First of all, I'm sure you've visited the Artic Bicycle Club's website. The have past results posted that will give you a feel for the field at the average race. Some are larger than others.
As for the rides, I usually bike commute on the coastal trail (end to end plus a few miles), and at the times I ride (very early in the morning) there is almost nobody on the trail. The bike trail next to the Glenn Hwy between Muldoon and Eagle River is sparsely populated most days. Indian to Girdwood is a nice ride. Otherwise, I ride on the road- sometimes on the courses laid out on the ABC website. The muni Parks and Rec dept has a page with all of the bike paths and routes on an interactive map.
I won't be riding until mid-April, but a lot of guys do it all year. Check out the AK Spokes forum for that group. A lot of roadies ride fat tire bikes in the winter.
Me? I'm spinning and working on core strength and flexibility,
I began cycling during the 'Lance phase' when I lived in Anchorage in 2002. Moved away in 2005. I rode outdoors from late March when the greenways were pretty much free of snow and usually could fit in outdoor rides until October, though some were cold. The hardest part about riding in Anchorage, or Alaska in general, I found, was not being able to get in decent mileage. I could usually only ride 4-5 times per week, but quickly became very bored with the same short routes repeated over and over and over (you get the picture). Rarely did I get in 100K rides. After moving to NC, I ride all year long outdoors and ride at least 5-6 100K rides per month. Big difference. Never raced in Anchorage as I was only a beginner then. I did watch some of them. No disrespect to anyone up north, but the racing down here in the southeast is pretty intense and I doubt a Cat 2 racer would survive in a Cat 3 race here.
A lot of the best riders I've talked to usually crosstrain with some other sport, like crosscountry skiing or another activity that is appropriate for the conditions. They still put in the trainer hours, but they don't limit themselves. There's too much to do in the winter to stay inside spinning in place. Either get a snow bike or find a winter hobby.
A forum community dedicated to Road Bike owners and enthusiasts. Come join the discussion about bike parts, components, deals, performance, modifications, classifieds, troubleshooting, maintenance, and more!