Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Gloom 'n doom

With eagle feeding in full swing out on the Spit, there's an eerily Hitchcockian feel out there - birds of prey peppered across the gray landscape, waiting out the silence with ominous glares. As for me, I've been feeling a little bit under the weather, in the more literal sense - as in oppressed by the weather. The local news is predicting lots of doom and gloom surrounding this week, which includes the Susitna 100. The Iron Dog snowmachine racers are tearing up the trails with as much force as they can muster in the soft snow. Several Yukon Quest dog mushers had to be airlifted off the trail after a storm (they're in a different part of the state, to be fair.) But still, weather.com calls for the delightful-sounding "wintry mix/wind" for Wasilla on Saturday, complete with a 35-degree high. I feel sad. I blame global warming.

There are some encouraging reports at the MTB Alaska forum. Although one rider mentioned renaming the race "Ididaswim," another reported riding out to the Susitna River earlier today on hard-packed trails with a light dusting of snow. Mmmmm. If it could only stay cold enough to remain that way.

But with Saturday fast approaching, I'm going to have to decide beforehand how far I'm willing to "swim" without quitting. I've decided that as long as I feel healthy and am not suffering beyond reason, I should have no reason to quit the race before the official cut-off time (48 hours. That's right.) I have the option of sleeping along the way. I'll have enough food to stuff a luau pig. And if there's one athletic talent that I have, it's plugging along - even when the going is insufferably slow. How long will it take me to swim 100 miles? I don't know. But I'm fairly certain I could walk 100 miles given 48 hours to do so. Not that I'm about to enter this race in the foot division.

Still, good reports are coming in. (Although I can't get the image out of my head of that random extra in "Cannibal, The Musical," walking past the miners chanting "Doomed. You're all doomed. Doomed. Dooooomed.") However, I shouldn't put my faith, good or bad, in the weather guessers. At least the U.S. snowboarders are tearing things up in the Olympic Winter Games. Until the IOC decides to install ice biking as an official winter sport, the knuckle draggers will always hold the softest spot in my heart. T minus four days, nine hours, 47 minutes and counting.


  1. Please keep posting after Saturday!!! Although I am not a cyclist I look forward every day to checking out your news from balmy southern England (45F today!). Your photos are wonderful - I visited Alaska in May/June 2002 and now I think I just have to see these snowy scenes for myself some day soon.

  2. Don't let the weather nazis get you down Jill. I am a firm believer that news weather people (whose names are usually some form of weather condition. . .)are scam artists who enjoy the suffering of others.

    They have this "wall of weather" and they take three tequila shots and throw a dart at the wall from a distance of 12 feet. Wherever the dart hits is the forecast for that day.

    I'd trust the word of the people who've been out there.

    Less than 4 days! Good luck!

  3. I think we should petition the IOC for an Ice Biking event in the winter games! What say we organize that? ::GRIN:: You are going to do great on the Susitna! I have it direct from a Gypsy fortuneteller!

  4. Jill if you can finish under the cut off time you should as long as you aren't risking serious injury. If you don't, you'll spend the next year thinking about how you could have finished. I'm sure you can do it! You don't have to be fast but just keep moving.

  5. Ummm Can you explain the term "eagle feeding" a bit, for us folks down in the 48? I mean, I can see the eagles, and they are INDEED sitting there waiting for something, but for what?

  6. Bald Eagles are the coolest! We get a lot of them in the St. Louis area too in the winter b/c they like to feed along the mighty Mississippi River.

  7. Ice-biking is such a sweet Winter Olympiad idea for an event. It's almost as good as curling.

    I don't mean that derisively--I like curling.


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