The Homer End Of The Road event saw the first running of a 100K populaire along with the 200K brevet with huge success! Seventeen brave souls started the ride on a brisk Saturday morning with a weather forecast that called for rain, snow, and wind. And we saw it all! Though in reverse of previous years. The route out to East End Road was clear and the skies were partly cloudy. Tourists who don't venture much past the spit really miss out. East End Road is worth a ride or drive! The road winds out of Homer, gaining elevation as through a series of hairpin turns and rolling hills, approaching the elevation of the glaciers across the bay. This makes for some awesome glacier viewing along the way and a good warm up for riders legs!
The next controle, "End of the Road", literally, the course goes out to the end of the Homer spit where riders touch cleats with the ocean. A welcome, flat, rest for the legs before riders tackle Skyline Drive, which has the leg busting switchbacks of East Hill Road before you get to the top! Catriona from the Homer Cycling Club met riders at the Skyline Dr. control with homemade brownies and pizza, a much deserved carbolicious break for the this leg of the journey.
After Skyline riders traveled to the Russian village of Nikolaevsk. A unique Old Believers village nestled about 20 miles outside of homer. This part of the ride has rolling hills and lots of scenery as riders pedal farther away from the Sterling Highway. The weather was crazy out here! From wind, snow, sleet, rain, snow, sun, sleet, snow. Did I mention snow? This weather was the most challenging on all of the course. Dan Curtin was especially blessed with a concert of church bells upon his arrival.
After the Russian village, riders ride a quick, short, downhill route out to the End of Anchor Point Rd. Anchor Point Rd is the western-most point on the contigous North American road system and the place where one can watch huge tractors pulling seaworthy fishing boats out of the ocean. Imagine pulling a boat out of the water with a truck, but the water is the ocean and the truck is a huge tractor with big wheels. Super cool!
After this control the course winds it's way back to the Sterling Highway via the Old Sterling Highway, a beautiful and scenic ride. Then it's time for the final push to Homer. Once back on the Sterling highway there are a few more climbs, rolling hills, then there's the long wonderful descent back to sea level and Two Sisters Bakery!
It should be said that this course has the most challenging weather and terrain of all of our rides. But what comes with that is also the most stunning scenery in all of Alaska. This course starts at the sea, climbs to the ridge, follows the ridge, descends to the spit, climbs back to the ridge, descends to the bluff, goes inland to the Russian village, and goes back to the sea to climb back to the bluff and a final descent back to the sea. Whew! Kudos to all the riders who braved this challenging and scenic course! You all deserve a huge pat on the back and a leg message!
A huge thank you to Catriona Lowe from the Homer Cycling Club and Pat Irwin of Free Spirit Wear for coming out and supporting us! Also to Two Sisters Bakery for hosting the start location!