See, my bottom bracket bearings are shot. Mush. So I've decided to get new bearings rather than a whole new bottom bracket. That's part of the reason that I went with the one I went with. After seven months of hard use, they need replacement. Particularly as RaceFace bearings, from what I read on the intertubes, are not of the the best quality to begin with.
So I've got bearings on order and I just hope that they arrive before the play in the current ones causes any damage to my cups or spindle.
As such, I didn't ride over the weekend. Yesterday I decided to work from home and after putting in my hours for the day decided I needed to go for a ride before I completely lost my mind. I wanted to ride some trail, as I've been lax about doing that this year. But with the bottom bracket issues, it seemed that it might be best to stick to flatter country overall. As such I decided to take a bit of a ride I've wanted to do for a long time and never gotten around to - the Matanuska River Bottoms. The Matanuska river is a glacial torrent that has been changing its course for years and has left large expanse of gravel and river rock and mud in its stead. Because of public right of way, the river bottoms is a favorite place for all kinds of folks to go and recreate. From the motorheads to the rockhounds, you can find evidence of them all here. And not less than a few different bike tracks.
I'd read of other folks riding this area, but hadn't had a chance myself. I'm hooked. It's slow rolling - picking lines and crawling over rocks. I only explored a tiny portion of the ridable area, but I have a strong suspicion that I could roam for miles both up and down stream.
The scenery isn't half bad, either. To the north, east, and south are mountains and glaciers. To the west are woods and then town. It's a quick way to get away right close to town. From my house it is 7.93 miles to the river. If I had more time, I could have spent hours exploring, but knowing I had another 8 miles to ride back home and that the temps and the light were going to drop fast, I only puttered around for maybe two miles or so. I found some interesting stuff, though. Like refrigerators. Like tires - mostly bald and often used for fire rings. Like barrels and other metal debris from upriver, maybe from mines or something?
There were some challenges in the terrain. But, being fat and happy, I was easily able to overcome these. You hear a lot of chatter round here about the 'real Alaska' and how everything is getting so citified anymore. The thing is, from what I have seen when I go exploring around the edges of the wilderness, is that the 'real Alaska' seems a bit like a garbage dump. I realize that there are thousands of miles that I haven't explored yet, but at the edges of civilization if you don't run across at least one pile of assorted trash, often including one or more burnt out cars, you're not in the 'real Alaska.'
It's sad, but that's the way it is, I guess. But, sometimes abandoned cars make for good riding.
I also found myself a handy new kickstand while out riding. It's a pain in the ass to carry on the rack - likes to poke me in the ass with every pedal stroke.
All in all, a good day of riding. I can't wait to get back down there and do even more exploring.