Sunday, July 26, 2009

Taking Alaska down, one mile at a time.

Stage 8 and Sadlers Alaska Challenge: Done!!! Today was no joke. We went a total of 30 miles, and 4500 feet of climbing up Hatcher Pass. It may have been one of the most physically challenging things I have ever done. The whole race, both physically and mentally, was a challenge but today even more so. For 8 miles it was an extremely steep incline, sometimes 16% grade and at times it was a struggle to keep the bike going forwards, and not start rolling backwards.

Katz and I stayed together up until the start of the climb and then I got ahead by a little bit. I didn't think I was much of a climber before this race but come to find out I actually enjoy it. I think. We both managed to stay pretty positive throughout the race, instead of cursing the hills as we've done in previous days. We were on day #2 with no rain and the scenery was gorgeous. Especially as we kept going up and up, and oh, up some more the views got better and better. We ended at Independence Mine with a decent size crowd to cheer us on. As I passed over the finish line I pulled out my flag for a little wave and the reward of crossing that finish line was awesome. The view for one thing, but knowing that we had overcome the physical and mental challenges of all 250 miles, the rain, the bugs, the little sleep...we had done it and our race motto of 'Taking Alaska Down One mile at a time' was as apparent as ever. I finished in 3rd but after the race today it's so much more apparent that it's not about the place, but about the finish, and that we both did. There was a short awards ceremony after the finish where I got some flowers and a huge check like you see on TV. To be honest, I felt weird standing up there without Katz. She's the one that got me into this crazy insane adventure and I never would have done it without her. She's the one that helped me get up many a hills and the one who rode by me on those sucky, rainy days. We both won, we really did. I know I'll look back on this in a few years and be amazed at what we accomplished here. We rock. We just do.

We drove back to Anchorage and stopped at the first Starbucks we saw. We were deprived after 8 days without Starbucks. How we did it, I don't know. We have an awards banquet tonight and then our journey back home begins at 1:30am. Through Pheonix and then I'll be off to Chicago and Katz back to CO. We are more than ready to get home, bringing our sore muscles with us.

Right now we are back in the same hotel we started out in 8 days ago. Although the days went slow, and the races even slower, it's crazy to look back and have it be over. Just goes to show that life goes by too quick. Good thing I have these crazy adventures and good friends like Katz to share them with.

So, this is the end of my Alaskan adventure. Thanks for tuning in.

Peace Out Alaska!


Shannon said...

Congrats Melissa and Katz on an amazing finish! Thank you for keeping us posted on your daily adventures. I'm glad you didn't run into any wildlife and were able to enjoy some scenery without rain. Rest your sore muscles, you deserve it! Have a safe trip home!

Leslie said...

All great news. Congratulations.