Iditarod - Bikes Vs Dogs, Bike Smashes Record

Postby mfw on Mon 10/Mar/14 1:52pm

OK he didn't beat the faster dogs, but smashed the bike record, from 17 days down to 10, puting him firmly into the realm of the dog sled times. Any Dave Sharpes / Ollie Whalleys / John Randals thinking of giving this one a crack?
iditarod.jpg

Alaska Dispatch wrote:An unassuming Fairbanks cyclist by the name of Jeff Oatley has done the impossible on the Iditarod Trail from Knik to Nome. He rode his fat-tired bicycle into the Bering Sea community of 3,800 on Wednesday afternoon to beat the canines of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race to town by days.

No other competitor in the Iditarod Trail Invitational -- a 1,000-mile, human-powered, ultra-endurance race across the Alaska wilderness -- has ever come close to accomplishing this feat.

Oatley's time would have been good enough for 25th place in last year's Iditarod if he'd left the Willow start line with the dogs. He would have finished the race only about six hours behind four-time Iditarod champ Lance Mackey from Fairbanks. Mind-boggling understates this ride.

Suddenly the old Iditasport Impossible isn't looking so impossible. Impossible was the name given the 1,000-mile bike race along the historic trail before the founder of the event staged his death and disappeared from the 49th state only to allow for a somewhat more stable organizer to take over and rename the race the Iditarod Trail Invitational.

By then, it was established that it was indeed possible to ride a fat-tired bike along the snow-covered trail that begins at tidewater in Seward, Alaska and ends on the Bering Sea Coast, but to beat the dogs running the same trail? Forget about it. In more than 20 years, this has happened only once before. Colorado's Mike Curiak, Arizona's John Kirschke, and Canada's Greg Blackwell, back in the Iditasport days, formed a bit of a mini-peloton along the Bering Sea Coast and drove each other to Nome just ahead of the dogs. The feat was never repeated.

No else one even came close in the years that followed, despite the fact the cyclists get a week-long head start up the trail.

Some thought that maybe someday a biker might again be in the mix with the much more famous dog teams as the race closed on Nome. A biker who could do the trail in 16 days, some noted, would be expected reach the finish at about the same time as the Iditarod's sled dog teams.

Someday. Maybe. If conditions were right. If the planets aligned. If someone got lucky.

Well, someday came and went in a blink. Oatley blew all of the old thinking to pieces. Despite being forced to battle a stiff, demoralizing headwind for about 225 miles north along the Bering Sea coast, he's in Nome and will have to stay about a week there if he wants to see the dogs.

A mind-boggling ride to Nome

What Oatley did, other bikers say, is hard to grasp. Here is a man on a bicycle riding across the snow packing all of the necessary Arctic survival gear with him against teams of 16 sled dogs born, bred and trained to run. Canine versus man. It isn't even supposed to be a contest...

Full article http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/2 ... ace-record
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Re: Iditarod - Bikes Vs Dogs, Bike Smashes Record

Postby Velocipedestrian on Mon 10/Mar/14 2:09pm

Rad.
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Re: Iditarod - Bikes Vs Dogs, Bike Smashes Record

Postby Fraser on Tue 11/Mar/14 12:27am

It is an admirable ride, but seems the wrong tool for the job :eh:
The reason they were labouring the point of it being a specific weather conditions and set of circumstances is that you need to have had light snow drop over the winter (less than half metre) to ride through unless it is a groomed track. If it is to warm (+2 to -5) then the snow will be sticky and clump to your bike wheels and mechanicals and it will be like riding through deep mud. If it gets colder than -10 then the snow dries out and becomes powdery making riding difficult as you can't float over it with your tyres and past -20 even the spiked snow tyres have issues and cables or shifting becomes difficult. The colder it gets the metal frame and components becomes brittle and snap.
The weather window needs to be static and not fluctuate to be able to ride over this time and you need a light cloud cover with no snow both day and night to allow you to see where the track goes.
Also if it snows you can't see the colour of the ice to gauge the depth, any colouring other than blue means it has melted or is melting.
The reason punters use skis is that all of the conditions above are negligible as you go on top of the snow, if you do fall through something the skis give you a brace to get out.
Dog or the sleds don't really get effected by the snow conditions or depth of it and the leather/ropes don't freeze and the wooden sled doesn't go brittle like metal or plastic.
It all seems a bit Robert Falcon Scott in the view that you are taking a tool you know in warm weather and using it for cold weather with little ability to adapt if the conditions change, ignoring centuries of knowledge of dealing with this environment.
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Re: Iditarod - Bikes Vs Dogs, Bike Smashes Record

Postby Velocipedestrian on Tue 11/Mar/14 9:55am

Yeah, but he did it on a bike bro!
;)
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Re: Iditarod - Bikes Vs Dogs, Bike Smashes Record

Postby dwgknz on Tue 11/Mar/14 11:25am

That's cool but just need to remember two things:

- Bike won't scare away a bear.

- Can't eat your bike after it has scared away a bear.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/440778/Stranded-man-ate-beloved-dog-after-it-saved-him-from-a-bear-attack
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Re: Iditarod - Bikes Vs Dogs, Bike Smashes Record

Postby Velocipedestrian on Tue 11/Mar/14 11:31am

Perhaps a Hope hub will scare away a bear? (or attract one?) Can you eat a bamboo frame? Sugarcane?
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