Thursday, September 09, 2010

Bicycling Trip to Alaska: Now Going Canadian!

My fictional Bicycling Trip to Alaska started 11 months ago, and at last, I've made it somewhere. 1,600 miles later, I've made it to Canada. Yeah!

Of course, I could have made it to Canada a lot sooner had I crossed the border at Detroit or Buffalo instead of North Dakota. But this is just an intermediate step on the way to Alaska, so I felt no need to cross the border any sooner than I needed to. Besides, Alaska is still another 2,400 miles away, and I plan on continuing the trip another 634 miles after that, all the way to Homer, AK.

"Chris! Why are you going to Homer and not Deadhorse? Why not take the Dalton Highway to the Arctic Ocean instead? That would be way cooler." Yes, but...the drive to Homer is more statistically interesting than the drive to Deadhorse, in that there are many more towns along the way. Given that I only ride 30-40 miles a week on average, the Dalton Highway would be a pretty boring stretch, statistically speaking. The towns are 100 to 150 miles apart up there, for example. Without too many landmarks along the way, it might be hard to keep myself motivated. Remember, the primary purpose of this fictional Bicycling Trip to Alaska is to motivate myself to exercise.

But the real reason I'm ending the Bicycling Trip to Alaska in Homer instead of Deadhorse is because I have some grand ambitions. After the Bicycling Trip to Alaska is complete, next up will be the "Bicycling Trip in Australia", a fictional ride from Sydney to Perth. Since my next trip will start along the Pacific Ocean*, it makes more sense to end this trip along the Pacific Ocean as well*, hence my decision to go to Homer instead of Deadhorse. My longer term plans are to eventually do a fictional bike ride on every non-Antarctic continent, the sum of those rides exceeding 24,901.6 miles (the circumference of Earth at the equator), allowing me to sort of claim that I've biked all the way around the world.

(* - Technically, neither Homer nor Sydney is on the Pacific Ocean. Homer is on Kachemak Bay, and Sydney is on the Tasman Sea, neither of which is officially part of the Pacific Ocean according to the IHO. But I believe "close enough" applies here.)

But hey! Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves, right? We're only in year one still, and Homer is still another two years away. Maybe by the time I reach the Homer ferry terminal, I won't feel like doing this anymore. But I'm in great shape, it's fun, and I'd like to keep bicycling as long as possible and see this fictional "world tour" through.

My initial goal when I started the Bicycling Trip to Alaska was to average 30 miles of bicycling per week. I'm meeting that goal, and over the last 24 weeks, I've averaged 35 miles per week. I've been getting stronger, but I think I'm starting to peak. While I'd like to shoot for 40/week, I don't think I can average much more than 35/week long-term, especially in the winter. Instead, my goal will be to average 36-37 miles per week for the remainder of my Bicycling Trip to Alaska. Or, to put it in more dramatic terms, my goal is to make it to Homer before my 30th birthday (April 8, 2012). Can I do it?

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