Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Cold in Utah

Date: Nov. 29
Total mileage: 24.0
November mileage: 251.9
Temperature upon departure: 15

Seems like it's cold everywhere. Just when I was lamenting the way the sunny tropicalness of my Utah vacation has been cut short, I checked out the West Juneau Weather Station to discover a record low of -12 last night and about 15" of snowfall today. Yikes.

Plus, I have a cold. It has been lurking all week and I have been generally ignoring it. But all this dry air and elevation finally caught up to me today when the mercury dropped into the teens before noon. I set out for a two-hour ride that I had all mapped out in my head before I left. I popped in a cough drop and headed up Wasatch Boulevard on my friend's midget mountain bike (I believe it has a 15" frame.) I was only about 10 minutes into the real meat of the climb before I started wheezing. "This is insane," I thought. "I haven't been doing much riding, but I shouldn't be this out of shape." I cut back the effort but after only 200 more yards I could hardly breathe. I jumped off my bike and dropped to my knees in the snow, wheezing, coughing, and spitting up all kinds of unpleasant gunk. I sucked at my camelback but it was already frozen solid. And just when I had made up my mind to turn around, my coughing subsided, my throat cleared and I felt more awake and alive than I had all day. And with the blaze of cold sunlight streaming over the whitewashed Wasatch mountains and crisp snow clinging to the pavement, I situated my balaclava over my face and finished my ride.

I know if I end up with bronchitis or the flu, I probably deserve it. But I think I am going to beat this cold, ride it out so to speak. I spent the night with my parents and sister, walking around downtown Salt Lake and looking at Christmas lights. My mom's and sister's terror-stricken faces as we stepped out into the "crazy cold" was almost as entertaining as the twinkling trees themselves. I told my mom she would never survive if she ended up in the upper Midwest or, heaven forbid, interior Alaska. She didn't disagree. Someday she and my dad will retire somewhere warm. Then I actually will be able to take tropical vacations from Alaska during the winter rather than just settling for a place where the low is 6, not -12.