Date: Dec. 4
Total mileage: 22.0
November mileage: 22.0
Temperature upon departure: 34
Today a warm front settled in, bringing with it the snowpack-decimating rain that drips like acid from an electric blue-gray sky.
It was a sad state for a ride, but I still felt happy to get out. It was a shower of slush and enough ingested road salt to replace any electrolyte drink, but my legs felt strong and my lungs were happy to be back in the humid, sea-level atmosphere again.
I took the above picture yesterday while Geoff and I were skiing along the campground trails. I am getting better on skis. I don't really hate skiing. In fact, it is kind of fun in a simultaneously relaxing and frustrating way. And I stopped to visit my first Juneau home, camp site No. 5:
And as bad as those first two weeks were, I have to say, I'm lucky I moved to Juneau in August and not December.
I am giving myself until Friday to make a definite and binding decision on the Susitna 100. There are a lot of people who can't imagine spending $700 for a race, but I'm not exactly spending all that money on a race. I'm spending it on an experience, much in the way some people buy time on cruises or helicopter ski tours. There are definitely sillier things I could spend that much money on. An LCD TV comes to mind.
Carl Hutch (a race veteran himself) suggested I take it a step further at enter the Iditarod Invitational. This 350-mile winter race is a big dream of mine. There are some ways in which I eat, sleep and dream the ghost trail to McGrath ... but ... it may be a little more than I can bear ... this year. Who knows? I have been known to take bigger, crazier leaps of faith. But there's still a part of me that hasn't quite conquered the Susitna 100.
Tim answered my question best when I pondered what Pete - inarguably the best endurance rider in Alaska - might do if faced with a similar choice:
"Pete would jump on the ferry to Haines, then ride his bike all the way to the start. And he'd still kick everybody's ass. Pete's a mutant."
I wish I were a mutant. But I'm not. I'm just a 27-year-old masochist with a desk job, a brand new snow bike, and a strange taste in vacations. Maybe I can offset the cost of said vacation by designing and selling T-shirts. I already have the sketch in mind. I drew it while killing time near a giant dead polar bear at the Anchorage airport. It could work. Stranger things have happened.