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Showing posts from 2006

2006 in reverse

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Date: 30
Total mileage: 21.0
December mileage: 476.1
Yearly mileage: 5,547.5

This year I resolve to see more beauty.

What's your New Year's Resolution?

Becoming rusty

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Date: Dec. 28 and 29
Total mileage: 57.0
December mileage: 455.1
Temperature upon departure: 38

I have to be honest. I'm struggling. Struggling with motivation. Struggling with a disparity of location ... when I lived in Homer, I didn't enjoy my job much, but at least I had a satisfying cycling hobby to fall back on. Now, I enjoy my job more, but ...

It's my weekend. I thought I'd take advantage of Geoff being away to put in some longer miles, but I do what I find tolerable. Yesterday, tolerable was about three hours. Today, with a daunting Wind Advisory extended to 9 p.m., I decided to head north. After about two miles I realized that there wasn't any point in pedaling - my gearing only goes so high, and the wind already was pushing me along at about 25 mph. That didn't bode well, but I decided it would be a great workout going home.

I had, simply, no idea what I was turning around to face. Hurricane-force blasts stole the breath right out of my throat, leaving me g…

Happiness is frozen and dry

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Date: Dec. 26 and 27
Total mileage: 43.0
December mileage: 398.1
Temperature upon departure: 26

Today, for the first time in the month of December, I had real, actual, nonfiltered sunlight in my eyes. For three beautiful miles around the north corner of Douglas Island, I actually had to squint as the unobstructed sun slid over the tips of the mountains. It was one of those famous partly sunny sinkholes that open up between the weeks and weeks of dripping gray. From these momentarily clear skies descends colder air ... refreezing the puddles, slush pots and soft snow. On days like today, I can go for a two-hour ride wearing a single layer on my legs and just two on my upper body and feel toasty warm. And I'm so excited about being dry, the pedaling doesn't even feel like work.

I finally sent in a check for the Susitna 100 this afternoon. I know I decided to do it a couple of weeks ago, but this is really the point of no return (which is why I put it off until the end of the month.) …

White Christmas

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Date: Dec. 24
Mileage: 13.0
December mileage: 355.1
Temperature upon departure: 36

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. I enjoyed two of the 24 Hours of "A Christmas Story" on TBS with friends, and ate two wonderful turkey dinners. When I say wonderful turkey dinners, I mean I pretty much just ate turkey and cranberry sauce (and some cocktail shrimp and cheesecake.) I don't mean to disparage my hosts' cooking, but I adore turkey and tend to think of potatoes and stuffing as lesser filler. And when there's tons of it available, I wait until the line has moved through and people are focused on their own food; then I protein-load with a big pile of white meat. I love the holidays.

I went for a short ride before work yesterday. I didn't really enjoy it. To be honest, I haven't enjoyed biking much for a couple of weeks now. I usually look back on it fondly after the ride, when the blood is starting to return to my extremities, bringing with it that oh-so-satisf…

Cyclist, frustrated

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Date: Dec. 23
Mileage: 17.0
December mileage: 342.1
Temperature upon departure: 33

Today I went for a short ride. Words have not been invented to describe the unpleasantness of it.

Sleet is a word I might use, but it doesn't exactly do justice to the ice daggers that tore through the air, piercing exposed skin like millions of hot needles.

Windy is a word I might use, but it doesn't really describe the terror of leaning my bicycle 20 degrees this side of vertical as 55 mph crosswinds threatened to toss me off a 100-foot bridge without warning.

Slippery is a word I might use, but it in no way conveys the oil-slick sludge gushing down the pavement, giving my tires traction equal to that of an aluminum saucer and turning my single rear disc brake into an icy grip of death.

Wet is a word I might use, but it doesn't explain how, despite wearing the equivalent of a garbage bag suit, I still had to wring out my underwear after an 80-minute-long ride.

Cold is a word I might use, but the mi…

One way to make a short day long

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Date: Dec. 21
Mileage: 60.0
December mileage: 325.1
Temperature upon departure: 32

Today at 3:22 p.m., the northern hemisphere titled as far away from the sun as it's going to get, officially kicking off the winter season. At that time, I was standing beneath a spray of lukewarm water in the shower, wondering how much counseling it would take to get this self abuse out of my system.

I made (mostly) good on my plan to spend the daylight hours of winter solstice riding. It took longer than planned to get Snaux bike up to snuff, but I was out the door by 9:30 a.m. There was about an inch of new snow and it was building fast. I had to wipe off my goggles every two minutes. It was as wet as precipitation can be and still qualify as white stuff - slippery, slow, and cleverly camouflaging the slew of slush puddles left over from yesterday. Snaux bike doesn't have fenders. I was soaked by 9:45.

From there, the blizzard continued for most of the morning. I rode to the end of North Douglas Is…

SAD ride

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Date: Dec. 20
Mileage: 15.0
December mileage: 265.1
Temperature upon departure: 36

I’m beginning to think Geoff has just about had enough of Juneau. It’s strange, because we have so many things going for us here: Three times the annual rainfall of Seattle; more days of 40-mph-plus winds than Chicago; constant temperatures in the 30s from March to February. And no roads out! Clearly, he’s just not looking on the bright side.

That said, it has been a rough month - and isn’t looking to become any better. I haven’t seen the sun since Utah, going on three weeks now. The daylight has whittled itself down to about six hours - and even those hours are only marginally brighter than pitch black. The continuous precipitation has been mostly wet snow and sleet - some rain - and the wet weather creates conditions that make it impossible to keep all parts of the body warm while cycling. IMPOSSIBLE. I am especially having a hard time with my butt cheeks. (Which doesn’t make any sense since my backside is…

Get a life

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Date: Dec. 18
Mileage: 25.0
December mileage: 250.1
Temperature upon departure: 35

Geoff chided me tonight for making snap judgments and prejudicial statements based on an unfair assessment in yesterday's "Nordic Nazi" post. I was just letting off steam and it is my blog, but I am sorry if I offended anybody. That said, I'm a little disappointed that no outraged skiers shot me an insult-laced comment or two.

The other night, we watched a hilarious documentary called "Spellbound," which follows the ups and downs of eight young spelling champions as they prepare for the National Spelling Bee. At one point, the filmmaker asks one of the 13-year-old prodigies if she has any hobbies besides spelling. She gazes at the camera thoughtfully and says, "Well, I like to ride roller-coasters." She stops and thinks a little more. "I'm a vegetarian and I like to drink coffee."

I thought more about this girl - I think her name is April - today while tryin…

Nordic Nazi

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RANT ADVISORY: Anyone who considers themselves an avid cross-country skier should probably just skip this post.

This morning, I agreed to go cross-country skiing with friends up at Eaglecrest, a (shudder) groomed loop near the downhill ski resort. I have probably been skiing too many times this week for my liking; I was grumpy and a little undercaffinated; and I took a nasty fall while walking across the parking lot, which left my knee swollen and bruised. In every way, I was not off to a good start.

After a long weekend of partying, my friends were somewhat grumpy themselves, and the general environment of parka-piercing winds and sticky snow put us all in a surly mood. So we stomped our way over the trail, collecting clumps of snow under our skis and trying to shake it loose. This created a lot of awkward downhill moments when one leg was sliding and the other was sticking. I was skiing in this one-legged position down the set tracks when I came around a corner and met an oncoming ski…

Get in mah belly

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Date: Dec. 15 and 16
Total mileage: 35.1
December mileage: 225.1
Temperature upon departure: 26

I always read with great amusement other cyclists' accounts of mid-ride hunger attacks - knocking on a stranger's door to ask for crackers, pocketing Snickers bars at a gas station or fashioning a bicycle pump into a weapon and using it to hold up the nearest McDonalds. These stories have novelty for me because I don't suffer from this problem. If anything, I suffer from the exact opposite. I have mid-exercise food aversion. As long as my heart's pumping, the thought of digestion repulses me. Once, while sitting near the top of Kings Peak in Utah, Geoff actually force-fed me a cheese sandwich after I had spent the entire day refusing to eat breakfast, lunch or snacks. To be fair, we were huddled under a rock during a lightning storm, and I didn't think I was going to survive long enough to require energy for the hike down.

If a bike ride is long enough, I will (usually) force…

Ski by day, ride by Northern Lights

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Date: Dec. 14
Mileage: 25.0
December mileage: 190.1
Temperature upon departure: 30

The afternoon is for skiing at Eagle Beach. The thick crust of old snow holds the sticks to the newly-dusted track, so all there is to do is stab, glide, stab glide, stab. The movement becomes a little tedious after three 2.5-mile loops around a state park, even as distant storms bleed splashes of black over the sky. Geoff seems to think otherwise, especially when he has finally found the perfect wax combination for his Rossignol classics. I ride some No-wax No-names, at about half the speed, and I consider it a triumph if I do not fall flat on my back (Atop a snowshoe-stomped ice patch, I was not so victorious today.)But we move and glide, taste the sweet rot of birch leaves that have somehow escaped the suffocation of snow, and I guess there are Zen moments in here somewhere, somewhere between the boredom and the terror.

We head home in the 2:30 p.m. twilight, and by 3:45 the sky is dark quilt of clouds p…

Caught tagging

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Date: Dec. 12
Mileage: 18.0
December mileage: 165.1
Temperature upon departure: 34

I spend a lot of time blogging, but nearly as much as I'd like (And I realize that's as ridiculous as saying "I don't watch as much TV as I should.") So usually I miss out when people "tag" me. ("Tagging" happens when bloggers ply each other with requests for inane information in a joint effort to fill up the slower days). Since I had a fairly uneventful ride this morning, I'm going to indulge in my first "tag:" Six random and mildly interesting things you may not already know about me:

1. My favorite (solid) food is cold cereal. Any kind. It’s true.

2. I am a job hopper. Since 1995, I have worked as a piano tutor, a Wendy’s front line slave (we were sandwich artists before sandwich artists were cool), a grocery bagger, a bagel baker, a 1-hour photo processor, a retail lackey, a custom framer, a reporter, an editorial cartoonist, a graphic artist, a comm…

Snaux bike's first snow ride

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Date: Dec. 9 and 10
Total mileage: 31.0
December mileage: 147.1
Temperature upon departure: 32

Just a few blocks from my house is the Dan Moller Trail, a high-traffic route that winds its way about 4 miles up to a backcountry cabin. It's a decent climb and the trail is washboarded by heavy snowmobile use (both not the most ideal conditions for a snow bike). But it is well-traveled and will probably be one of the most consistently rideable trails throughout the winter. And, like I said, it begins only a few blocks from my house. Perfect.

Snow conditions today were about crappy as they get. All of the rain that fell last week is still seeping through the rotten snow, which is too warm to refreeze. So the trail is covered with grayish mush the consistency of a Slurpee, stirred up by snowmobile tracks. Riding on this stuff is sort of like a race against quicksand, where steering consists solely of trying to keep the front tire ahead of the fishtailing back tire. Where you end up - that'…

Susitna Dreams II

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Date: Dec. 8
Total mileage: 21.1
December mileage: 116.1
Temperature upon departure: 39

Geoff and I rode out to the local bike shop to collect the finishing touches (for now) for the Snaux bike ... three silver spacers for the fork. With the headset mounted, I took it out for its maiden voyage up and down the slush-covered street in front of my house. It shifted really smooth, and it had great control through the slush piles despite its 2.2" tires pumped up to 35 or 40 psi .(It may just be all in my head, but I really think the extra surface area of those Snowcat rims will make a world of difference. And even if it is in my head, who cares? I'm steering better, ain't I?)
Plus, the bike is really comfortable. It's hard to describe. And I admittedly didn't ride it very far. But it felt like a beach cruiser ... just kick back, relax and enjoy the ride. If this early assessment holds true, it's a pleasant surprise. That's exactly what I want in Snaux bike ... I wan…

Rain ride, noon to dusk

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Date: Dec. 7
Total mileage: 40.0
December mileage: 95.0
Temperature upon departure: 37

I left my house a little after noon today and rode until it was dark enough to necessitate the use of red blinky. That isn't as long as you'd think. It's well shy of 3 p.m. these days.

Of course, I didn't see the sun actually set because it rained, continuously, over the entire ride. This picture that I posted today is an old picture. There was no semblance of sunset or sunrise today, and those beautiful piles of snow are quickly becoming a memory amid the sagging snowmen and smoke-colored slush streaming down the streets. The clouds hung low enough that thick fog enveloped the tips of even the shallowest hills. And I tried everything - and I mean everything I have in my clothing arsenal, shy of a plastic garbage bag - to stay dry, and I still got soaked. First I felt the rain dripping down my waterproof pants. It cascaded over the gators I had cinched as tight as they'd go. Then it b…

Almost done

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Date: Dec. 5
Total mileage: 23.0
December mileage: 55.0
Temperature upon departure: 36

I am ... or more accurately, Geoff is ... putting the finishing touches on “Juno’s one and only snaux bike” (Carlos’ words, not mine. I think the ‘snaux’ spelling of snow is a dig on the faux way it imitates better bikes such as the FatBike, and the term ‘one and only’ is a dig on the warm and rainy region of Alaska in which I live.) All it needs now is a headset, which is on its way from Singapore. It also has a few things I intend to replace: the fork, because it can’t support disc brakes as it is now (and V-brakes won’t clear the snowcat rims) and the tires, which are currently my 2.2” summer MTB tires, but which I intend to replace with 2.75” mega downhill tires. The new tires will barely (if at all) fit the frame - but if they do, they will be oh-so-floatatious.

I have not ridden the bike yet, but I feel very optimistic about its future. Geoff built it while I was in Utah. While I acknowledge that t…

Rain delay

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Date: Dec. 4
Total mileage: 22.0
November mileage: 22.0
Temperature upon departure: 34

Today a warm front settled in, bringing with it the snowpack-decimating rain that drips like acid from an electric blue-gray sky.

It was a sad state for a ride, but I still felt happy to get out. It was a shower of slush and enough ingested road salt to replace any electrolyte drink, but my legs felt strong and my lungs were happy to be back in the humid, sea-level atmosphere again.

I took the above picture yesterday while Geoff and I were skiing along the campground trails. I am getting better on skis. I don't really hate skiing. In fact, it is kind of fun in a simultaneously relaxing and frustrating way. And I stopped to visit my first Juneau home, camp site No. 5:

And as bad as those first two weeks were, I have to say, I'm lucky I moved to Juneau in August and not December.

I am giving myself until Friday to make a definite and binding decision on the Susitna 100. There are a lot of people who c…

Should I do it?

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I was crunching some numbers today when I stumbled across a page on the Susitna 100 Web site that I have never seen before, the 2006 Photo Gallery, and discovered what I believe is the only picture taken of me during the entire Feb. 18 race (thanks to Mike Schoder). The number I was crunching was the approximate cost for me to do the upcoming race, on Feb. 17, 2007. Money is the excuse I've been using for my indecisiveness, but the truth is I've been hedging on this far too long.

It's already Dec. 3. And so I must decide.

"It would be cool," I'd say to Geoff. "But would it be $700 cool? Or $800 cool?"

But secretly, I'd be thinking to myself: "Would it be buy a new sleeping bag and bivy sack cool? Take three or four days off of work cool? Fly out to Anchorage in the middle of February cool? Spend the next three months forcing myself on increasingly lengthy, sleet-drenched, Taku-wind-blasted bicycle rides cool? Plod through the sleep deprived ph…

Made it back. Mostly.

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Date: Nov. 30
Total mileage: 28.0
November mileage: 279.9
Temperature upon departure: 18

(Today's photo is a picture of Spaulding Meadow as captured by Geoff on Thanksgiving Day. Of all the things I actually remembered to bring back from Utah, my camera was not one of them.)

I was sitting in an immobile plane at the Ketchikan airport, staring at the blizzard-obscured city across the channel and wondering just when my move to Southeastern Alaska went wrong.

Maybe it was the lady from Kenai who sat in the seat in front of me, jabbering joyfully about her epic flight from Anchorage to Seattle to Ketchikan, all in a so-far foiled effort to make it to Juneau. "I just know we're going to end up back in Anchorage," she laughed. "I hope you know people there because this airline (Alaska Air) knows better than to give people hotel comps."

Maybe it was my sinus infection and the unbearable pressure that only seemed to increase in intensity as we sat at sea level - a sensati…

Cold in Utah

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Date: Nov. 29
Total mileage: 24.0
November mileage: 251.9
Temperature upon departure: 15

Seems like it's cold everywhere. Just when I was lamenting the way the sunny tropicalness of my Utah vacation has been cut short, I checked out the West Juneau Weather Station to discover a record low of -12 last night and about 15" of snowfall today. Yikes.

Plus, I have a cold. It has been lurking all week and I have been generally ignoring it. But all this dry air and elevation finally caught up to me today when the mercury dropped into the teens before noon. I set out for a two-hour ride that I had all mapped out in my head before I left. I popped in a cough drop and headed up Wasatch Boulevard on my friend's midget mountain bike (I believe it has a 15" frame.) I was only about 10 minutes into the real meat of the climb before I started wheezing. "This is insane," I thought. "I haven't been doing much riding, but I shouldn't be this out of shape." I cut …

Other stuff to do in snow

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Today was a day to help teach my youngest sister how to snowboard and steal a few gleeful powder runs in the extra space of a resort day, the space that I usually reserve for eating lunch and going to the bathroom. My two sisters and I decided a week ago that snowboarding at Brighton would be the perfect sisterly outing, and somehow we picked the perfect day to do it (if your idea of "perfect" is a near-whiteout and 15-degree temps.) But what we did have was plenty of famous Utah snow - piles and piles of crisp, dry powder so indistinguishable from the blizzard-stricken terrain that I would occasionally blast through mounds as high as my waist, emerging from the swirling cloud of ice jolted but not slowed. I took a few swims, but the snow was so light and airy that it was easy to stay afloat, skimming the silent surface on my rental hovercraft. Even my newbie sister got the hang of it early on, and a good time was had by all.

It's days like these that cause me to take sto…

Pictures of Zion

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I took a trip to the desert.

My parents first brought me here when I was just a small child.

I have spent many miles of the many years since trekking the length and depth of this land.

And still it awes and confuses me.

Most people know that "Zion" indicates a promised land, but don't know that the word "Kolob" indicates the place closest to heaven.

I believe everyone chooses their own heaven.

I already have mine picked out.

Gone home

Date: Nov. 25
Total mileage: 15.0
November mileage: 227.9
Temperature upon departure: 42

One of my favorite authors, Thomas Wolf, is given credit for coining the phrase "You can't go home again." I think about it every time I come home to Utah, when I struggle with the cognitive dissonance caused by the fact that I can, and all too easily.

I think this actually happens to a lot of people, because those who thrive on change can find the things that don't change slightly unnerving. So when I go to my grandparents' house on Thanksgiving Day, with the same early 70s cottage wallpaper I have always looked at, and the same mashed potatoes in the same bowl on the same table, and the same picture of me at 16 years old on the wall, and suddenly one of my cousins walks in and she's 10 years older than I remember her being, well ... it feels like ... unraveling.

But this is Thanksgiving for me. I easily become unraveled when the life that's my life now and the life that w…

Time for a vacation

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Date: Nov. 21
Total mileage: 15.0
November mileage: 212.9
Temperature upon departure: 18

This seems to happen every year. The onslaught of winter arrives hard and fast. I have a minor freak-out and do something nutty like buy tire chains or decry the beautiful barrage of snow. There’s a short period of confusion when I wonder how in the world I ever learned to steer in powder or spend less than 30 minutes dressing to go out. And then suddenly, without even focusing, everything becomes clear. Images of green leaves and flowing water fade into the recesses of my memory, and the monochrome world in which I move becomes a place of beauty and ease. I throw the tire chains in the trunk, slap on random pieces of clothing, and go for a bike ride.

I’m finally completely comfortable with winter. So it’s a bit funny that I’d pick this time of year to take a vacation home. No self-respecting Alaskan heads south at the beginning of winter. But it is Thanksgiving, which is at least a semi-legitimate hol…

I stop being such a wimp

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Date: Nov. 20
Total mileage: 36.0
November mileage: 197.9
Temperature upon departure: 19

The first rays of the 8 a.m. sunrise nearly filter through a mass of featureless gray that has become the sky; it's nearly cold enough to ensure hardpack and it hasn't snowed in nearly four hours, so it seems like a good morning to ride.

I swerve across the unplowed street as my gray-faced neighbors dig through mountains of snow. Some are looking for their newspapers, some for their cars, some for their kids. Most regard me with surly grimaces, but the few smiles I see are like a shot of Red Bull. It is early, and Monday at that. I head north beyond the idling garbage trucks, the hulking snow plows, chained-up tow trucks and the cars they're pulling out of ditches. After eight miles, I'm far enough north to be almost completely alone.

Blocks of ice and chunky snow keep me on my toes, but I ride as hard and as fast as the drifts will let me because the cold sweat against my skin feels goo…

Uncle! Uncle!

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Sunday: Snow...Heavy at Times...Windy. Snow accumulation of 12 to 19 inches. Highs around 32. East wind to 25 mph with gusts to 45 mph. Decreasing to 20 mph in the afternoon. Chance of snow 90 percent.(courtesy of National Weather Service)

OK, winter. Good joke. We're all laughing. 45 inches of snow? In a week? In Juneau? We thought it was pretty funny. We broke out the moldy snow shovels and rusted-out plows and all had a hearty chuckle about how you got us pretty good. So why are you still here, lingering, threatening a seemingly unending barrage of snow? I say, winter, there's no need to be a bully. Enough is enough.

Don't get me wrong. I'm on your side. A "winter" person through and through. I can do snow anyway you send it - love the powder for snowboarding; love the wet stuff for snowshoing; love the crusty, icy stuff for snowbiking. But in all things, moderation. Sinking up to my thighs and becoming stuck in wet concrete snow, spinning out on newly plowe…

Monochrome

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Isn't it interesting how uncannily black and white this picture looks? It's not. I uploaded the photo in its raw capacity, with no special camera settings and no photo editing software to speak of. This is how my camera saw the world this afternoon. The more I scrutinize it, the less color I see. Sometimes life is like that.

Four hours of cross-country skiing today - most of it on unbroken trail through deep snow - was extremely hard. I emphasize the superfluous adverb I can go out and ride a bicycle or hike for four hours like it's a pleasant walk in the park, but for some reason that much skiing has me scanning the snow for a final resting place. It doesn't make much sense because I was never working hard enough to even break a sweat. I may have used more upper back muscles than I'm used to, but I'm not sore now. So what gives? Why does skiing cause so much fatigue? I thought maybe I just had low blood sugar, but I don't know. I joke about this alot, but m…

This is just the backyard

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I haven't attempted to ride my bike at all in the past few days. I have a hard enough time walking when I go outside. The district closed school both yesterday and today (which I think is a bit wimpy for a measly two feet of snow.) Still ... they told me it never snows in Juneau. They told me it would be ice and rain all winter long. I know I've only lived here three months, but, looking out my window over my whitewashed backyard, I think it does snow in Juneau. Maybe even often. So I have to wonder ... what does this winter hold in store for me?

I finally took my car in to have the studded tires installed today. I always procrastinate things until they become not only an annoying but also inconvenient chore, so I was more than a little irked when a walk-in showed up five minutes before me and stole my 11 a.m. slot. But my conversation with her was an excellent example of how I think so much more like a cyclist these days.

She told me that her studs were already on rims, and she…

Cat blog

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A few days ago, a commenter asked me about the status of my transient cat, who joined me in Juneau about a month after I moved here. I just wanted to report that the cat who hates to travel (and I mean really hates to travel), and who has lived with me in four different houses across a span of states more than 3,000 miles apart, appears to be happy at home.

It’s kind of a funny story how I ended up with this cat. I’m not a typical pet owner and never really set out to become one. I was living in a little studio apartment by myself in a quiet little town called Tooele, Utah. Geoff and I had spent the day mountain biking in the Stansbury Mountains, and we were unloading a slew of bike gear when this little cream-colored furball streaked into the kitchen through the open door. She had a dirt patch on her face and looked so small and frail that I felt compelled to rifle through my cupboard until I found a can of tuna.

“Don’t feed it if you don’t want a cat,” Geoff said.

“It’ll just be this o…

Big snow

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Date: Nov. 13
Total mileage: 10
November mileage: 161.9
Temperature upon departure: 27

A storm moved in today that has so far dumped more than a foot of snow. It could dump another foot before the clouds move on. That’s great weather for weaving a fleece-blanket cocoon, curling around two cozy cats, and soaking up steam from a big cup of hot chocolate. It’s also good weather for biking.

We went out for a ride this morning when the storm totals were closer to 4" - enough to send cars swerving all over the roads, but not enough to bog down the bike paths to the point of walking. It's a fun adventure to go out for a ride when the snow is coming down that hard. Familiar scenery disappears behind a veil of white static. And during rare breaks in traffic, with metal-tipped tires disappearing beneath soft powder, the silence is nearly absolute. I, of course, forgot my googles, so I spent most of the ride focused on abstract tracks in the snow.

Every single flight in and out of Juneau was …

Veterans Day 8K

About twice a year, I go for a run. That's enough for me.

On a fluke this morning, Geoff and I entered the Southeast Roadrunners Veterans Day 8K race. I never quite know what to expect at these organized events. But when we showed up at the starting line 10 minutes before the race began, I think I expected to find a little more than two race organizers and about 13 other racers huddled beneath a tiny blue booth.

At 10 a.m., the small group was off, pounding the snow-packed path beneath eye-stinging flurries of snow. I watched the runners disappear behind the first bend, and just like that, I was all alone.

So I continued through the icy forest, thoroughly enjoying my iPod mix and thinking that I probably could run faster than 7 mph - but why kill myself? At mile 2, Geoff passed me hot on the trail of some young guy, followed by the only other woman I saw in the race, a few more men, a couple of old guys and finally, a 9-year-old boy. Then I was alone again and knew I would be for the…

Improbable

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Date: Nov. 7
Total mileage: 18.8
November mileage: 151.9
Temperature upon departure: 39

Geoff and I made plans with friends to go cross-country skiing in the afternoon, so of course I went for a bike ride in the morning so I could actually do something fun with my day.

Not that I hate cross-country skiing - entirely. It's just something that I have spent a year trying to learn, without the benefit of any gained skill. And it's hard to willfully to do something that involves spending half the day at varying levels of out-of-control, usually preceded by horror and followed by pain. But I go and I try to be a good sport, even when the little voices in my head remind me how much easier it would be to just ditch the useless sticks and walk.

We started out at EagleCrest, crossing a muskeg bog and weaving through the forest. I don't remember exactly how many times I fell (and for reasons I'll later explain, I thought a lot about it later in the evening.) But it was quite a lot. One…