Monday, November 28, 2005

Becoming frozen

A four-day weekend means putting in a long, long, long day on Monday. I had to dig into the archives today for an illustrative photo - this is the Kasilof River, shortly after the first deep freeze. There were nearly two more hours between sunrise and sunset when this picture was taken - we're down to just over six now. Life does slow considerably in the winter, and the dark and cold seems to spark a subculture of people affected by SAD, or "Snow Activity Disorder." In Idaho, almost no one I knew ever even heard of ice biking - the only one who had said, "well, that's one way to ruin your tires."

My group of friends in the spud state went skiing occasionally; the hardcore among them tried ice climbing once or twice, but most curled up in the winter and watched "Survivor." Even with the Tetons nearby, I never found anyone in eastern Idaho who felt any urge to break a winter trail in knee-deep powder in the dark, ride a bicycle on a snowmobile path or go snowboarding if temps were approaching something even close to single digits. There are so many more people in Alaska who treat all those activities with the same blase participation that one might compare to swimming in the summer. It's just what you do. It's fun. They've all learned that if you wait out the weather in Alaska, you won't see much more action than "Survivor" can give you.

Since I started this blog 'lo those four weeks ago, I've come across a surprisingly supportive community of bikers and bloggers in cyberspace. Seems there's a lot of us out there who pedal vicariously - me wistful for the searing sands of the San Rafael Swell, others curious about the frozen north. I wanted to thank Gilby and Mark for the props; Tim in Anchorage for being a great ice bike mentor; John for being tough enough to live in Fairbanks; and Filtersweep for introducing me the Norway, future site of my dream bicycle vacation; and all y'all who come to visit. Drop me a line and tell me where you're riding.