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Thread: Valley of Ice

  1. #1
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    Valley of Ice

    Went out the Elliot last Sat. to a spot about 40 miles from Fairbanks hoping to find good overflow ice after our near record cold and dry winter. I've ridden there before but never made it more than a quarter mile or so up the valley. On Sat. the ice was 100-500ft. wide (1-5 ft. thick) and I made it about 1.5 miles up the valley. Amazing riding, pick a line, point and shoot. Different ice conditons so you had to pay attention but acres and acres of solid ice to play on. Steady climb up the valley with one steeper side draw to ride up. It was snowing hard off and on Sat. which made it hard to read the ice but sunny and warm yesterday. Went back yesterday, here's a description of that ride and the photos, photo link at bottom. 10 pictures from yesterday and 3 from Sat. Planning on heading back out again this weekend.

    Drove out the Elliot Hwy yesterday morning to ride the ice again. Inauspicious start when I drove down part of the old Elliot to try and park right above the ice. Got about 2/3's of the way down and decided I better stop, too late. Of course I'd just taken the studded tires off and that's what I needed to get back up the icy road. Threw chains on the front and backed out. Let's try that again, over to where I parked on Sat. Same story, down road, over guardrail, scramble down embankment onto the ice with mushrooms. 50 ft. of shouldering bike and onto ridable ice. Lots more water than on Sat. but expected that. Ice was still in great condition as I started riding up the valley. It was after 10 am and probably 40F plus so even though I was playing in low gear it was a climb and clothes started coming off in no time.

    About 2/3's of the way up the valley turns to the east at the widest area of ice. This is where the nice humps of ice formed and a small draw takes off at a steeper angle from the south edge of the ice. It looked unridable the other day but I went for it. Mangaed to ride about half of it going up, took a break and had a beer, cleaned it all coming down, "Draw beer". Did I mention I'd taken my shirt off by this time? Took "pipeline-ice-me-bike" back on the main valley. "Water cut" was a channel that appeared off and on. Looking back up from the main ice to the draw, "beer draw 1" , you can see the faint white streak going uphill. From the turn upwards there was about 4-10ft. of ice running up the southside up the from the valley floor, "Sidehill fun". It was a blast attacking this sidehill and doing sort of highmarking moves. Came up on a very strange looking icy patch that took me a moment to figure out, "ice drops". There were waterdrops hanging from this sheet of ice, odd looking at them from the top. Getting closer to the top when "tracks n turds" was taken. Mooseturds had been covered by a layer of overflow and were melting out a little cavern. You can see the warm sun was making the ice a little mushy in places from the look of the bike tracks. Riding along a 50ft. 1.5 inch crack in the ice something caught my eye. What the hell, there it is again, a little dark spot dropping down the 2ft. deep crack as I approach. Stopped and snuck up on the 3rd one, it was a wolf spider and they had been hanging on the edge of the crack then dropping down when I got near, "spider crack 2". Cool. There were a few ice bubbles like you'd find on river ice, "tracks". The last shot shows the many layers of overflow ice that eventually formed the 2-4 ft. thick ice, "Overflow layers".

    Played for almost 4 hours in that valley of ice and hope to go back again, the ice should be good for another week or more. t

    http://new.photos.yahoo.com/awinterbiker/#page1

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    cool.

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