Monday, March 9, 2009

Rounding the corner to McGrath

Mike made some good headway today. He bypassed Nikolai (mile 300) a few hours ago, rolling through the turn to the west towards McGrath. That's about a 50 mile day -- not bad for the Snoots on snow.

Speaking of the Snoots, Mike's amazing wonder bike, here's a close up shot of her all loaded and almost ready to roll:

Mike should make it to Peter and Tracey's 'oasis' in the Alaskan 'desert' tomorrow. I'll bet mancakes are already on his mind, though this year he did significantly change the 23 day Alaskan wilderness menu. When I heard what was he was bringing last year I was shocked that it contained so little "head food." Sweets, basically. You know, stuff you want to eat. This year he changed that, adding "5lbs of M & M's (all varieties mixed together), 5 lbs of Mike & Ike's, about a half pound of roasted seaweed (one item where a little weight goes a LONG way), little over a pound of elk jerky that was handed to me at the last second, 24 peanut butter eggs (one for each day plus a bonus for making it to Iditarod), 4 lbs of chocolate chip cookie dough, 2lbs of Frito concentrate, 1 lb of Sun Chips concentrate, and 1.5 lbs of Tostitos concentrate. I poured the chips into the blender and ground 'em into almost-dust. So that 2 lbs of Fritos (two large bags from the grocery) fits into a quart sized ziploc with plenty of room to spare."

On the last (summer!) tour I did with Mike, he introduced me to 'Fritos concentrate' and I gotta say that it hit the spot. It's amazingly compact, yet filling (?!). By the third day of eating out of my rucksack, I coveted nothing more than Mike's little bag of 'Fritos.'

A remaining question is how much of these items (plus his freeze dried meals) he may have ditched back at Shell Lake, and how far he plans to continue. I should learn more when he gets to McGrath, where he has promised to call.

On another note, I just noticed that Billy Koitzsch is riding to Nome this year (I had assumed McGrath for some reason, not knowing Billy). He left today, which puts him not that much ahead of Mike. It will be interesting to watch his SPOT, still shown on the main TopoFusion tracker here:

It seems he may have figured out how to change the SPOT to tracking mode (before his points were very sporadic, only sending a signal when he actually hit the OK button). Mike's SPOT is collecting quite a track this year -- due mostly to a different placement on the Snoots. No problems with signal thus far. Most points seem to be no more than 30-40 minutes apart, and often the minimum 10 minute interval.