Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I think I'm goin crazy

Date: July 3 and 4
Mileage: 14.4 and 32.6
July mileage: 103.7
Temperature upon departure: 62

This is a picture of me in 2003 - frou-frou pajama pants tucked into my socks, a ski jacket complete with dangling ski tags wrapped around my waist, struggling to keep my Trek 6500 vertical on smooth doubletrack (look - my eyes are closed and I'm about to go off the trail!). Sigh.

I still use that same stupid helmet, but in many other ways, I have made huge leaps and bounds in the sport of mountain biking in the past three years. I've never had much confidence in my technical skills, nor have I had any reason to have much confidence in my technical skills - but I really surprised myself with my maneuverability around the 24 hours of Kincaid loop. Today, before the fourth of July festivities began, I set out to test myself on the Homestead Trail singletrack. Four miles of roots, switchbacks, milkweed canyons so tall and narrow that I couldn't see the trail at all, grass that brushed my forehead, narrow planks over swamp, and enough blind curves to keep my butt cheeks nice and puckered during the entire hour I spent exploring out there. But I came out of the forest feeling full of Independence.

I also spent the better part of the morning reading up on the Great Divide Race, having just discovered that fellow blogger Cellarrat not only participated in this year's race, but also was the racer who had his bicycle tragically stolen mid-race. He's always had encouraging things to say about the silly stuff I do Up in Alaska, and connecting his name and face to the event has made it all the more real for me.

That's a bad thing.

Because, of course, I had to go and dig up a "before" picture. That might as well be a picture of me straddling a Huffy with training wheels or lugging around 100 extra pounds. Because I understand its context, it just screams to me, "look how far you've come."

And then I begin to wonder what I could do in three more years,
And then you'll be 30.

Given the time to train, research, purchase, prepare,
Why don't you get a haircut and get a real job?

Given more endurance events that will allow me to understand my limits,
And who didn't sign up for the Fireweed 200 because they thought it would be too far to drive?

And with every chainring stab and bloody knee, whittle away at my fragility
Doesn't matter; you're still a 'fraidy cat.

That maybe,
Not a chance

Just maybe,
Remember, you're the kid who never climbed the rope in gym.

I could ride the Great Divide.
Geez, you do one 24-hour race, and suddenly you think you're Trish Stevenson.

It's such a long shot.

But these dreams have a way of setting themselves in motion.