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  1. #1
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    Golden Circle ride - Yukon, Alaska, BC

    A few pics from our ride this weekend. My wife and took three days to ride the "Golden Circle," about 600 km with a couple of passes thrown in the mix.

    We were doing "semi-loaded" -- riding light and staying in B&Bs but still needing to carry enough to cope with a wide range of conditions and long stretches (up to 180 km) with no services.

    Day 1: Whitehorse, YT - Skagway, AK (185 km)

    We left on Saturday at 7:00 a.m. Our 8:00 fast ferry to Haines had been canceled, so we had to make it to Skagway by 4:30. We stopped in Carcross for coffee and pie before beginning to climb up to the White Pass. This is a tough slog, but we were doing fine until Log Cabin, when conditions got very bad (see photo). The 20 km descent from 873 m to sea level sucked. Already soaked and cold, my wife was basically hypothermic by the time we made it down.

    I broke a spoke partway through this day. Sockeye Cycles in Skagway didn't have the length I needed, but their shop in Haines did and arranged to leave it outside the door for me. Thanks to them!

    We hopped on our fast ferry and got to Haines around 5:30. We checked in to the Guardhouse and ate dinner over at the Bamboo Room. Once the spoke was replaced it was lights out for us.





    Day 2: Haines, AK - Haines Junction, YT (245 km)

    This was a long day, 245 km and we climb from sea level up to the Haines summit at 1070 m. We left at 6:00 local time (7:00 in Yukon) in order to try to make our 8:00 dinner reservation at the Raven Hotel.

    We stopped at Mile 33 Roadhouse to fuel up with a big breakfast for the climb. We reached the summit at about 12:30, and after that it was generally downhill with a few pretty solid climbs left.

    We were fading (and out of water) towards the end, but some delicious pie at the Kathleen Lake Lodge helped with the last 20 km push into Haines Junction. We made it with enough time to get cleaned up for dinner.

    Along the Chilkat River, leaving Haines in the morning.



    Getting closer to the summit... Still winter up here.



    We made it!



    A couple of pics from the Haines Road on the other side..





    Day 3: Haines Junction - Whitehorse (165 km)

    No epic climbs or photos in this one. We were able to leave at a more decent hour (10:00 a.m.) and made decent time into Whitehorse, what with stiff legs and fighting headwinds for part of the ride. Glad to be home, now I have to get to bed!

  2. #2
    MB1
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    600K. 3 days.

    Holy smokes, you folks are studs!

    Sure looks like great riding, those roads ever get traffic?
    Quote Originally Posted by the_dude
    these are better than i was expecting, and my expectations were already rather high.

  3. #3
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    WOW, i'm soo jealous!
    you might as well have gone to Taco Bell and had a Zima while dropping a blotter and snorting Tabasco. OMFG. ~ttug

  4. #4
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    Brilliant, beautiful shots

    A trip I have long been planning to do. Think I will wait until the summer, mind you.
    As I grow older I will remember the first light on the water, my will to win, the strength of my arms and the power of the crew.

  5. #5
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    You guys are like my new heros or something . Wow! Amazing shots and an amazing ride. Were you having ice problems on the roads, or was it just wet?
    “To kill, you must know your enemy, and in this case my enemy is a varmint. And a varmint will never quit — ever. They’re like the Viet Cong — Varmint Cong. So you have to fall back on superior intelligence and superior firepower.”

  6. #6
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    Very nice

    While taking an Alaskan cruise, I took a side trip with Sockeye Cycles. They drove us up to the top of White Pass and we coasted back down to town. As we were being shuttled to the top, I kept wishing I had the chance to go up by bike instead of van. It was a nice casual, touristy ride down. Would have been fun to leave the group and set sail down the descent. I behaved myself, though.

  7. #7
    toomanybikes
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    I used to spend a lot of time in that part of the world.

    It was all in by plane and move around by truck though.

    I always wanted to ride that road up to White Pass - we did a cruise, too, a few years ago and I rented a MTB from the folks at Sockeye ( I also bought one of their water bottles to show I was there) and got part way up before I had to turn around and head back to make the boat.

    Looks great.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MB1
    Sure looks like great riding, those roads ever get traffic?
    Weather-wise this time of year is dicey, but traffic-wise it is great. During the peak season these roads do see pretty steady RV and tourist traffic.

    The Skagway road was somewhat busy as many people from Whitehorse head down there this weekend to take advantage of cheap fares on the White Pass Railroad.

    There was little traffic on the Haines Road this time of year, maybe 3-4 cars per hour or even less at times. We were riding side by side the whole way.

    Alaska Highway is much busier, but has a paved shoulder so not a big deal.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ridgetop
    You guys are like my new heros or something . Wow! Amazing shots and an amazing ride. Were you having ice problems on the roads, or was it just wet?
    Just wet... I'm not sure what the temps were up there but definitely above zero. With being wet and wind chills on the descents you had to watch yourself though.

    I'm pretty hardy, I had cold feet at times but that was it. My wife was having a much worse time. We couldn't take breaks longer than a few minutes or she would become chilled very fast.

    It can be a bit scary, as basically you are on your own up there, no where to stop and warm up. Worst case is you flag down a passing vehicle, I guess.

  10. #10
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    I'll just add a note that, in terms of the distance, you really don't have many options other than to throw down some long days, unless you are bringing camping gear. There aren't many places to stay, or even to stop for that matter.

    There are some possible 4-5 day itineraries, but that would still mean doing a 170-190 km day over the Haines summit.

    I know that Sockeye Cycles does this route as a supported tour in 10 days. That seems long to me, even for taking it easy.

    Jill Homer did this ride last year, if anyone want to read another account of it.

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    Wow, beautiful stuff up there. Sure hope I get a chance to see it one of these days. Why is the world so big? Or at least, why do I feel drawn to the place that pays me a check every two weeks?

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    Awesome!

    Anthony, you told me I was crazy last year to do this trip in three days, and here you are, riding the Golden Circle in three days, in May no less! Great job!

    I feel for Sierra. There's nothing worse than being wet and cold when there's nothing you can do about it. All you can really do is put your head down and pedal and hope the hypothermia doesn't render you unconsious before you have a chance to dry out. If that happened to me out on remote stretches of Golden Circle, I would probably have to stop and climb into my bivy - but you didn't even have minimal camping gear, did you? It's kind of scary. Worse than 30 below if you ask me.

    Anyhow, nice work again. See you in June at the 24 Hours of Light! I'll be in touch before then.

    - Jill

  13. #13
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    What a cool report. Did you see a lot of wildlife on the ride?
    "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." --A. Einstein

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    Simply amazing.

  15. #15
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    I'm so jealous. I saw a snowboard film part of my favorite rider in Haines, AK a couple years ago, I had almost forgotten about it until your last post. I will ride in that area someday, both snowboard and bike.

    Off-topic: I found out that this summer I'll be flying in to some large airport (not sure what city though) then driving to a small airport, then taking a bush plane to the Brooks Range. So hopefully I'll be able to see a little bit of the country before they abandon me in the mountains.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigrider
    What a cool report. Did you see a lot of wildlife on the ride?
    Thanks... We did see lots of critters on the second day. Many ptarmigan and groundhogs up in the pass. One bear and one porcupine. Eagles around Haines of course. Some swans on the first day.

  17. #17
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    Hey Jill, thanks for the kind words.

    Quote Originally Posted by JuneauJill
    If that happened to me out on remote stretches of Golden Circle, I would probably have to stop and climb into my bivy - but you didn't even have minimal camping gear, did you? It's kind of scary. Worse than 30 below if you ask me.
    That last 25 km up to the White Pass summit and down into Skagway were bad, for sure. Otherwise, we basically rolled the dice on the weather.

    We had discussed not heading up into the Haines Summit if the weather was bad. We had friends in Skagway on Sunday and could have taken a boat back there and hitched a ride. We made the final call at Mile 33.

    See you in June.

  18. #18
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    For those interested, JuneauJill rode the Haines Pass last weekend. For those who don't read her blog (you should), check out the story and pics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by anthony.delorenzo
    For those interested, JuneauJill rode the Haines Pass last weekend. For those who don't read her blog (you should), check out the story and pics.
    +1 you rawk Juneau Jill....I noticed one of your blog titles share a Modest Mouse song lyric, want to catch a show in Central Florida w/ me???
    you might as well have gone to Taco Bell and had a Zima while dropping a blotter and snorting Tabasco. OMFG. ~ttug

  20. #20
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    When's the Modest Mouse show?

    My whole blog is named after a Modest Mouse lyric ... Grey Ice Water.

    I know the last line of the song is "On the Arctic Blast," but for the longest time, I thought it was "Arctic Glass," as in sea ice. I knew the truth before I named my blog, but I always liked the term Arctic Glass, and arcticblast was taken.

    "You got a job ... Up in Alaska ... It's easy to save what the cannery pays cuz their ain't no way to spend it."

    Yup, love Modest Mouse.

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