Thursday, February 02, 2006


Date: Feb. 2
Mileage: 13.3
February mileage: 13.3
Temperature on departure: 0

So it's Groundhog Day. When I was a kid, I loved holidays. All of them. Not equally, of course, but I made it a point to savor every one. I never could wrap my head around Groundhog Day, however. Even as a kid who carefully planned my March 17 wardrobe so as to wear the most esoteric yet unarguably green attire, the Feb. 2 holiday always seemed so pointless to me.

But now, I don't know. After all, Groundhog Day is all about blind optimism in the face of unyeilding forces. Shadow or not, I don't think there's a person in Alaska who wouldn't love to believe that some semblance of spring will emerge before March 21. Of course, our hometown groundhog would have to burrow through about four feet of snow before peaking his little head out to the 0-degree, blowing blizzard outside. At that point, any pronouncement with the word "spring" wouldn't really qualify as optimistic - more like certifiably insane. That's probably why there aren't any groundhogs in Alaska.

We have a lot of snow. It's the cold, dry kind that makes for great traction when packed, but the trail riding is horrible. Impossible. Impossible in that you could maybe walk through it, if you had a pair of snowshoes and weren't pushing a 30-pound dead weight. Otherwise, you may as well just build an igloo and hunker down, because where are you going to go? Good thing they still plow the roads around here, so I can still ride. But the city never seems to plow my road until very last. It's a good thing my Geo Prism was a tank in his former life - busted right through nearly a foot of new powder this morning, bad clutch and all.

I actually had to cut my bicycle ride short today because I didn't dress thoughtfully enough and froze my toes on the early downhills. I got off my bike and walked for a while, but I couldn't get them to warm up much. Also, I've realized I don't have as much, um, "bladder capacity" when it's really cold out. So I turned around and rode back. I was going to do 30 more minutes on the trainer to get a solid two-hour ride, but when I came home, I discovered my road bike had a flat. How does a bike on a trainer get a flat? Those tires must have well over 2,000 miles on them, and this is the first flat they ever sustained. On a trainer. How undignified. Anyway, I was too lazy to repair two rear-wheel flats in two days, so I made a cup of hot chocolate instead. In the end, I guess I won.


  1. Hey Jill, check the rim strip on your road bikes rear wheel. It might have shifted and a spoke head could have punctured your tube.

  2. "At that point, any pronouncement with the word "spring" wouldn't really qualify as optimistic - more like certifiably insane. That's probably why there aren't any groundhogs in Alaska."

    Damn, I love this blog.

  3. happy ground hogs day..btw Phil did see his shadow so six more weeks of winter.

    george is right check the rim tape.

  4. I enjoy reading your posts even if I don't ride, Jill. I have a bike that is dusty. The only use it gets is when my daughters borrow it. :-)

    Don't freeze your toes off now! It's been cold so long, I am ready for spring. Like my granddaughter said while looking out the window (when she was about three) "I am so longing for spring (big sigh)."

    Beautiful, beautiful pictures from your rides. I love checking on your blog.

  5. Ground hog's day didn't mean much to me either... until one particular "first date" I had with a young lady in college. That was more than 20 years ago, and as it turns out... we're still married despite the my time on the road, at the gym, in the pool and on the trails. Perhaps its true... absence makes the heart fonder.

    Regardless, ground hog's day is strange which may be all the more reason to celebrate. It's sort of an anti-holiday. And for that... a good day for a ride, run or swim.

    Keep on keepin' on. -a.t.


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