Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Love and support

Date: Feb. 22
Mileage: 17.8
February mileage: 371.8
Temperature upon departure: 25

First "after the storm" ride today. I didn't ride much differently than I would have before Saturday - in fact, I rode a little harder because I was thrilled to see patches of bare pavement on Skyline Drive (although the majority of my ride was still atop packed ice.) I noticed I had a lot of lactic acid buildup in my legs early on - probably because my muscles are still fatigued. But some good, hard gulps of subfreezing air felt good (how I missed that air on Saturday. Really.)

One thing I didn't quite realize the extent of was the mayhem caused by the Susitna 100 Web site's failure to post my finishing time until several hours after I came in. I was back in Palmer, showered, fed and semi-rested before I called my mom - who by that time was semi-frantic. Later, I found out friends of mine in Utah had been watching my progress with some trepidation - enough put in phone calls to any race official whose number they could track down. Geoff's mom was worried. My co-workers were anxious. Even fellow bloggers Tim, Old Bag and Velocipete, who were making good on their promise to kick back with some snacks and a roaring fire and cheer me on, were posting notes of concern. And you know, that feels really good. It's nice to know that, if I was lying out on the tundra with my face in the snow, that there are people out there who would call on the search and rescue party.

When I set out on this journey, I had no idea such a great and extensive support network would rally behind me. Before the race, I received dozens of "good luck" e-mails, some from old acquaintances who I didn't think even knew I was living in Alaska. My boss greeted me upon my return with a huge basket of Pepsi, Goldfish and cereal. People from all over the world dropped in comments. Out on the trail, we may have to battle our inner demons alone, but the knowledge that others care is a powerful ammunition.

Speaking of, I never posted my "Ride all the way to the Susitna 100" fundraising results. With the help of more than 25 kind sponsors, I was able to raise $438, and ride more than 1200 "arctic" miles in the process. After I hit my original goal, the race entry fee, I still saw $213 in support - which means $107 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation, and the other $106 easily covered the cost of transportation and food (I even splurged on the turkey jerky.) Which means I did this entire race on the love and support of family, friends, cyclists and the blogging community at large. I don't even know how to begin to say thank you, but I'm open to suggestions.