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Sunday, November 06, 2005


A Sunday Winter Ride Down Noyes Slough

Today was the first official Sunday Winter Ride of the FCC '05/'06 winter riding season.

We kick off the Sunday rides every year with a ride down Noyes Slough, after it has frozen up enough to ride on and/or the snowmachines have been down it enough to pack it down.

The meeting time and place was by the Beaver Sports Outdoor Center building at noon. I rode over there a little before 11:30 and got there just about exactly at noon (with a stop at the Tesoro on University Avenue to buy a sandwich and donut for lunch. The temperature was around -5 Fahrenheit.

There were a few riders already there, milling around waiting for the ride to start. Andi Hunter was there (I'd invited her to come along with us) along with her friend Terri. And there was one other woman rider present along with Gail Koepf.

After a bit, Simon showed up and then we got in gear and took off. We took a circuitous route down through College and over to the railroad tracks. We followed along the trail that parallels said tracks as it rode up and down the bumps and rises. Terri dropped out (she was out of shape) a bit before we got to the slough, and then it was relatively easy riding from there on out.

Noyes Slough winds and wends along through and behind several neighborhoods in North Fairbanks and the only thing we really had to watch out for were soft spots at the various beaver dams. Mostly, we had to get off our bikes and walk up and over said beaver dams. That was always a bit interesting, to say the least, in that you never would know what kinds of wood and how sturdy the wood the beaver use for their dams.

Finally, we got over to around where Danby Street crosses over the slough (I have to say, those bridge crossings are pretty cool, because you're riding under these bridges, sometimes with only two or three feet of clearance), and we stopped to take a breather.

We collected our breath, and took off again. Andi and the rest got up ahead of me, I was ahead a bit of Rocky, Gail, and their group. We encountered some nasty overflow/soft, watery ice past Minnie Street Bridge and another beaver dam, and it was basically walking from there on over to the river. Rocky and the rest bailed there (they had another ride planned, all the way up Cranberry Ridge), so it was just me to catch up with Andi, Tom, Simon, Dallas, and the others.

We gathered our energies and rode over to the Wendell Street Bridge, then through downtown Fairbanks over to McCafferty's Coffee House to have some warm drinks and warm up. We parked our bikes by the restaurant and went in.

We sat around, regaling Andi with stories of bike rides past and some of the things we'd done and seen on some of our rides in both summer and winter. We shot the breeze for a while, warming up. There was some strange-looking homeless guy who came walking by the restaurant and looked in and waved at us. Andi waved back and he came in and started joking with us. The owner came over and kindly asked him to leave, which he did. "I know most of the regular street downtown, but that guy I don't. He must be an irregular street person." was his comment.

Finally, it was time to head back. We took a circuitous route back over to the slough and I decided I didn't want to ride all the way back over, so I decided to take College Road back over to Beaver Sports. Andi decided to follow along with me.

We rode down College Road without event, other than me pointing out the various landmarks along the way and the history of Fairbanks thus presented.

Finally, at 3 or so, we got back to Beaver. We were the first, so I went in to warm up. Andi came in a bit later to ask the bike guy about her tire. He adjusted it for her and then we hung out with him for a bit.

She had to go swimming up at the UAF Patty Center pool and I had to head home, so we parted company there. I told her the next ride would be next Sunday at noon at Ivory Jack's parking lot in the Goldstream Valley.

All in all, it was a great kickoff ride for the '05/'06 season!

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