Fairbanks Cycle Club News
My journey to the Susitna 100 began a year ago for me when my good friend Rachael told me about her race in 2018. That’s when I decided I would ride in the SU100 in 2019! Rachael and I trained together and hosted Tuesday night Goldstream rides in preparation for the SU100. We shared an Air BnB at Big Lake and finalized our riding tactics for the SU100.
The night before the race Nikki, Ryan, Bobby, Rachael, and I got together and had pizza and beer discussing points of interest for the race. All along, laughing and joking. On the morning of the race, everyone was cool, calm and collected. It was race day! I skipped breakfast for some dumb reason. Rachael and I loaded up our bikes and headed to the start line around 0800.
At the start line, we met up with Nikki, Ryan, and Bobby. Nikki was able to get her gear checked early and pointed me in the direction of gear check-in. I was able to get my gear checked with flying colors! I was stressed that my bag would not pass inspection hence the reason I drove over to Julie’s house early Friday morning to borrow hers just in case.
I repacked my bike, snapped some photos at start line, and then got ready for the race to begin! 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3… Oh shit I gotta get my Garmin ready to go! …2,1 GO!!!
Crap!!! My Garmin does something crazy! Nikki is behind me trying to get around me. Lol. Well, maybe not funny then, but we can laugh now. I think….
The race is on! The first 22 miles were awesome! Packed and Fast!!! I was passing lots of racers. I finally catch up with Nikki just before the first check point. However, my hydration pack froze up so I had to stay a little longer to unfreeze the line. Nikki takes off ahead of me. The stretch to Flathorn Lake was good, minus some wind drifts. I got in just as Nikki was leaving. I was soaking wet! It was so damn warm. I tried to dry my stuff out but opted to put on my extra gear. They had the best spaghetti EVER! I had two bowls! I left check point two alone and headed out to 5 star tent. I don’t recall much about that stretch of the race. Funny how that happens in a long race.
Eagle Quest is the next checkpoint. I don’t remember the time, but it was getting late. I was tired and truthfully was ready to quit. Again all of my gear was soaking wet. I was really hating life at this point. The last few miles were just horrible. I ran into Nikki leaving the Eagle Quest. She gave me some words of encouragement and let me know I wasn’t alone in wanting to quit. She too was exhausted. We say our final words of support and move on. That last mile into Eagle Quest was brutal, had I known the rest of my race was going to be like that I for sure would have quit! While at the Eagle Quest I ate my two slices of pizza I carried with me. I’d like to tell ya that it was amazing, but it was frozen and not so good. Still I ate every crumb! I heard about a shop that had a wood stove in it to dry our clothes! That was heaven to my ears! I found the shop, stripped down to my bibs, and dried all of my clothes. It took almost two hours, but it was worth it. I felt like a new man.
The RACE IS BACK ON!!
I hit the trail to Cow Lake. I run into Rachael and Bobby on the trail out. Rachael looked and felt just as I had at that point. I gave her words of encouragement and told her about the shop. Bobby was looking stronger than ever! I push on alone heading towards Cow Lake. Crossing the big swamp was ridiculous. It sucked! Again I rode/walked most of this alone. I stayed at Cow Lake for a brief time and decided to head out with a group of 3. The trail started out as normal, but quickly turned to shit! We push our way into Hunter’s Den. The distance was 10 miles. It took us 5-1/2 hours! We were so tired and beat but what do you do….Quit? Not an option! We ate soup, dried our clothes, and rested. Finally, we muster enough energy to push on the last 10 miles. When I say “push” I literally mean push. The snow was so deep and the trail so soft. We took turns breaking trail and encouraging one another. It was Hell! But no one ever gave up!
When we hit the RR crossing finally we could smile. Everyone felt like we could do this. We thought we only had 3 miles left. Turns out it was closer to 6 miles. Aggggg!!! Mental exhaustion was really kicking our asses! But we pushed on step by step. And then like a beaming light out of heaven we can see the roof top of the HQ’s the finish line. Then the damn trail starts taking us away from the finish line! Why? We were second guessing ourselves. Are we lost? Did we miss a turn? Do we turn back? And then Martin Buser comes by with his dog team and yells to us “Only 1/2 Mile left!” You guys have got this! Is he crazy??? Does he know how long it takes for us to walk a 1/2 mile?!
We laugh and move on step by step, heads down, body hurting, backs screaming in pain. We could hardly stand on our feet at this point. It’s been 31 hours since the start of the race. No sleep, soaking wet, and just plain exhausted. Still we push on.
Stop! Look! Is that a car? I call out to everyone. We all squint our eyes YES! It is a car. We are almost to the parking lot! I can feel a lump in my throat. Emotions are starting to get to us. Then I saw Bobby Gillis looking like Jesus himself! I’ve never been so happy to see another man! He’s shouting words of encouragement and support. As we start the climb up the final hill. A lady yells out “You guys can walk on the road!” I yell back the “Hell with that! We’ve been on this trail for 99 1/2 miles, we are finishing on this trail!” Someone behind asked if I was speaking for the whole group and I said, “Yes! I’m leading this pack! Let’s do this!”
We all lined up 4 cyclists abreast and crossed the finish line together with a time of 31 hours and 21 minutes. One team One Goal. Our group of 3 forever known as The White Walkers!
The HooDoo Cup is in need of a race director (RD) in order for the event to continue into 2019 and beyond. Without a RD in place by the end of May, the event will not continue. The HooDoo Cup IS NOT a Fairbanks Cycle Club race. We are helping with recruitment since this race is quite popular and we would like to see it go on.
RD duties associated with this event are very rewarding and can be accomplished with relative ease:
What: ~3 mile mountain bike race on Ester Dome singletrack.
When: Historically has been at least one race on a Sunday in September. Two races occurred in 2017, and three races in 2018.
Who: Minimum of 3-4 volunteers, in addition to the race director.
Established partners/sponsors: Goldstream Sports, Dogwood Designs, HooDoo Brewing
Ryan Kabat, the most recent race director, is willing to discuss budget and logistics with anybody seriously interested in taking over the race. Race day cheat sheet exists, and budget forms a basic list of items needed to be completed leading up to race.
by Nikki Potter
17th overall and 3rd in women’s division
“It’s only 10 miles”. Little did I know that those words would haunt me for hours. Sitting at the check point at mile 80, I repeated those words in my head to give me comfort that this race was nearing the end. Mile 90 would be the next check point and from there the finish was within reach! Little did I know when I left the comfort of the tent at the Mile 80 check point, that those 10 miles would be the longest of the entire 100 mile race. As luck would have it, misery loves company and I spent most of those 10 miles having a pity party with another racer. I kept thinking that the race directors were playing a cruel joke and that the check point was much further than the supposed 10 miles, or maybe it just wasn’t there! I played through all kinds of scenarios in my head as I pushed, and pushed, and continued to push my bike through all the snow that had accumulated over the day. My frustration was beginning to get the best of me, when I looked over my shoulder and saw lights sneaking up behind me. The competitiveness kicked in and I got another surge of energy. Two racers (on bikes) passed me which was irritating, so I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and kicked it into gear. Low and behold the checkpoint soon came into view. The race was almost over.
Those last 10 miles went by faster since I could actually ride. I was not riding fast, and fought my bike through most of it, but the end was near! I passed a biker, then he passed me. With the finish line lights dancing in the distance I didn’t have the heart (or energy) to ask him to nudge over so I could pass again. I shouted words of encouragement until we pushed up the last hill and then rode the 50ft across the finish. For me that finish was 19 hours and 3 minutes after I started.
My only real goal for the Su100 was to finish. Snow was in the forecast, but it was only supposed to be 1-3″. With a hard base I didn’t think that this would be an issue. Boy, was I wrong (along with the weather folks!!)!!! Pushing my bike is a mental drain. I love riding my bike, but feel a sense of defeat when I am taking it for a walk for miles and miles. With my mind always getting the best of me, I broke the race down by checkpoints. Reaching each was a small victory. Trying to make sure I would eat at each was a chore. Passing folks gave me motivation. Podcasts kept me company when I started to think too negative. At the end of the day, I am my own worse enemy in a race. I am my strongest critic. I am stubborn and can put my head down and push on. Maybe this is what got the other 38 racers across the finish. I know that stubbornness helped me to leave the comfort of a warm lodge and my husband at the mile 63 checkpoint. Given the trail conditions, we all suffered, but I can say that so much of that dissipated when I crossed that finish line. I will never think of the saying “it is only 10 miles” in the same light. Now that the race is over, it will probably make me laugh. I also want to meet the person that named “Steve’s trail”. I hated that trail and cursed Steve the whole way. Box checked for the Su100 and onto the next adventure. Suck it up and ride on.
A new board was elected during Fairbanks Cycle Club Annual Meeting on November 11, 2018 by all in attendance. The following members were elected:
President: Rachael Kvapil
Vice President: David James
Secretary: Ryan Kabat
Treasurer: Evee Rynish
Bud Kuenzli continues as our FMATS Liasion
Rachael Kvapil reported unfortunate news that the Fairbanks Cycle Club had been hit by an email scam via our former Treasurer, who had been suffering medical issues. Once the problem was discovered Rachael Kvapil, David James, and Julie Mancill worked with Wells Fargo to recover as much as possible. Since the money had been wire transfers, the receiving banks could not guarantee retrieval of money. Of the $17,000+ lost to this scam, over $3,500 was returned by Citibank. We received news right before the Annual Meeting that no other funds were retrieved by any other banks. The former Treasurer stepped down immediately and his name removed from all financial accounts and state documents. After an internal investigation, David James reported that the former treasurer truly fell to a scam and no actions on his part was due to malice.
Rachael Kvapil presented an update on the Ester Dome North Side Trail provided by Geoff Orth. This summer FCC received a grant from REI to assess and begin development on a 8+ mile trail; however, after a recent assessment plans have been changed:
The proposal for an Ester Dome – North Side Trail is postponed. A recent site survey has concluded that the eastern alignment is not suitable for a multi-use trail. A combination of changing environmental conditions and land ownership on the eastern approach presents conditions that are not sustainable or cost effective at this time. Changes in land ownership and/or permission from current land owners could alter this for future trail considerations.
The Fairbanks Cycle Club, Stray Dogs LLC and Happy Trails Inc want nothing but the best outcome for both the trail user and environment!
Adam Leland from DNR further added:
Given the trail alignment issues outlined below, the construction of a trail as proposed in the easement application is not currently possible without substantial realignment or additional funding. As a result, the current application is considered withdrawn, and the case file for ADL 421017 will be closed. Should the construction of the North Side Trail be re-proposed, a new easement application will be necessary.
Thank you, and good luck with your future endeavors.
REI has allowed us to use the remaining grant funds to look into a downhill trail near the Ester Dome Singletrack.
Several ride leaders gave reports. Rachael Kvapil said race directors for the Tour of Fairbanks and the Chena Hot Springs Ride have yet to be found despite offering paid positions. David James emphasized that board responsibilities do not include organizing races and that members needed to take on these responsibilities if they want races to continue.
Going into the future, Rachael Kvapil feels the board needs to focus on further recruitment of members and to the Board, as several members will step down in the coming years. She also suggested strategic planning so that Fairbanks Cycle Club has a clear idea of where to invest the boards time and efforts in the coming year.
~minutes filed by Rachael Kvapil
We have had a lot of inquiries about the 2018 Tour of Fairbanks 5 Stage Race. The FCC Board has set tentative dates in June; however, we have yet to secure a race director for this event. Without a race director, the event will be cancelled for a second year.
How can you help?
Spread the word that we are still recruiting. FCC is offering a $2,000 stipend for a person or team willing to coordinate all 5 stages. This includes determining the courses for a Prologue, 2 Road Races, a Criterium, and a Time Trial; acquiring permitting, promotion, and updating existing race information. Specific terms are available in the TOF Contract, which you can download here.
Time commitments vary through out the process. Early in the process it may take only a few hours per week, with more hours required as race day approaches. Much of this depends on the efficiency of the race director.
Additional questions can be emailed to Rachael Kvapil, FCC Prez, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Summer is coming! There have been a lot of changes over the winter. Check out updates in our latest newsletter :
People who are interested in selling items at the FCC Bike Swap this Saturday can help make things work more quickly at check-in by filling out their consignment forms ahead of time.
This link will take you to the Bike Swap information page. It has instructions and a link to the 2017 Bike Swap Consignment Form. Or here’s the link that takes you directly to the consignment form (if you’re already an expert at this).