Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Cross season is in about a month and I hope to take part. There looks to be about 6 races across a few weeks, which means weeknight races. Winter comes quick here so you have to get it in. Cross is so fun and the environment surrounding it is infectious so I suspect a compact season will only increase the intensity. So I’ve been more diligent in my daily riding, hoping to get my fitness a bit higher and my legs a little stronger.

My main route takes me from midtown Anchorage down the creekside path towards the ocean, where I turn left and head to the end of the Coastal Trail at Kincaid Park. 11 miles each way and no cars. Perfect to put your head down and set a strong pace, though you do need to be careful when snaking through the Frisbee golf course. It is far too easy to crash into the groups drifting across the path as they move towards the next hole. And then you have a few scrapes and walk away smelling like Patchouli from the collision.

I saw a few moose on the trail when I first started using the trail in mid May, but this past week has been en explosion of wildlife. I have always been told that the moose are always around, it’s just that when the trees get really full and green you cannot see them if they are even a few feet behind the tree line.

On Friday I came pedaling around a corner to see a large cow and calf lying in the grass, maybe 10 feet from the path. Beautiful to stumble into, and even better when added to the cow and 2 calves I saw on the way back. 5 moose isn’t bad. I guess it has the charm of seeing deer in Wisconsin, yet without the skittish response. Moose just sit there and chew on leaves, only really getting annoyed if you come too close or near their calf. Simple and very easy to enjoy and observe from a close distance without pressuring the animal. Saturday I saw 2 more moose and Sunday gave me 4 (2 calves). One on Saturday was a large male with full velvet. It’s hard to top seeing moose up close on your bike ride, but I did on Sunday. While tucked in on a downhill in Kincaid Park I passed 4 riders climbing the hill. They chatted with each other and pedaled smoothly. Just as I zipped by the last of them I saw a large black bear emerge from the brush on my left (which would have been to their immediate right) and hustle immediately further into the brush on the left, away from me. I went by at about 20 mph and he never considered me as he scooted away, but it did make my heart jump a bit. Very cool.

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