This morning was the Frosty Bottom 25/50 Race that takes place here in Anchorage, AK. It is organized by a local bike shop called, Chain Reaction Cycles. You can run, ski or bike the course. Given current conditions, I joked that there should be an ice skating category. There are two distances, the 25 or 50.The 25 ends at Hilltop Ski Area. The 50 is actually 43 miles according to my gps. The course starts at Kincaid park goes down to the coastal trail, hooks up to the Chester creek trail, goes by the APU campus, crosses over the Tudor bridge, up the Tour trail to Hilltop and then back after going through Rovers Run via the same route.
The race started next to the Kincaid Chalet at 9am. Race check-in was at 8:30am. There were 210 people that registered for the race! Wow!
Frosty Bottom Race Roster
Recently, Anchorage has been experiencing a few freeze melt cycles with little snow. This has resulted in ice developing on many of the trails in town. Most people that were biking the course were using Snow bikes which have 4” tires. This allows them to “float” on the snow (or ice). I decided that it may be faster to use a mountain bike with studded tires. I was running 2.1 wide tires. Unfortunately, this was a mistake…
The race started with a mass start down a hill. While descending the hill it is a mutual zone. Once you hit the coastal trail and it flattens out the race may commence. In the first few miles, 1-5 or so there were some soft spots. So you would be biking along and then, “bam!.” The bike decides to veer off the trail. Very annoying and dangerous to fellow riders.
After that section, the trail was very firm and the thin studded tires were working great! There was a group that I was passing and going back and forth with. In the first few miles, it was also pretty bumpy which was annoying because my bike seat post started to get shorter. This can be annoying because as your seat post gets lowered, your leg efficiency starts to decline and you have to work harder. So you are left with the dilemma of stopping where you are and adjusting it back to the appropriate height or dealing with it. I decided to stop about 20 miles into the race and fix it. It was a bummer because I got passed by 5-7 riders while adjusting the seat. eeerrr….
I hop back on the bike and catch back up to a few of them. I eventually reach Hilltop which is the halfway point in the race. The next section is called Rovers Run which is single track which means the trail is relatively narrow. It also has alot of overflow which is frozen ice! It was an exciting section to bike. Fortunately, the studded tires worked well in this section. I passed a few people that were on snow bikes and were having a hard time biking that particular section.
Rover’s Run intersects the tour trail which is wider and not as technical. Once I got to the Chester Creek trail which is roughly 15 miles from the finish, I had to stop and adjust the seat post again. Then…the really exciting part… I got about 10 miles from the finish on the coastal trail after Pt woronzof and the sections of soft snow from this morning turned into mashed potatoes. These conditions will stop you dead in your tracks even with a snow bike! I was in bigger trouble because of my thinner tires. So now, I get to walk my bike and get passed by snow bikers. Sweet.
The last 5 miles consisted of walking, trying to ride the bike, falling off and walking, repeat. That is snow bike racing for you. The first 90% of the race can be going relatively fine and then it can get alot tougher. Regardless, I managed to walk to the bottom of the first hill that you descend and was able to bike up it to the finish. 30ft from the finnish, I hit more mashed potatoes snow, fall and jog to the finish. Whew! That was fun!
The race was well marked and it was great to see all the other racers whether, running, skiing or biking getting after it!
News Article and Race Results
Total Miles: 42.72
Total Time: 4:03:54
Place: 30th out of 69