Thursday, July 20, 2006

Feelin' soggy

The stats

The truth

Date: July 19 and 20
Mileage: 14.3 and 24.1
July mileage: 470.2

The Soggy Bottom 100 is upon me.

This is the last race of my 2006 Alaska endurance trilogy. Time will tell as to whether it's a grand finale or "Scream III."

Single-track century. 11,000 feet of climbing. Technical stretches. Time cut-offs. Self supported. 40 percent chance of precipitation.

I've been trying to will myself strong ... as if self-fulfilling prophecy could make it so.

"It's only 106 miles. Traversing 40 miles of uninterrupted wilderness. With just myself and people who are expected to pedal a whole lot faster than me. How bad could it really be?"

The numbers are daunting, but when I step back from them, I'm surrounded by a new reality.

Self supported on wilderness singletrack - just me and my bike and some Power Bars ... a jingling bear bell ... maybe some Catherine Wheel pulsing through the iPod (don't judge me; I keep the volume low) - climbing until the lush spruce forest gives way to devils club meadows and alpine tundra, with its stark gray gravel sweeping down snow-streaked mountains. Bouncing through scattered rocks and dried mud pockmarked with bear tracks. Pounding that final pedal stroke over the crest before dropping into another tear-inducing descent.

The mileage will come on its own.

Hopefully.

Wish me luck.