Wednesday, June 29, 2011

24 Hours of Light 2011

4:32 sunrise
23:35 sunset

It's been a busy few days. Last weekend was the 11th annual and my 5th experience with the 24 Hours of Light mountain biking festival. It was a beautiful weekend (temperatures even got as warm as 26C) and while the festival seemed a little mellower than usual, it was still a great time. Our four-woman team (Crank-o-saurus) dressed up as, yes you guess it, dinosaurs. I even borrowed a blow up costume from a friend. Didn't even know these things existed but my life will not be complete without one of my own. So. Much. Fun!

So without further ado, here are some photos from the event.

Julie gets Wendy into her dinosaur arm-warmers. These were promptly removed since it was so sunny and warm.

Camp. Beer. Friends. Bikes.

Wendy and Julie on a relaxing lap around the 12.5km course.

Me. Blowup dinosaur costume. Cider. Hilarity.

A very poorly timed jumping shot on the ridge at around 10:30pm.

Pretty torchlight around midnight.

Tents after midnight.

So yes, all in all, another great year.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Solstice Ride

4:28 sunrise
23:37 sunset

Last year Sierra, Julie and I biked up Grey Mountain and drank a bottle of champagne to celebrate the solstice. It was awesome.

This year, Sierra was sick and it was raining. Julie and I also had a meeting to attend that didn't wrap up until 8:30pm or so. But - come on - it's the solstice. We had to ride and enjoy the glory of 19+ hours of the sun being above the horizon.

So while Julie and I didn't manage to do the full Grey Mountain climb, we did get out on our bikes for a tour of the Whitehorse trails. Here's what happened:

We left at 9:40pm with plenty of light in the sky but also lots of cloud.

There were lots of pretty flowers to admire on the trails. The crocuses are gone but in their place are these gorgeous purplish-blue flowers. Can anyone identify them for me?

The mosquitos were seriously fierce. Like really bad. This is my calf. Note the one at the top of the photo, filling herself up with my blood. Really. Click on the photo if you need to see the redness a bit better.

Even with the clouds, downtown Whitehorse looks pretty great at 10:30pm.

Based on last year's silly Charles Angels poses we decided to set my camera up and see what quirky shots we could get this year. Little did I anticipate the elbow to the head....

It was, however, the humourous high-point of the night.

And as our shorter-than-last-year-but-still-fun solstice ride came to and end around 11pm, the sun broke through the clouds for a few minutes. Perfect.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Team Giro de Beer-o

4:28 sunrise
23:26 sunset

Saturday was the 19th annual and my second riding of the Kluane to Chilkat International Bike Relay (KCIBR). It's a 240km road bike race from Haines Junction, Yukon to Haines, Alaska.

It's quite funny to see how google maps deals with this route, which runs along the Haines Highway. Google maps, when you ask for directions between the two towns, routes you via Vancouver and the Alaska Marine ferry system. According to Google maps, this trip will take you 3 days and 8 hours by car or 8 days and 3 hours if you bike. Ahhh Google. You clearly don't know everything.

Anyhow, we entered the race with the same team members and we all rode the same legs as last year. This time, however, we were 2 hours faster. I guess that's what it means to have good (ie: calm) wind conditions!

Paul had another great ride on legs 1 and 2. Even with a leg cramp and a brief stop to take in some liquid and try to make his calf go back to normal he finished his 58.5km in 1:39 which was 8th position for the 4 person teams.

This group went by us on legs 3 and 4 so quickly that I couldn't get a photo of them from the front! The men's solo riders are at the front of this pack and the guy in red is part of a 4 person team. He's wearing jean cutoffs and is riding with flat pedals. Awesome!

Ben was also faster this year. So fast that I am also lacking in good photos of him riding legs 3 and 4. Maybe this one can be called "artsy"?

I confess that I am a bit disappointed with my own time. It was faster than last year (by 10 minutes) but I really struggled through the last 20km and just could not go faster than about 28km/hour on a consistent basis. And based on the speed improvements made by my team members, I think I should have come in 20 or 25 minutes faster than in 2010. But no big deal - the whole event is still, strangely, a lot of fun.

I was starving by the time I got to the finish line. Paul very kindly had half a watermelon to offer me. That and a beer!
The day ended in the usual fashion: drinking yummy Alaska beer, camping on the Fort Seward Parade Grounds, and generally having a good time with our friends. We are already talking about next year, too. We want to be Team Vuelta de...? (to go along with being Tour de Pants last year and Giro de Beer-o this year). And we might split up into teams of 2 to try longer legs. Carrie and I could ride 1-4 together and then Ben and Paul could ride the second half. Anyhow, lots of options, lots of fun. It's summer in the Yukon after all.

Oh - and more photos on flickr for those of you who might be inclined to see them.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bike Therapy

4:29 sunrise
23:32 sunset

Riding a bike is such great therapy. Even when the ride isn't super awesome fabulous, it still takes away the sting of a crap day at work. I even made it up the Sandy Hill of Death tonight and it didn't feel that bad. I'm happy to be feeling strong already. I'm not super fast and I still have so much to improve on in terms of my skill set and fitness but I feel okay out there. And that makes me happy.

I wanted to illustrate this post with some awesome bike photos but - believe it or not - I carried my camera with me for the entire ride and didn't take it out once. Not even for the Sandy Hill of Death. However, I can share this most awesome portrait that I was given on an envelope tonight:

Fabulous, isn't it?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Back Home

4:34 sunrise!
23:25 sunset!

Just look at those daylight hours! It's manic season in Whitehorse and I love it even as I drag my way sleepily through the work day.

So I got back from Toronto on Sunday night. The Association of Canadian Archivists conference was amazing and I had a great time both professionally and personally. I feel like I have a few post brewing: some more nostalgia and photos from growing up, the nature of being an archivist, the reasons why Toronto remains an awesome city, and perhaps a post on the some of the things that I bought while "outside." If I don't ride tonight, maybe I'll write.