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  1. #1
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    Frosty Bottom Course Conditions

    Hey Anchorage Fat Bikers! I'm coming up from Homer for the Frosty Bottom and I was hoping to get some info on the condition of the trails up there. Has anyone ridden all or part of the Frosty Bottom course lately?

  2. #2
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    A group of us rode from the Elmore ballfields (bottom of the hill up to Service) down to about Lake Otis (8.5 miles or so one way) and back on fat bikes. Although studded fat bike tires would be better, it was doable without. You just need to watch yourself on the corners and across the bridges where you have rutted ice. It is worst up near Hilltop and along Rover's Run, but supposedly significantly better out toward Kincaid.

    That was tonight, but who knows what will happen with the weather. Forecast is still saying a chance of mixed rain/snow, so that could change things significantly depening on what happens, if anything. If you have the option, I would consider bringing a mountain bike with studded tires as a backup to a snow bike.

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    The hillside portion of the course is brutally icy. This is my fourth winter on a fatbike. I studded my first set of mt. bike tires in '97. I lived part-time in Seward for a few years and rode plenty of ice. I can't recall ever being so scared on ice as I was today riding a 29er studded. I'm signed up for the 50, but don't think I'll participate given these current conditions. Maybe I'm just getting soft the older I get. You are at least forewarned.
    Safe Travels,
    c

  4. #4
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    Ideal set up

    For conditions as they are currently, is a full suspension bike with aggressive stud tires. I have nokians something or others, and felt confident up hillside and down wolverine bowl trail to the basher parking lot and down the powerline from there. Definitely hairball on some sections, but pretty fun if you can stay on the bike. It'll snow.
    "Having lack of self-preservation makes biking more fun."

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elfbkr50 View Post
    For conditions as they are currently, is a full suspension bike with aggressive stud tires. I have nokians something or others, and felt confident up hillside and down wolverine bowl trail to the basher parking lot and down the powerline from there. Definitely hairball on some sections, but pretty fun if you can stay on the bike. It'll snow.
    Chester creek trail is freshly groomed and nice....at least right now...

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    Thanks for all the responses everyone. Trying to decide what bike to bring up tomorrow from Homer. I can only take one. Do I take my fat bike or my 29er hardtail with studs?

    Has there been any snow today? We got nearly a foot in Homer.

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    Ive been riding steeper trails where skinny studded tires are more secure right now but I would think fat tire with studs would likely be best for the Frosty Bottom -though I have not ridden any of that course. We have no new snow so I'm sure much of the course is icy. You're gonna want studs no matter what.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irie_Heights View Post
    Thanks for all the responses everyone. Trying to decide what bike to bring up tomorrow from Homer. I can only take one. Do I take my fat bike or my 29er hardtail with studs?

    Has there been any snow today? We got nearly a foot in Homer.
    Just got back from another attempt at the icy hillside section, and a few other trails just for fun. I did mount a set of Dillinger's on my Fatback and thought that was a much better solution than the studded 29er's I ran the day before. Studded fat tires are perfect for the icy singletrack on the hillside. The rest of the Frosty course? We'll see!
    Right now, if you could only choose one bike to bring, I'd opt for the studded 29er. Studs will play big dividends with the current conditions. The section around university lake was near perfect for a 29 inch wheel with studs today. Tomorrow or Saturday......... You just never know. We have not received any new snow in Anchorage today. Any new snow before race day would totally change my opinion on which bike to bring. Good Luck!
    c

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ANYRIDE View Post
    I did mount a set of Dillinger's on my Fatback and thought that was a much better solution than the studded 29er's I ran the day before. Studded fat tires are perfect for the icy singletrack on the hillside.
    What tire pressure do you have your Dillingers at? I rode Hillside last night. While my Dillingers (first ride) rode over everything fine, they slipped much more than I would have liked (7lbs pressure)

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    I just did a ride on the last half of the coastal trail portion of the race path and the first mile or so of the Chester Creek trail. It was mostly very nice hard pack with a light snow dusting on Chester Creek trail and recent grooming on the Coastal trail.

    I did identify three rough areas:

    1. The first tunnel was very soft--I needed to drop 5 gears to make it through.

    2. After the second tunnel there is an icy patch with a 9-12 inch ditch running all the way across the trail. Be careful!

    3. The tunnel under Arctic is a huge mess. It had filled about a third of the way with ice and the Muni decided to clear it today. So there were three large tracked construction vehicles tearing up the area. I asked the crew if they thought they'd be done today and they were not sure--and hadn't heard there was a race tomorrow. If they're not done today, we may have to carry our bikes over Arctic Blvd.--yuck. Even if they do get done, the trail will likely be very soft from all of the work. Either way this will be an unpleasant 200 feet.
    Last edited by Lars_D; 01-04-2013 at 05:15 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ANYRIDE View Post
    I did mount a set of Dillinger's on my Fatback and thought that was a much better solution than the studded 29er's I ran the day before. Studded fat tires are perfect for the icy singletrack on the hillside.
    What tire pressure do you have your Dillingers at? I rode Hillside last night. While my Dillingers (first ride) rode over everything fine, they slipped much more than I would have liked (7lbs pressure)

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    I rode east high to the lagoon. Pretty much a freeway with the exception of the arctic bridge at valley of the moon park. They are removing the ice jam from the tunnel. Smooth and fast other than that. Ride off of the snow at the lagoon tunnel, people were riding through the snow that the muni placed in that tunnel and just turning it to a rut fest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_fit View Post
    What tire pressure do you have your Dillingers at? I rode Hillside last night. While my Dillingers (first ride) rode over everything fine, they slipped much more than I would have liked (7lbs pressure)
    I'm 180lbs. and ran 11#s in the front and 10#s in the back. The rear tire slipped, but always maintained traction. The front tire gripped and climbed out of icy off camber descents like a champ. Try more PSI.
    c

  14. #14
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    Muni just closed the Arctic Tunnel for the night!!!

    From Parks and Rec Facebook!
    Attention TRAIL USERS: the pedestrian tunnel under Artic Blvd on the Chester Creek Trail WILL REMAIN CLOSED TONIGHT as we allow for the tunnel's snow to set up overnight. It is expected to re-open early Saturday morning in time for the bike race.Thanks to MUNI Street Maintenance Dept! GOOD LUCK RACERS!

  15. #15
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    I managed to get my ice grippers over my lake boots and plan to ride with this setup. I put a foot down on the Rover's section last night, zero traction.

    I plan to ride closer to touring speed, walk if need be. Tomorrow will suck for anyone attempting to ski or run...

  16. #16
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    I know some of you rode these course sections with Dillingers. Did anyone try a fatbike w/o studs? It sounds like a fatbike can be used for most of the course with caution at the tunnels and bridges. Reports for the section from Service to Hilltop and then back down Rovers/MM to the tour trail sound grim

    I rode the west end of the course from the chalet on my mtb studded with Freddies Revenz last night. Things were fairly solid and firmed up as I went further north and east. These things roll slower than my fatbike in these conditions! Is this normal? I don't have a lot of studded mtb tire experience. Now I'd rather ride the fatbike if I can stay upright...

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    Rode the trail from hiltop to hilltop by rover's and moose meadow and service. All that area is realy icy. On rover's and moose meadow, I rode mainly with one foot out of the pedal for balance on ice, really sketchy. Be carefull on the portion after the Service hill, all that area is really icy uphill (lost of traction) and downhill. Can't push the bike either. Coastal trail was good.

  18. #18
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    Well, the coastal trail blew today. It was like riding miles of Goose Lake cyclocross beach. LOL

    I heard there were a couple of crashes on the ice. Hope everyone is ok.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrcRS View Post
    Well, the coastal trail blew today. It was like riding miles of Goose Lake cyclocross beach. LOL

    I heard there were a couple of crashes on the ice. Hope everyone is ok.
    Kincaid to Point Woronzof sucked. It appeared to be too much slicing and dicing by skinny tires, and too many riders forced to walk and further shred the trail. Am I misreading the conditions? If not, I think I'll stick to fat-bike-only events in the future.
    Enjoying the meaningful pursuit of meaningless fun.

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    The bad section between Kincaid and Pt Woronzoff was solid for the lead pack heading out but sounds like it got worse the further back you were, so it was definitely cut up by racers, most likely the skinny tires with studs breaking through the surface. It was a mess coming back for sure. Honestly, it surprised me to see that there was that much snow depth on the trail to allow for the soft sections .

    Good job to everyone who raced today. Was fun for the most part.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by anchskier View Post
    The bad section between Kincaid and Pt Woronzoff was solid for the lead pack heading out but sounds like it got worse the further back you were, so it was definitely cut up by racers, most likely the skinny tires with studs breaking through the surface. It was a mess coming back for sure. Honestly, it surprised me to see that there was that much snow depth on the trail to allow for the soft sections .

    Good job to everyone who raced today. Was fun for the most part.
    More snow on that section than anywhere in town? I found myself standing in snow up to my calf. Never heard any chatter about several inches of unconsolidated snow either. Seems as though only a select few were privy to that little detail. Confused, me too. Fat tires were certainly punching through as well. At least at the 3 hour mark when I came through. Felt bad for all the skinny tire folks (including my wife).
    c

  22. #22
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    I've noticed that the Muni grooms a bit differently than NSAA. Russian Jack (also groomed by the Muni) has been that way before. I don't think anybody was privy to that information, it looks like it was done last night and had no chance of standing up to the beating it took today.

    I had fun either way!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by ANYRIDE View Post
    More snow on that section than anywhere in town? I found myself standing in snow up to my calf. Never heard any chatter about several inches of unconsolidated snow either. Seems as though only a select few were privy to that little detail. Confused, me too. Fat tires were certainly punching through as well. At least at the 3 hour mark when I came through. Felt bad for all the skinny tire folks (including my wife).
    c
    I don't think anyone expected that kind of trail condition. The Muni groomed it yesterday. Prior to that, it was a solid sheet of ice, but apparently had soft sugar snow underneath. The "grooming" in these icy conditions consists of scratching the surface with a snowmachine drag (Muni doesn't have the big piston bullies). I think they managed to just wear down through enough of the icy surface that it left it vulnerable to breaking through given enough pressure. I think if they hadn't have touched it, it would probably have held up just fine. Just bad luck on the timing.

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    I think it would have been a mess even without the latest grooming. It had been dragged once before I rode it Thursday night and I broke through into the soft stuff half a dozen times on 2.3 studded tires.

    Thanks for those providing Hillside condition reports ahead of the race. I'm glad I rode my fatbike!

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