Blah,blah, blah.. and so I went biking

Spring in Fairbanks is a mixed blessing – its nice and warm with long days and tons of sunlight, but the snow is mostly gone so no skiing, but there is a still enough to make hiking (at least on the interesting trails) marginal, and the trails are still too wet for good mountain biking. The road biking is pretty nice though, as so when I ended up with a idle Thursday away from work I decided to go for a mid length bike ride of around 50 miles and go explore some roads I have not been on before. I am a fan of gravel roads, and tried to plot out a route that included ~20 miles or so of gravel. My plan was to take Sheep Creek Rd to Murphy Dome road, then take Spinach Creek Rd to Old Murphy Dome road across to the Eliot highway, then back on Goldstream. This was Google’s suggestion for my route. The first 13 miles or so were fun and fast and after several steep climbs I reached the end of the asfault and the start of the dirt. Just before the end of the pavement there was a road crew making repairs of some sort…

Soon after passing the road construction I reached the end of Spinach Creek Road and turned onto Old Murphy dome road. I had not been out this way in quite a while, and the last time I was out this way I was skiing on trails that parallel the road, so I was not sure what to expect. The views from the road were fantastic – besides the weird clearcuts that is. There were lots of cleared land off the side of the road, in strange places… very odd as the trees are all black spruce with a “large” one being about 6″ around – not exactly the sort of tree loggers dream of.

Old Murphy dome road was is great shape, with lots of nice gravel and had some really fun descents. I Eventually reached what appeared to be the end of the road, or at least were the road turned from gravel to mud..

There was however a really nice well maintained road heading off north, so I took that on the off chance it hooked up with Murphy dome road again. Alas, it dead ended after several miles, leading only to a number of small houses. A dog jumped out at me and gave me a start, but he turned out to be quite friendly, as did his owner. I talked to him for a moment and got conformation that the muddy road that I decided to skip was actually the road I wanted, and headed back out to find it again. The road turned out to be not that bad – there was only 4 miles or so of mud and it was mostly bikable except for a quarter mile or so were I ended up pushing as my slicks were just spinning out.

I did not feel too bad, as I could see tracks from a mountain bike and they ended up pushing about as much as I did on my road bike. Eventually the mud disappeared and the biking sped up – wahoo.

The dirt road continued on for a while, and then turned back into a maintained gravel road.

The gravel continued on for a short distance until I reached the Eliot Highway and then it was back to pavement.

The final 20 miles or so were mostly on pavement and not all that exciting as I have had biked them lots of times before – they zoomed by fairly quickly and after a snack at Goldstream General store I was back home. All in all it was a great way to spend my mid morning and mid afternoon.

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