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.


  1. hi jill
    my name is mandi. i've been reading your blog since back in january. This winter you made me get out and ride when i THOUGHT the weather was just too bad. Thank you for this blog. I am a back of the pack pro mountain bike racer from west virginia who is sponsored by vicious cycles from new paltz new york. recently really getting into the endurance stuff my self. also following the great divide race every day. my husband and i have high hopes of that race someday. i'm sure you will hear more from me in the future since i finally introduced myself. you can meet my husband and i at

  2. Go for it. You only regret the things you didn't do.

  3. Ggggrrrrrllll, go get it. The GDR sounds so awesome...I read all about cellarat, too. What a great guy. A real shame that someone took his bike mid-race.

    Anywho...go after what you want. You only go around once!

  4. Jill, just try it. Even if you don't make it, you'll be better off for trying. I was 17 when I got into this sport. By the time I was 18 I was racing George Hincapie. I am so happy I threw everything I had into racing. I wanted to be a national class rider, but wasn't sure of it. Turns out I was. Don't die wondering, girl. And about that turning 30, ummm, I just turned 34 and am finally regaining the form and strength I had 10 years ago. Age is nothing.

  5. Holy smokes!! Ridealotwv rides for a shop just over Minnewaska mountain from where I used to live!! I rode through New Paltz all the time until I moved a month ago. Small world...

  6. Dream Big.... Don't let the speed bumps get yah if they do find a way around them.

    It's cool to see how far you have gone. Who knows mabe in a few you can beat trish's record or just ride the gdr or Idtibike or whatever... Just don't put limits on yourself.

    Take care

  7. I say go for it, Jill! The unexplored life is boring! If you don't try, you will never know.

  8. It's too hard. You will never make it.
    (I just wanted to say something different!)

    ; ) (this is punctuation used to display emotion or sarcasm). I learned about it on the internet.

  9. I'll bet you could never have seen yourself in Alaska, either, huh? And now, here you are. It's always so weird to look back on where you've come from ... but it's even weirder to imagine where you're going ...

  10. GDR is a challenge obviously (clenched buttcheeks and such), but it seems to be well within your reach. You might as well do it, unless you have something better to do at that time next year.

  11. Age is nothing.

    Nay -- age is wisdom + opportunity!


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