After getting about four hours of sleep, Roland, Hiroshi and I woke up at midnight and hit the road at about 1am. They had oatmeal, I had a sticky pecan roll for breakfast. A group of four riders had left before us, but we were pretty sure we would catch them, given the terrain.
The first 50 miles were just like the last, only it was dark! Traffic was non-existent, and we just rolled along nicely, enjoying the crisp air. At a certain point, Roland left me. I started getting bored and tired and had to make up silly games to keep me occupied. Here are a few:
1. Catch the rider! I could see a couple riders up ahead. Soon, I was passing Chris and Luis. I would get a half mile ahead of them, stop for something, let them pass and get ahead of me, and start the game over! I think they thought I was nuts, but it kept me entertained…
2. Morning services. I sang the entire morning Shacharet service, out loud…or as much of it as I could remember!
3. Walmart songs. As we approached Wasilla, we were supposed to go to a Walmart at mile 70. Well, the Walmart didn’t emerge until mile 74. Did I mention Wasilla is just mile after mile of traffic lights, strip malls and traffic (it was morning rush hour at 7am)? That damn Walmart because the brunt of many imaginative and derogatory songs.
4. Remember the 80’s. Any 80’s song was fair game, as long as I was singing it at the top of my lungs.
With these tools in hand, the traffic faded away and I quickly arrived at Walmart, five minutes before the MacDonald’s opened. A group of us waited, had breakfast and tried to get warmed up.
The last 41 miles took us via the scenic route into Anchorage. Glenn highway was pretty when we didn’t have to negotiate the 8″ of clean pavement between the gravel and the rumble strip. Roland and I were riding together, and pushed through the last couple of climbs over the Eagle River area. The last 5 miles or so were all downhill, and we cruised into the finish line at 11:34am. We have 26 minutes to spare! Hiroshi followed us about five minutes later, claiming the Lantern Rouge for himself. A wonderful ride!