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.