Alaska AIDS Vaccine Ride, 20-26 August 2000
What an adventure!!!

AAVR Main     Day 1    Day 2   Day 3    Day 4   Day 5   Day 6    Day 7

Aug 22nd, Tuesday - Day Two, Delta Junction to Isabel pass (3,200 ft. above sea level) 68.9 miles

We awoke to the lovely sound of sleet pelting our tents. The temperature was in the low mid 30s with a really nice wind howling, ah, perfect weather for riding.  I checked in with Medical and since neither my blood pressure nor pulse rate had improved they put a hold on my bike and I was not allowed to ride.  I was a bit upset as I really wanted to be able to ride each and every day and mile of the ride but I also know enough to listen to my body and make decision accordingly.

It turned out to be a blessing that I didn't ride.  About 10 miles into the ride we were hit with a beaut of a snowstorm (snow in August, who'd of thought), the already frigid temperatures dropped further and the wind chill was unbearable. Of the 1,500 or so cyclists started the day, only a little more than 300 finished.  It was simply too cold, too windy, and the roads were too slick to ride.  The US Army was called and they sent three Army buses to help pick up the 1,200 or so cyclists who were stranded along the road over a 25 mile stretch, along with several school buses that were recruited from near by schools (nearby is a very relative term in Alaska!).  Many cyclists huddled together in the back of U-Haul trucks for warmth, everyone was wrapped in mylar blankets to try and stay warm, some people waited for 3 hours before being picked up as there were just too many cyclists stuck out in the middle of nowhere.

We had all been warned over and over in the pre-ride materials to expect and be prepared for any and all types of bad weather, I think most of us couldn't imagine it would snow in August..

The Bike Parking crew really pulled out all the stops in order to take care of all the bicycles left by the side of the road.  The bike parking people were out ALL NIGHT picking up bikes.... and not all those bikes were at outposts. Quite a few were on the road, some wrapped in mylar! And Wednesday morning, there wasn't a single missing bike. Outstanding, the crew was amazing.

As I was on the bus I arrived at camp earlier than most of the riders, so I tried to set up my tent and the tents of some of my friends.  The campsite, appropriately called "Top of the World", was at the base of the Gulkana glacier (kind of like sleeping underneath an open freezer door).  It was incredibly beautiful, but also incredibly windy.  We quickly learned that tent stakes would not work since the ground was solid rock and pretty frozen, so in order to keep the tents from becoming airborne I went and scavenged the outskirts of the campsite for heavy rocks, putting them inside the tent before trying to put it up, otherwise it became a kite!

Since we arrived at camp early two friends and I took a hike up a glacial stream, wow, what scenery, very rugged but beautiful.

Checked in with Medical before I went to bed, they checked me out  told me to come back in the morning to see if they'd let me ride the next day.

AAVR Main     Day 1    Day 2   Day 3    Day 4   Day 5   Day 6    Day 7


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