Date: Feb. 14
February mileage: 238.8
Temperature on departure: 37
Yup. It took two and a half months, but I've finally collected and compiled the gear I need for the Susitna race. Today I loaded most of it on my bike (a bit haphazard, but daylight was a-fadin') and went out for a short ride. Including water and other gear I plan to hoist in my Camelbak H.A.W.G., the total addition is about 20-25 pounds. And you know what? I got better traction today.
I also whipped down the hills. And climbs? Well, I'm a slow climber anyway. I probably should have added the weight to my workouts before now, but I don't anticipate the gear making or breaking me. At this point, any semblance of good trail and weather conditions would have me so stoked I could probably set out on a loaded touring bike and be fine. Well, maybe not fine. But if I could just finish the race with a smile on my face, I'll chalk it up as "probably the best one I've ever done." (I know - I have to stop with the Napoleanisms.)
Oh yeah. I nearly forgot that today is the V-day-that-must-not-be-named. Not that I'm one of those people that marches for Single Awareness Day. In fact, Feb. 14 is tied to several of my more memorable anniversaries. Today I realized (because this is the kind of stuff I think about when I'm riding my bike) that it's been 10 years since my first kiss (not exactly the first, but the first one that meant anything to me, so I quickly disregarded the rest.) It was a classic moment of teenage angst: Valentine's date ... sitting shotgun in some beat-up old Buick ... idling loudly ... eyes locked on the windshield ... streams of melted snowflakes slithering down the glass ... sinking into the congested silence ... paralyzed and unable to look this boy in the eyes because I knew, just knew, it was coming.
But what really stands out about the memory is the Red Hot Chili Peppers playing softly through crackling speakers. I ran out to Tom Tom's Music the next day to purchase the "Soul to Squeeze" single for prosterity. And now, here I am, 10 years into a strange future, singing to myself as I pedal across the snow.
"Where I go I just don't know
I got to, got to, gotta take it slow
When I find my peace of mind
I'm gonna give you some of my good time."
T minus three days, 12 hours, 55 minutes and counting.