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Stage 485 – Sutton to King Ranch Airport

Here’s a stage that behaves itself for sixteen miles, then all hell breaks loose. When you’re sat in the pen looking at the profile, you’ll be dreading those five miles but they’re just par for the course of riding in the mountains of Alaska. This is a stage that starts at five hundred feet and finishes at nearly eighteen hundred. What’s also interesting is that it follows the Matanuska River upstream the whole way so by the finish you’ll have some idea of how fast the water must be flowing in the opposite direction on your right hand side.

The rollout from the eastern edge of Sutton skirts right along the water’s edge for three miles before taking a sweeping right/left combo of bends that follows the river as it meanders its way east, crossing the tributary of Kings River at four miles as it does so. Much of the reason for holding onto to the riverbank is because the mountains come right down to the water and the road basically has nowhere else to go.

There’s a short rise at five miles but it’s nothing more than a pimple. Back down the other side, the road rises a second time, albeit gently, to ten miles where another short rise kicks before it flattens out to twelve miles. All of this is merely the warmup act for what lies ahead. A second gently rising segment then takes the Glenn Highway to sixteen miles where the road crosses Chickaloon River at the point where it flows into the Matanuska.

As soon as the road crosses the Chickaloon Bridge, it all kicks off. The highway basically goes straight up the hill for a mile, gaining four hundred feet in the process. It then flattens out (ish) for a mile to eighteen miles as the road runs east high above the river, then at nineteen miles the climb kicks off again, adding a further three hundred feet of elevation before the finish: the finish is by far and away the highest elevation of the stage, having gained eight hundred feet in the five miles since the sixteen mile mark.

Distance: 21 miles / 34 kilometres

Ascent: 1608 feet / 490 metres

RGT Magic Road: 1teLewPW61hI

Total distance: 20.94 mi
Max elevation: 1775 ft
Min elevation: 533 ft
Total climbing: 1607 ft
Total descent: -354 ft

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