Sunday, March 21, 2010


Riding bikes, that is what we do. We live, sleep, eat thinking about riding bikes. Some people race an hour long crit. Others suck wheel for a 100 mile road race. The fat tire folks suffer for two hours in a cross country race. The others push out the grueling 100 mile endurance races. The crazies race 24 hour solos. But after all, we all love riding our bikes. We go out and ride during the day in the name of training, stress relief, fun, and other reasons that are hard to put into words. For this, we are all similar.

Well, there is one exception...

Local guy and cycling badass, Mike Curiak. He is a downright cool guy. You would never be able to tell his accomplishments just by seeing or talking to him. He is also a leader in cycling innovation, especially in the 29er movement. He is a superb wheel builder as I can personally attest to. But there is one thing that makes him different-his latest cycling adventure.

You've probably heard of the Alaska UltraSport aka Iditasport. Same route as the Iditarod dog sled race. 1,100 miles from Knik to Nome, Alaska. Temperatures up to -60F and even colder. Racers travel on bike, foot, or skis. Racers stop at checkpoints and sleep in warm cabins and eat hot food until they are ready to hit the trail again. It sounds miserable, but that is luxury compared to what Curiak has just done.

He won the race to Nome a few times I believe and set the record of just over 15 days in 2000. That would be enough for most people, not Mike. The past few years he has set off to do the race self-supported. He has had some problems with equipment, but this year he got it right. He just finished the trip to Nome in just over 21 days self-supported. That are no cabins, no hot food, no support from anyone. Isolation in the barren land of Alaska for three weeks. Sleeping in a tent every night in temperatures most of us could never think of. Cooking up all his own food and eating sugary snacks every day. No going to the local pub after a long day in the saddle.

His bike weighed 145 pounds at the start of the race. He carried 24 days worth of food and reports are that he estimated he would loose one pound per day as he could not pack any more food on his bike. Can you imagine riding a bike like that? He rides all day and only averages 50 miles. Some days are spent slogging along pushing this heavy bike through deep powder. Doesn't sound terribly fun. So, here is a HUGE congrats to Mike for finishing this ridiculous endeavor. I'm sure he's got some incredible stories. The rumor is this trip is just a trip for something bigger and more desolate in the future. That is not an everyday cyclist. That is Mike Curiak.

For more about his trip, he will likely post some stuff in the next couple weeks after he eats a small town. There are some updates and trackers on the site now. There is a link on the right.


Timothy Finkelstein said...

Awesome and inspiring story! Thanks Brent. And I've been meaning to congratulate you on joining the crew! We're now teammates on two teams!

Good luck with your season.

Brent said...

Thanks Tim. Good to be teammates again. Hopefully you can find some long races to hit up this year!