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05-22-2024: WOW Ride #6 – Old Nenana Ride

Report by Maria

It was a small group for this evening’s ride up the Old Nenana Highway. The group consisted of our fearless leader Erica, Hannah, Mallory and myself. We all met at the Ester community park with Mallory. She arrived right at 6 after battling a headwind all the way from Goldstream Sports.

We joked about doing an easy ride, but who are we kidding? This is WOW. We don’t do easy.
A grueling pace was set right out of the gate. When our fearless leader, Erica, got in the front she took the pace up a few notches! The four of us stayed in a tight group for the long uphill that marks the first 3.8 miles of Old Nenana. Thank goodness Hannah pulled me along near the end, otherwise I would have been dropped!

When we were nearing the top of the first section of the hill – Erica’s front tire bumped into Mallory’s rear tire, and BAM! Down Erica went! Hannah narrowly missed running over Erica and partially fell herself. I narrowly missed the pile up by a few inches! Erica did get some road rash, but was otherwise okay. After we made sure Erica was okay and her bike was operational, she decided to finish the remaining section of the hill before returning to her car early. This is why Erica is our fearless leader!

Hannah, Mallory and I pounded out the remainder of the Old Nenana ride; averaging 13 mph for the whole climb. Once we got to the intersection of Old Nenana and the Parks we decided to turn around early since we didn’t have our fearless leader to lead us! On the way back, the battery for Mallory’s wireless shifters started to die and she was stuck in her lowest gear! Hard to keep up with WOW if you can’t shift! Luckily her shifters came back to life and she was able to shift up for the downhill. Mallory then proceeded to smoke Hannah and me, clocking the max speed for the ride at 40 mph.

Average Speed: 16 mph
Total Distance 18.9 miles

05/15/2024: WOW Ride #5 War of Murphy Dome Road

Report by Jordan

WOW vs potholes and headwinds both ways.

Six of us started from UAF. We pulled away in a quick pace line and stayed together until the turn to Murphy Dome Road. On the first few hills, Kenzie took the line at a “don’t get dropped” pace and unfortunately Alex had to fend for herself with the brutal head wind. The rest of us managed to stay together and mostly avoided the potholes.

We regrouped at the top of Murphy dome and looked forward to a tailwind, which never came. We all stayed together on the way back!

Average speed: 19.9
Top speed: 40mph!
30 miles!

05/08/2024: WOW Ride #4 Parks/Isberg/Chena Ridge

We had some sprinkles and some wind and some sun and some clouds but overall, it was a nice night for our WOW ride. And warm enough for shorts, too. 8 WOW showed up but only 6 of us rode together. Kim was back again but decided she wasn’t quite in biking shape so rode the loop by herself. A new WOW, Abby, showed up but also decided not to ride with us. She has a new TT bike and hadn’t ridden it outside yet so was nervous about riding in a group. Hopefully she gets it figured out and comes back.

Hannah definitely was feeling spunky tonight. She led us out around the roundabout and then immediately laid down the hammer and picked up the pace to about 25 mph. I could barely hold on. She must have had some nervous energy tonight, maybe due to her upcoming job interview! After we turned onto Gold Hill Road, Mallory took the lead and slowed down the pace enough that I was able to hang on up the first slight uphill. I did get dropped on the second hill but not by too much and we all continued up the Parks Highway together.

I was a little behind on the uphill again, but everybody waited for me on Cripple Creek. I decided to just keep going and didn’t stop as I knew they would all catch me going up Isberg. Just as I whizzed by, I noticed that Jordan was taking off her jacket. Oh, oh, that would take a bit more time to pack it away. I should have stopped but by then it was too late. Hannah waited for Jordan, but everybody else took off in a sprint after me and they all caught me before we turned up Isberg.

I kept expecting Hannah and Jordan to pass me, too, but they never did. In fact, after we summited Isberg, we still had to wait a couple of more minutes and were just starting to get worried when they showed up. It ended up that Hannah was going so fast, she missed the turn onto Isberg and Jordan followed her so they got some bonus mileage! And then later, while leading the charge through the subdivision across Chena Pump, she missed the turn onto Steelhead to get on the bike path back to UAF. Her mind must have been elsewhere tonight as I don’t think she is directionally challenged!

All in all, it was another fast and fun WOW ride.
Distance: 20 miles
Avg speed: 17.4 mph (And I was the slowest rider! The others were a little faster)
Elevation gain: 1280 feet
Fastest speed: 43.3 mph by Mallory going down Chena Ridge

05/01/2024: WOW Ride #3 – The Super Windy Ride

Sunny, temps started out in the 40’s but dropped to the 30’s by the end. Had every kind of wind, head wind, tail wind, and cross wind. But we are WOW so we weren’t about to let some wind ruin our speed!

There were 7 of us who started the ride: Corrine, Erica, Maria, Jordan, Hannah, Mallory and Hazel. (This was Hazel’s first WOW ride. She had all the power to keep up, but her bike chain kept coming off! We had to leave her behind to finish the ride solo. Hopefully she fixes the issue and comes back!)

We set out towards Miller Hill with a brisk pace. I got dropped on route to Miller Hill (silly wind) but managed to catch Corrine on the climb. We regrouped before going down Yankovich and up Ballaine. Going down Ballaine towards Goldstream I got dropped and with the wind, was fighting hard to catch up. Luckily we regrouped on Goldstream but as we all took off, we dropped Corrine.

We pedaled fast to Old Steese where we paused to make sure Hazel was ok. By this time her chain had fallen off a few times. We blasted up Old Steese, then down McGrath. We paused briefly to regroup and rode a nice paceline back to UAF. Hannah peeled off to go home, but she rode to UAF for a warm up.

Really fun but tough ride! Hopefully more ladies will come out next week. Meet location will be 6 pm at UAF.

Distance: ~30 miles
Average speed: 16.7 mph
Fastest speed: 41.2 mph (goes to Mallory). Jordan was second fastest at 37 mph.

04/24/2024: WOW ride #2 – Farmer’s Loop/McGrath/Old Steese

It was a warm and beautiful April evening for our 2nd WOW ride. Several new women came out to join us and we started with nine riders total – one of our biggest rides – including three Manley sisters.

I was totally overdressed for the over 60F temperatures, I should have brought shorts instead of thermal tights, but I had to pack clothes before work and it was cool this morning. Oh well, maybe that’s my excuse for not keeping up. We started out at a brisk pace through campus and then out Farmer’s Loop Road with a nice pace line. As I dropped back after my pull up front, Kenzie pulled ahead and really notched up the pace. We had been going around 21 mph, but she took it up to 23 mph. I could not hang on at the back. A few others got dropped but were able to surge to catch back on the train but not me. I knew I would get dropped up McGrath hill but didn’t expect it on mostly flat terrain. Oh well, nothing to do but keep pedaling as hard as I could.

The group waited at the bottom of McGrath, but I whizzed by them, knowing they would pass me again soon. And they did. The main pack stayed together until the climbing got a little steeper. Then we all got a little spread out but regrouped at the top.

We then bombed down the Old Steese staying in a pace line. There was one car behind us who did not pass us for a couple of miles. Nikki shared a Facebook post with me later from the driver showing a photo of us and her saying it wasn’t safe to pass us on a double yellow line. We had tried to wave her past as we could see it was clear ahead, but she didn’t pass until there was a dotted line. It kind of weirded us out that somebody was just following behind us for so long. Most drivers just buzz by giving us a little room. I wasn’t sure if somebody was going to harass us or what the story was. I guess I’m glad she thought about safety. There have been too many times when drivers have been very rude and making dangerous moves when passing us.

Back on Farmer’s Loop, we got back in our pace line and made quick time on our way back. I knew I would get dropped on the slight rise, and I did along with Alex. I tried to catch back on and finally Alex got in her aero bars and put down the power and pulled us back up. Unfortunately, she burned a lot of matches and dropped off again, but Mallory was nice enough to pull her back up to the group again. I love WOW women! We ride fast but we do help each other, too.

I can NOT believe how fast this group is becoming. Most of the group averaged 18.8 mph. I was surprised that even with getting dropped for half the time and not having a pace line, I was able to average 18.1 mph, the same speed as 2 years ago when we last did this ride and I didn’t get dropped.

Distance: 25.75 miles
Fastest avg speed – Olivia at 19.1 mph
Fastest speed: 44.6 mph by Mallory
Elevation gain: 1300 feet