Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Time trial(s)

Date: Jan. 25
Mileage: 16.0
January mileage: 387.3
Temperature upon departure: -2

I got some frustrating news at work today. So instead of heading to the gym as I had planned, I drove straight home and planted myself in front of my heater. I spent a healthy chunk of the evening comfort eating and trying to absorb the prospect of a bleaker future in which I spend more time locked in the cement box. At 8:00 the temperature had dropped solidly below zero so I thought - eh - why not head out for a ride.

I rode up to my usual trail, but it's still really soft. I didn't want to devastate the skiers with Kenda canyons through their pristine groomers, so I decided to try timing myself on a series of one-mile stretches - time trials.

I rode along the gravel road that parallels the trail, caked with snow and glazed with glare ice. I tore down the road on tires deflated to 25 psi (I did leave the house thinking I was going to do some snow riding), bouncing over mounds of snow and swerving through unexpected drifts. The night was so clear I could look up and see only the distant stars spattered across glowing galaxies of even more distant stars; I could look ahead and see the whitewashed landscape illuminated with all the distinction of day. Who says there's nothing to see at night?

The first mile I posted 3:40. Didn't seem all that fast, but what do I know about such things? After all, my legs were cranking about as fast as they're gonna through the subzero night (I'm starting to understand why my car spits out so much more exhaust when it gets cold.) Mile 2 was a bit slower - closer to 4 minutes, but I forgot to register the time before I turned around, so I didn't have an exact time. By mile 3, my odometer had frozen enough that I couldn't read the display very well. By mile 4, it was invisible.

On the end of mile 5, I passed a guy walking his dog. So I just continued down the road because I didn't want him to pass him again. After all, the random passerby might just assume I was bicycle commuting - an assumption that gives me the desirable quality of strength through necessity. However, if I buzzed past him two or three more times, he would start to realize that I was out there on purpose - tearing through the -2 degree night, not even going anywhere, just doing circles. And, well, that definitely qualifies me for the "crazy" label. "I don't care if you think I'm a loser. I just want you to think I'm sane."

12 comments:

  1. I can only speak for myself and I don't want to burst your bubble or anything but . . .

    you're one of THE CRAZIEST people I've ever read about in my whole life.

    CRAZY.

    CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY.

    But in a totally good way.

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  2. I certainly HOPE people think I'm crazy when I'm out riding in the cold. If they don't, I'd like to see more of them out on their bikes when it's cold instead of idling their gigantic SUV at a red light with only one person in it.

    Them thinking I'm crazy keeps me sane. Or at least less furious.

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  3. Crazy is donning a business suit, driving the same traffic-infested commute to a stuffy office, chain-smoking away the hours, and doing it again day after day after day. You’re not crazy; you’re a breath of fresh Alaskan air. Enjoy the ride!

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  4. I'd rather be crazy and fit than sane and fat.

    Keep it up.

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  5. Hey, man, intervals. I did some riding in the snow last night, and it was very difficult, so I don't think you have anything to be ashamed of when it comes to 'only' riding a snowy mile in 4 minutes. With all this speed training, you might be a competitor when race time comes, eh?

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  6. I'm impressed, Jill! I don't think you're crazy at all! You're just tough as heck!

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  7. Wow, with views like that I'm tempted to move up to Alaska.

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  8. The night was so clear I could look up and see only the distant stars spattered across glowing galaxies of even more distant stars; I could look ahead and see the whitewashed landscape illuminated with all the distinction of day. Who says there's nothing to see at night?

    Thanks for that

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  9. That's a great scene. Nice shot.

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  10. yeah, you GO! Wowee do I envy your lifestyle... (stuck here in sunny CA where it never, ever snows). Keep it up.

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  11. There's no fun in sanity. Hope the frustration resolves itself in time. Keep your chin up (and well protected from the elements)!

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  12. Just visiting some Alaska Blogs, checking them out and letting people know about my blog: Alaska Breaking News

    I am in Kenai and it's almost -30 below!


    Marc

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