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Monterey, California, USA

 

      

SAN FRANCISCO TO ANCHORAGE: A ROUND-THE-CLOCK RIDE

San Francisco to Anchorage: A Round-the-Clock Ride

What just happened here? Seven guys rode their bikes 3,300+ miles from San Francisco up the coast on Highway 1 to Seattle, across the US/Canada border, and north through BC and the Yukon to Alaska. They finished in Anchorage. They rode around the clock, 24 hours a day, for just-under eight days. (7 days, 21 hours, 54 minutes, to be exact.)

Andy (The Captain)

Age: 29

Day Job: Marketing, PR, and Business Strategy

Location: San Francisco

Cycling Experience: Amateur. Lots of miles under my belt, but all for fun and adventure.

As the instigator, Andy has put together several adventurous trips for his friends: a 1,600-mile cycling trip from San Francisco to Cabo San Lucas, and three major (400-500 miles) running relays. The ride to Alaska was the biggest undertaking the group has done so far—but they plan to top it in 2018!

 

Q: What makes you want to take trips like this?

A: The people and the opportunity to connect in a unique and real way. This group of guys has done a lot of growing together, and trips like this continue to challenge and push us.

 

Q: Did you have any major concerns when you started the trip?

A: We paid close attention to safety, primarily at night. We also built a plan and continued to help each other with hydration, nutrition, and rest. Sleeping in the van at night was key for us to continue moving non-stop.

 

Q: What was the most exciting thing to you about this trip?

A: We had a stretch in northern British Columbia in which we didn’t have cell service. Almost 500 miles of biking across the Rockies that was just us and the road. That was the hardest, most rewarding, and looking back, the most fun part of the trip.

 

Q: What surprised you most?

A: The ebbs and flows we experienced as a group. Some days we’d all be riding very hard and fast, and it felt like that energy would sweep all of us up together. Some days it was a battle to crank forward and it felt like we were all suffering through it together. I knew that I would have some big swings as the trip went on, but didn’t realize we’d all be in it together.

 

Q: What kind of bond do you form with the other guys on a trip like this?

A: The guys on the trip are like brothers to me–they are probably the closest thing I’ve ever had to it, at least. I can’t remember a moment that I felt like I needed to get away or that I was sick of them. We try to spend as much time as we can together back in the Bay–once in a while we do bike tours of the city together, just to get a little rush of the feelings we had on this trip.

 

Q: Who had the smelliest feet?

A: Man, hard question. Maybe the hardest question. We all smelled terrible. But after a few days, you kinda forget that and just ride. All of us have so much fun riding bikes that we’re able to forget the dirt, stink, and other unpleasantries.

 

Q: What’s your favorite CLIF BAR?

A: I love the Nut Butter Filled bars. By day 2 or 3, I stopped counting how many CLIF BARs I consumed. Way too many to count.

 

 

Sam (The Muscle Man)

Age: 27

Day Job: Co-founder of Handstand

Location: San Francisco

Cycling Experience: #BikegangProgressive Enthusiast (Bike Gang Progressive is where we bike to each of our houses/apartments, and at each one, the host will have prepared a beverage or snack for us to eat)

 

Q: Why did you say yes to this trip?

A: I love pushing myself alongside some of my closest friends. Biking 3,000+ miles is something I have never done and is such a crazy adventure!

So much of our lives are spent in relative comfort. For me, trips like these are opportunities to deliberately remove myself from that comfort and put myself in situations where I must be flexible and adapt

It’s also a chance to establish new connections with old friends. We usually find ourselves talking about similar topics with our closest friends: work, vacations, girlfriends, how people spend too much time on social media, etc. These adventures open up new lines of communication. On these trips, we talk about when our next calorie intake will be, we look out for each other to make sure we’re rested and fed, and we make sure to make our friends smile a few times a day.

 

Q: What surprised you most?

A: I’m always surprised by how much closer I can get with some of my closest friends. Is there no limit to this friendship thing!?

 

Q: What kind of bond do you form with the other guys on a trip like this?

A: After living in a van with the same guys for many days, there’s always a day or two afterward when you want to tend to the other aspects of your life. That being said, the memories created on trips like these last so much longer than the trip itself. We’ll be referencing stories from this trip for years to come. All in all, these trips bring us together unlike any other thing can.

 

Q: Who snored the loudest?

A: 100% Zip was the loudest snorer. That guy needs to plunge his nasal cavities or something.

 

Q: How many CLIF BARs did you eat?

A: Estimated 132 CLIF BLOKS consumed, and an astoundingly low 43 CLIF BARs consumed.

 

Connor (The Gentle Giant)

Age: 29

Day Job: Customer Success Manager

Location: San Francisco

Cycling Experience: Solid weekend warrior. I’ve been on some big trips, including one cross-country excursion.

 

Q: Why did you say yes to this trip?

A: I said yes because what’s better than riding bikes and adventuring with friends? We’ve been on plenty of wacky excursions, but all of a sudden we had a little legitimacy on this one, because we were sponsored by Clif. That added an aura of excitement beyond our usual shenanigans.

 

Q: What kind of bond do you form with the other guys on a trip like this?

A: It was a blessing to spend a solid week with these guys. We were tight to begin with, so the trip was more a reminder of how lucky we are to know each other. I thought I might get a sick of the close quarters, but since we each had three to four biking shifts per day, there was plenty of time for introspection—much more so than in everyday life, actually.

 

Q: What surprised you most?

A: I was surprised (and grateful) that my sense of smell stopped working during the trip. That van, with eight dudes, a dog, and no showers, was probably pretty putrid. Without that olfactory adaption, the trip could’ve been a little less fun.

 

Q: Want to make a call on who was the smelliest?

A: Ha! Despite my claim that I stopped smelling things, there were definitely some bad farts going around. That’s probably on all of us though.

 

Q: What’s your favorite CLIF BAR?

A: Cool Mint Chocolate, hands down.

 

Will (The Chef)

Age: 26

Day Job: Ambulance EMT

Location: San Francisco

Cycling Experience: I seldom do long bike rides, but I have a daily 14 mile round trip commute with a significant climb (over Twin Peaks in SF) to get to work.

 

Q: What was the most exciting part of this trip?

A: The night rides. Cruising alone in the middle of nowhere through the darkness is exhilarating. Every now and then I’d see some beady eyes or hear a large animal rustle around in the bushes and I’d pray I wouldn’t find myself face-to-face with a grizzly.

One day when I was cruising down a narrow portion of road in British Columbia, I pulled around a sharp corner to find a black bear grazing in my bike lane 40 yards away and closing. I yelled, “Hey bear!” to scare it away, but it continued with its lunch. With 20 yards between us, I aimed right for the bear and repeated, “Hey bear!” It looked up at me for a tense moment that felt like an eternity before I cut into the oncoming lane and avoided the bear by about five yards.

 

Q: What surprised you most?

A: I was most surprised about how few cars were on the road in BC and the Yukon. Some days we saw less than 10 on the major highway.

 

Q: What kind of bond do you form with the other guys on a trip like this?

A: I definitely feel closer to the bike gang after this trip. We go on three, sometimes four day camping trips each year, but being in a confined space with them for an extended period of time is quite the bonding experience. I love those guys to death but I definitely wasn’t super eager to go on a bike ride with them after the trip either.

 

Q: How smelly was it in that van?

A: Although the van was disgusting by the end of the trip, the grossest part was the bathroom situation (or lack thereof). Many times, Gil and Sam would poop immediately on the side of the road. Why didn’t they walk 10 feet off the road into the bushes? I still don’t know.

 

Q: What’s your favorite CLIF BAR?

A: I probably ate 20 Carrot Cake and Nut Butter Filled bars on the trip, but those Spearmint BLOKS were my favorite of the goodies.

 

Zip (The Best Friend)

Age: 28

Day Job: Entrepreneur

Location: San Francisco

Cycling Experience: Amateur

 

Q: Why did you say yes to this trip?

A: I mostly just wanted to hang out with my friends for 10 days and push my body at the same time. I love these crazy challenges.

 

Q: What surprised you most?

A: I couldn’t believe how immensely large Canada was. It took so long to get through it.

 

Q: What kind of bond do you form with the other guys on a trip like this?

A: We are already a really close group of friends, but when you’re spending so much time in such close quarters, you get to see the true side of people. Thankfully, this group is full of really kind and genuine people. A lot of good jokes and laughs were shared and we really motivated and pushed each other to finish and feel good.

 

Q: Who was the smelliest dude in that van?

A: Gil is| the dirtiest. I’m pretty sure he didn’t bring any clothes with him and just biked and slept in one set of clothes. Gross, but also awesome.

 

Q: What’s your favorite CLIF BAR?

A: I love the Nut Butter Filled bars. I couldn’t tell you how many CLIF BARs I had on the trip, but it was more than I’ve ever eaten in the rest of my life leading up to that point.

 

 

Gil (The Legend)

Age: 28

Day Job: Creating Team Building Events

Location: San Francisco

Cycling Experience: Recreational

 

Q: What was the most exciting part of this trip?

A: Knowing that you’re sharing a silly superhuman goal with a few of your best friends.

 

Q: What surprised you most?

A: There aren’t that many humans in the Yukon. And also, I totally forgot how much fun one can have with a few Nerf guns.

 

Q: What kind of bond do you form with the other guys on a trip like this?

A: You learn that you can count on these guys at any time after the trip just as you counted on each other during the trip. We never get sick of each other.

 

Q: Who had the smelliest feet?

A: Gotta be Zip. He didn’t bring his own shoes or helmet so I let him borrow mine. I rode shortly after him, so I always had the pleasure of putting on Zip-sweat-soaked shoes and helmet.

 

Q: What’s your favorite CLIF BAR?

A: Apricot. I must’ve had at least 3 bars per day. I also had at least 1 of those BLOKS every time I rode. I would have one cube every 20 minutes.

 

Davis (The Temp)

Age: 27

Day Job: Film Producer

Location: Seattle

Cycling Experience: Regular guy who rides his bike a lot

 

Q: What made you say yes to this trip?

A: I said yes because it was an opportunity to do something bigger than myself. Opportunities that allow me to play a small role in accomplishing a big goal are my favorite. I think it’s always more gratifying for me to be in the midst of something really big, rather than do something that is just for me.

 

Q: What surprised you most?

A: I was super surprised that my body got used to riding my bike and being awake as much as it was. It was kind of like jet lag for the first couple of days where my body was just screaming at me. But after a couple of days my body was just like, yup, every 5 hours I am going to ride 20 miles. In the meantime I will drink a beer, nap, eat, and repeat. Waking up for the 2am shift got easier and easier.

 

Q: What kind of bond do you form with the other guys on a trip like this?

A: On any kind of adventure like this the friendships are meaningful almost immediately. I am a believer that friendships are built on stories. If you have a friendship that has no good stories you probably won’t be friends for long. I didn’t know most of the guys before jumping in a van with them. But almost immediately we were in the journey together, figuring out how get ourselves and our bikes from the middle of nowhere to Alaska. It’s the fastest way to create some real bonds. There is something really magical about riding up to another guy at 3 in the morning, who happens to be the only other guy awake for hundreds of miles, and giving him a slap on the butt and watching him ride into the night.

Q: Who was the smelliest?

A: Easy. Bea the dog! The first couple nights we allowed her to be in the community bed. It was really rough. She would decide to reorient herself and just surprise you with a gut punch in the middle of the night. Also, she smells like dog. Nothing she can do about it.

All of the way around, I would say we had some hygiene issues. Like everyone only had one cycling setup and one van outfit. So you can imagine after a few days those weren’t exactly smelling great. But lots of airing out was happening, so we figured we were fine.

 

Q: How many CLIF BARs did you eat, and what’s your favorite?

A: I ate so many CLIF BARs. Probably 30+. As thankful as I was to Will and his ability to whip up something magical to eat in 20 minutes at rest stops, we really didn’t have a super good food system in place. And with so much riding, you really need a good system. So CLIF BARs became the system. I would have a BLOKS packet every ride, too. Partly to stay awake with something to do. (Trying to get the BLOKS out of the packaging while riding can give you something to do for several minutes.) And then I would eat a bar in the van just about anytime I was hungry—so about every two hours.

I love all of the new Nut Butter Filled bars. Coconut Almond Butter is easily my favorite, but by the end of the trip Chocolate Hazelnut Butter was starting to give it a run for the money. Of course, these were also the flavors that we ran out of almost immediately.

 

Monterey, California, USA


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