there, at least I thought that at the beginning.

The catch is to choose the right one:

  • one that should not be too demanding for out of training Cycler like me
  • and at the same time not too slow cause I’m adrenalin junky

Just like it happens I have failed to choose the right track. I was recommended to go to St. Roberts Trail, but I got to the old part of it that was closed.

I have chosen the track where I had to climb up and down 10 feet at a time. At some parts it was so stiff I had to carry the bike on my back. At the end I gave up and got down to the base somehow.

I needed to find some track ASAP, but how?

Luckily Alaska people are incredible kind so couple of local guys watched me struggle and offered me an advice where to go find the right trail for me. And that’s how I have found out about Granite Creek Trail.

The moment I have looked at it I knew it was the right one for me. No way would I let this one pass. My boyhood dream comes true. Some guys dream about expensive cars, or becoming a basketball player. My dream was to have endless MTB downhill ride!

The climb was very hard; it took me some 90 minutes to go to the top. Climbing, sweating, driving the bike a little, then pushing it a little.


At the top it was worth it, I did not even feel tired from the climb when I looked down that hill.
I was scared, excited, happy, and uncertain if I was going to go down… A particular mix of feeling I haven’t felt for long long time.

Finally, I started the ride!

My heart stopped for a moment then started beating like crazy. Then it moved to my throat.

I was on my way down… The wind is slapping my face, tears are falling down because of the speed, and I’m gripping the wheel so hard it is hurting my wrists. The fear is still there but the excitement is rising.

 

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The curves are flashing before me, I notice the smile I have is so big that my ears are going to fall down, and the bugs in my month are ignored. The fact that only two feet from me is the abyss is so doesn’t matter.

Bumps and dives, unforgettable jumps line up along the ride. My heart moves from my throat to the heels. Adrenalin and oxygen molecules are creating excitement cocktail in my veins.

The Time has stopped. There is no sound or smell, only the trail my bike and I. Right there on Alaska In the mission of fulfilling my boy hood dream.

Woooooooooow… The feeling is incredible. Like when you drive the motorcycle 200kmph… No, no, even better!

And exactly eight minutes after I arrive at the base of the hill trail. My heart is pounding, I cannot wash off the smile I’m a little sad it is over. I have fulfilled my boyhood dream at the craziest place in the world, that I could not even imagine I would visit let alone follow my dream at.

I caught my ride on tape, named it Alaska downhill with MTB so I can see it again, and again, and again…

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Two hours have passed since I returned to my quarters. I’m starring at the ceiling, wistful and still with the smile on my face. My roommate comes in and says: “Admit it Cume you are in love! Who is she?”

With that crazy smile on my face I say: “Yes, I’m in love, but you will never know her name…”

Wishing I will repeat this ride at least one more time

all the best,

Cume

P.S. This is a clip from the St.Robert Trail – the first one that I gave up.

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