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Lael Rides Alaska: main road system


Lael Rides Alaska: main road system

Bike Touring Collection by Lael



223:33 h

2,606 mi

160,750 ft

I am in fourth generation Alaskan. I began endurance riding in 2014, borrowing my mom's Specialized Ruby and riding as far as I could on my two days off from work as a bartender, scouring the map to see where I could go.

At the end of that summer, I entered my first race, the Fireweed 400. It's a 400 mile (644 km) supported road race and a qualifier for Race Across America, with a cut-off time of 32 hours.

I didn't even know if I could finish it. I ended up finishing in 27 hours, second overall by 12 minutes to a guy on a recumbent. At that point, I realized ultra-endurance racing and riding is both something that I love and am good at. I vowed that I'd come back someday to ride all of the major roads in Alaska.

After setting the women's record on the Tour Divide in 2015 and outright winning the Trans Am in 2016, I came back to Alaska to ride the roads: a mix of pavement and gravel on 12 major roads (and many spurs) for a total of 4,500 miles (7,300 km). It was one of the most fun adventures of my life and I've been wanting to share the story of riding the roads ever since.

This summer, I'm back home in Alaska with Rue so we can ride together and she can document the beauty of the place. We've been revisiting my favorite roads together and extending the rides to some islands in Alaska that I've never visited before.

As I look at this Collection, I want to connect all of the dots again. I want everyone to see the possibilities of riding in Alaska. The main idea is to encourage others to start adventures from home, dream big and feel good about the time we spend outside. I'm looking forward to filling in this map as the summer progresses.

On The Map


Tours & Highlights

  • Everest Challenge up Hatcher Pass — Lael Rides Alaska

    225 mi
    10.7 mph
    29,550 ft
    29,550 ft

    I took on this Everest Challenge as part of Rebecca Rusch's Giddy Up for Good to raise money for COVID-19 relief.


    This was my first Everest attempt; until I was several laps in, I didn't realize I probably should've picked a shorter steeper stretch of road!


    Hatcher Pass is fantastically beautiful and I

    by Lael

  • 07:04
    73.7 mi
    10.4 mph
    6,675 ft
    6,675 ft

    I drove out to Denali National Park with my parents, my nephew Josh, Rue and Christina.


    The Denali Park Road is one of my favorite in the world. We had exceptional weather and there was very little traffic.


    The tourist buses are very limited this year and there aren't many people out. We saw moose, caribou

    by Lael

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  • 04:49
    52.6 mi
    10.9 mph
    3,450 ft
    2,500 ft

    This was our capstone campout ride for Anchorage GRIT.


    We split it up over three days, starting from their school in East Anchorage, spending the first night near Mirror Lake, the second at the Serenity Falls forest service cabin at the end of Eklutna Lake, and riding back to the Eklutna Lake trailhead

    by Lael

  • 01:46
    29.8 mi
    16.8 mph
    25 ft
    575 ft

    My parents wanted to visit Chena Hot Springs, northeast of Fairbanks. I drove out with them and Joshua, soaked in the tubs and then starting riding home to Anchorage. I camped with them the first night and continued south the following morning.

    by Lael

  • 12:54
    168 mi
    13.0 mph
    8,200 ft
    6,800 ft

    On the second day of my Chena Hot Springs to Anchorage ride, I rode to stay with friends at Creekside Cabins near Denali National Park.


    I spent two summers working in their cafe. It was amazing to see all of the improvements they've made to their property and to have a welcome place to spend the night

    by Lael

  • 12:28
    160 mi
    12.9 mph
    4,250 ft
    6,075 ft

    Holly and Tracey from Creekside Cabins made me coffee and scrambled eggs on their opening day, so great to catch up with them!


    Rue decided to ride towards me from Anchorage and we'd meet near Willow to ride to my folks' cabin together. It was really the best feeling to have the love of my life riding

    by Lael

  • 05:46
    76.5 mi
    13.3 mph
    2,575 ft
    2,700 ft

    I have to admit, I was pretty zonked on the final day riding home from the cabin. We stopped near Wasilla and I ate a whole footlong sandwich at Subway. So fun to have Rue's company.

    by Lael

  • 07:26
    118 mi
    15.9 mph
    5,850 ft
    6,000 ft

    My best friend Christina asked if I wanted to race the Foxy Beaver, a 60 km (37 mile) gravel race near Knik.


    I'd never ridden out there, so we decided to head out in the morning together for a 100 km (62 mile) warm up.


    It was a beautiful day! I felt great during the race and ended up winning the women

    by Lael

  • 02:29
    30.9 mi
    12.5 mph
    250 ft
    75 ft

    We arrived in Prudhoe Bay in the late afternoon, put our bikes together at the airport and began the Dalton Highway late in the evening.


    We first rode to the only supply store for the next 500 miles to buy a camping stove canister and bear spray because we couldn't take them on the plane.


    At that point

    by Lael

  • 07:24
    91.2 mi
    12.3 mph
    4,000 ft
    2,050 ft

    This stretch of the Dalton Highway moves from flat terrain to rolling hills.


    The only people we saw were passing truck drivers and one guy that is running the camp and airstrip at Happy Valley, where we stopped so Rue could charge her e-bike. He said there was a herd of musk-oxen across the river, but

    by Lael

  • 05:44
    59.9 mi
    10.4 mph
    5,175 ft
    4,125 ft

    This stretch of the Dalton Highway enters the Brooks Range and climbs over Atigun Pass, the highest road pass in Alaska at 4,800 feet (1,460 m).


    I love this raw and rugged mountain range. It's so far north, that there aren't any trees. We climbed over the pass in the afternoon and stopped at a small pump

    by Lael

  • 09:04
    115 mi
    12.6 mph
    3,875 ft
    5,725 ft

    On the fourth day, we made it to Wiseman and Coldfoot where we stocked up on some dry supplies (mostly chips and ramen), ate a burger and packed one to go.


    By the end of the day, we were through the Brooks Range. The further south we went, the worse the mosquitoes got, especially near water in the Boreal

    by Lael

  • 07:25
    72.4 mi
    9.8 mph
    6,175 ft
    7,500 ft

    This riding is tough! It's always up or down and steep both ways. We finished the night near the Yukon River.


    A team of 350 fire fighters had taken over the BLM Five Mile campground, so we camped across the road next a father and son (both named Walter) that had a permit for salmon fishing in the Yukon

    by Lael

  • 07:20
    71.0 mi
    9.7 mph
    7,700 ft
    7,300 ft

    Early in the morning, we stopped at Yukon River Camp. Rue charged her bike, we took showers, ate burgers and packed one to go.


    It rained on and off and the mosquitoes were horrible, but the riding here was stunning. We passed the entrance to the Dalton Highway early in the evening and continued on the

    by Lael

  • 06:22
    75.6 mi
    11.9 mph
    5,425 ft
    5,900 ft

    This was the last day to Fairbanks. Our bikes were trashed and so were we! We were certainly happy to clean up and get ready for the next stretch.

    by Lael

  • 30:45
    254 mi
    8.3 mph
    17,750 ft
    17,950 ft

    This is the best trail specific bikepacking route in Alaska, linking up a network of single track trails in the Kenai peninsula.


    There is a race every year on the route in late June, an exceptional time to ride because the trails are in great shape (before they get overgrown) and there's tons of daylight

    by Lael

  • 08:24
    132 mi
    15.7 mph
    5,675 ft
    5,375 ft

    With a single day in between traveling to Colorado for a wedding and going to Kodiak Island to ride new roads, Rue and I went down to Homer so she could shoot the Fireweed and I could connect my ride to Cooper Landing (that I passed through during the Kenai 250).


    It felt wonderful to spend all day on my bike.

    by Lael

  • 11:34
    163 mi
    14.1 mph
    3,350 ft
    2,275 ft

    Rue had to stay in Anchorage to work, so I flew to Fairbanks to ride out to Eagle, Alaska.


    I had great memories of riding out there three years ago and wanted to make the trip before the end of the season.

    by Lael

  • 10:17
    123 mi
    12.0 mph
    7,175 ft
    7,000 ft

    I was on the way from Fairbanks to Eagle. Chicken, Alaska got it's name because the folks that started the town couldn't spell ptarmigan (the Alaska state bird), so they named it Chicken instead.


    Even though it's only August, autumn is beginning in the interior of Alaska. I'm feeling the urge to head south.

    by Lael

  • 10:24
    111 mi
    10.6 mph
    11,450 ft
    9,875 ft

    I made it to Eagle on the Yukon River. Everything was closed due to COVID, but it was a wonderful rolling ride.


    I hit the river and turned back around to climb to the tundra to camp. The days are definitely getting shorter.

    by Lael

  • More Tours & Highlights

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    2,606 mi
  • Duration
    223:33 h
  • Elevation
    160,750 ft

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