Into the North Wind: A thousand-mile bicycle adventure across frozen Alaska

Written by Jill Homer

“Into the North Wind” chronicles Jill Homer’s record-breaking bicycle ride across Alaska on the Iditarod Trail. Jill is one of those “accidental athletes” who stumbled into endurance racing shortly after she moved to Alaska in 2005. After a hundred miles, her first race only scratched the surface of the historic trail that spans a vast and frozen wilderness. Ever since, she dreamed about the chiming of ice crystals at thirty below zero, black spruce shadows in the moonlight, the ethereal dance of the Northern Lights, and a journey that could take her deeper into this transcendental world — the thousand-mile race to Nome.

After ten years of dreaming, she finally made the leap in 2016. Fitness, however, remained elusive as ambitious preparations left a wake of failures, sickness and injury. Even the existence of the trail remained in question — throughout the winter, Alaska experienced unprecedented heat waves and snow melt that threatened to render the Iditarod Trail impassable. By the time Jill lined up at the start, she was ready to chuck her dream into the barely-frozen lake.

Instead, she pedaled across waterlogged ice, repeating her mantra of “one day at a time.” This account is not just a story about seeking beauty, overcoming setbacks and uncovering hidden strength — it’s a journey into the benevolent heart of the coldest, loneliest trail.

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