photo from Jill Valerius / Susitna 100. Is that a mountain bike or a motorcycle?
If you’re still making excuses about mountain biking this winter, this should make you feel really bad: The Susitna 100 race starts tomorrow at 9am north of Anchorage, AK. Although it’s technically a “dirty century,” a more accurate title might be “snowy century.” Competitors can choose to bike, run, or ski the course through the Susitna River valley.
Last year’s bike winner took just over 16 hours to complete the course which works out to an agonizing 6 miles per hour plod. The second bike finisher took more than 19 hours and times basically go up from there…
Judging by last year’s results, the skiers have a slight edge over bikers in terms of speed while the runners take the longest (though some runners finished faster than the slower riders). There is also a shorter, 50K option which sold out this year. If you missed the Leadville cutoff this year, consider adding the Susitna 100 to your race calendar for next year!
The info about the skiers being faster than the MTB’s can change from year to year. Biking on snow is all about temperature and the condition of the snow, last year and maybe even the year before it warmed up dramatically right before the race making the snow soft (kind of like riding in deep sand). The temps for the past week above anchorage have once again been hovering just under freezing which means tough going for the bikers. Should it ever cool off in Alaska again and we get some good, cold, hard trail conditions for this race – watch out skiers!
All that extra gear you see Jill packing is quite simply going prepared. This race doesn’t take place near any highways or go through towns, its out through the wilderness. Better to be self-reliant than freeze while waiting for a rescue.
Wow, a century in Alaska would be the test. A century itself without adding weather to the mix is a challenge in itself, but coupled with a ton of snow would be grueling. Kudos to all the riders!
That’s crazy! Like abovetheridge said, mad props to everyone racing!