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Showing posts from January, 2006

Slightly stuck

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My first day as one person working two jobs did not go entirely badly. In fact ... it wasn't a whole lot different, if only because Monday is such a long slog even when I'm just one employee. So I can't really fit in much else. Augustine Volcano has spit out enough ash that advisories have now been issued for most of southcentral Alaska. However, we haven't seen any evidence of ashfall in Homer yet. I came home and put in 90 minutes on the bike trainer. I was feeling pretty good about the minor successes of the day, so I cooked up some shrimp tacos and waited for Geoff to get back from his run. And waited. And waited.

He finally came in at about 8:45, coated in frost and grinning. He had held off running all day as he waited for the ash to come. Finally, at about 5 p.m., he got sick of waiting and took off for what he planned to be his longest training run before the Little Su 50K ... while it was 8 degrees outside ... and with the continuing threat of ash fall. And he…

Frozen bikers

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Date: Jan. 29
Mileage: 22.3
January mileage: 460.7
Temperature upon departure: -10

Today's ride was sponsored by Shawn in Arizona. Shawn's site has some great pictures of desert places that I miss, especially when the temperature is -10.

Today I did a quick highway ride in the morning, rolling alongside the Matanuska River 11 miles from Palmer and back. But I finally succeeded in impressing my friend Craig with my biking prowess when I told him I rode by "The Butte" (which is about eight miles from his house.) "You rode all the way out there?" he said. He was amazed.

I had to finish up early because I had a lot to do today, but we did make it out to Goose Lake in Anchorage to catch the last few laps of the Frigid Bits race. I met Tim at the end of his 10-mile race, as well as a few of Anchorage's hardcore winter cycling enthusiasts. It was funny to meet so many people that knew "of" me, because of this blog.

But Frigid Bits looked like a fun race - a…

I did, I did, I did ...

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Date: Jan. 28
Mileage: 20
January mileage: 438.4
Temperature upon departure: -7

... The Iditarod trail. Is. Slow.

Of course, everything about today was exactly what I would expect of such an excursion. Temps were cold, but not unreasonably so. The trail was soft, but all-in-all better than I expected. Mt. Augustine decided today was the fourth of July, but all the ash headed south. Yes, today was a good day. An encouraging day. And yet, I feel the cold grip of this daunting task tightening around me. It could be my neoprene gear. But, no. I think it's the Susitna 100. It's going to be hard.

Well, duh. But sometimes it's hard to grasp the reality of things until you're down in the suck. Geoff and I went out today for a half-day ride (Geoff, who's training to run the Little Su 50K, has no interest in 10-hour bike rides.) We drove up Point Mackenzie Road so we could start immediately on the Iditarod. We planned to go as far as two hours took us and head back. What we got wa…

I love neoprene

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Date: Jan. 27
Mileage: 18.6
January mileage: 418.4
Temperature upon departure: -4

Today was, well ... it was a bright, sunny day. Mercury hit somewhere around -4, but strong, blasting winds out of the north (for my ride today, a direct side wind both ways) really upped the shock factor. Then, atop hardpacked ice roads, there were the 35 mph descents. Brrrrr. Pretty safe to say, that was the coldest ride yet. At least, the coldest until tomorrow. Geoff and I drove up to Palmer today. And barring any unforeseen events, tomorrow we will ride pieces of the Susitna 100 course. The actual Iditarod trail. It's the reason we drove up here, so it will be hard to talk ourselves out of it. Temperature right now ... -12.

I've learned to love my neoprene gear above all. Face, hands and feet are all protected by a thin layer of that stuff, and it's simply amazing. Today, all I wore on my hands were a pair of neoprene gloves - the very same ones kayakers wear. I brought a pair of mittens with…

Danger cold

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Date: Jan. 26
Mileage: 12.5
January mileage: 399.8
Temperature upon departure: 0

Still feeling a little on the sad side. It saps through my energy like a cold blast of Siberian wind, which also happens to be whipping through town. Geoff warned me about dressing thoughtfully for riding in the "danger cold." I can't really complain about temperature, though. It's -30 in Kenai (only an hour north of here). It's -45 in Fairbanks. I'm sure if it were to suddenly jump up to zero up there, little Fairbanks kids would probably go out to recess in T-shirts. Plus, thoughtful dressing has me feeling more comfortable riding outside than I do sitting in my office (where the heater is broken!!). If only my eyelashes would stop freezing together ... in my office.

I rode about a half hour on the trainer before dinner. The effort was so smooth and sweaty and mindless that I was tempted to do another hour or so after dinner rather than ride outside. But then I checked my e-mails, a…

Time trial(s)

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Date: Jan. 25
Mileage: 16.0
January mileage: 387.3
Temperature upon departure: -2

I got some frustrating news at work today. So instead of heading to the gym as I had planned, I drove straight home and planted myself in front of my heater. I spent a healthy chunk of the evening comfort eating and trying to absorb the prospect of a bleaker future in which I spend more time locked in the cement box. At 8:00 the temperature had dropped solidly below zero so I thought - eh - why not head out for a ride.

I rode up to my usual trail, but it's still really soft. I didn't want to devastate the skiers with Kenda canyons through their pristine groomers, so I decided to try timing myself on a series of one-mile stretches - time trials.

I rode along the gravel road that parallels the trail, caked with snow and glazed with glare ice. I tore down the road on tires deflated to 25 psi (I did leave the house thinking I was going to do some snow riding), bouncing over mounds of snow and swerving thro…

Earthquake

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Date: Jan. 23
Mileage: 20.2
January mileage: 371.3
Temperature upon departure: 1

I know, I know, I'm overdoing the frozen face self portraits. But I just love the frosty eyelash look. I really think it could be the next innovation in eye makeup technology - a bold and stunning statement that says, "look at me! I move freely in the subzero wastelands. I'm sassy!"

Geoff and I were playing Scrabble after Telluride MountainFilm fest part 2 when our first real Alaskan earthquake hit. It generated a terribly predictable rumble beneath our seats, followed by the shifting and falling of a few household items. It measured only 4.1 on the scale, but it was the second earthquake I've "felt" in my life. The first also was in Alaska, out on the North Slope. I was sprawled on the soft tundra in my sleeping bag when I long, lolling rumble nudged me awake. I think that was a 4.8 quake - a pleasant experience, really, as long as you're out in the open where nothing can f…

Blue Monday

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I read this article that said today, statistically, is the most depressing day of the year. This assessment comes from some psychologist in Britain. Really, though, it doesn't take much of a genius to place the frowny face stamp on a random Monday in January. Who's going to disagree? It's 0 degrees outside. I had to spend the whole day staring at a computer screen. And my gatorade froze solid in my car while I was running at the gym. Still, declaring a day "most depressing" when you're only 23 days into a new year does cast a rather optimistic glow over the rest of 2006, doesn't it?

Geoff and I went to see the Telluride MountainFilm festival tonight. I always enjoy these film fests (I used to catch Banff every year), but they've especially become better as they've spread themselves further from the adrenaline-pumped, Limp Bizkit-blasting outdoor porn that used to fill the playlists (sure, every year, you have to endure one long film about crazy ka…

Skeek

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I meant to take a full rest day today, but eight inches of fresh powder was just too much to resist. So I went cross-country skiing.

My timing this weekend has been absolutely impeccable. I managed more than eight hours of biking yesterday just before the big storm hit, and found a 90-minute window between blowing blizzard and more blowing blizzard to skim the smooth ski trails. (Look at that fresh track, groomed only for me. Our local Nordic ski club really stays on top of things.) That didn't change the fact that it was 5 degrees out, but for the most part, it was ideal.

Sometimes I think it's strange, given the area I grew up in, the friends I keep and the lifestyle I've adopted, that I never became more of a ski geek (or, in the lingo of the knuckle draggers I rode with in high school, a "skeek.")I just took up the sticks this year, and I dropped the hobby pretty quickly when my ice biking efforts amped up. My downhill experience is almost nonexistent. Somet…

Long ride

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Date: Jan. 21
Mileage: ~50
January mileage: 351.1
Temperature upon departure: 19
Total riding time: 8 hours, 33 minutes
Total full-tilt falls: 2

I have a little of that serene, drugged-out drowsiness going on right now ... long ride, big dinner, warm house, storm raging outside.

Today I set out just before sunrise with the intention of putting in an 8 to 10-hour ride that would mimic my attack of the Susitna 100. To do that, I had to ride on a lot of soft, rutted trails that are just punchy and slow and there's no way around it (winter riders call this stuff "mashed potatoes" ... in my case, very lumpy mashed potatoes). I rode the ice roads, open snow (about 5 inches of powder)and Caribou Lake itself. I also did a fair amont of pushing. Any food I ate, I ate while pushing. I kept my full stops to an absolute minimum, to keep my core temperature higher, and also because it's the way I deal with the muscle strain of long rides ... just keep moving, moving, moving, and there&…

Still no pictures

Date: Jan. 20
Mileage: 26.9
January mileage: 301.1
Temperature upon departure: 15

I don't have much time to post tonight because my computer is still choking on me, and I am in the midst of packing for my big full-day bike excursion tomorrow. Weather forcast is for temperatures in the teens and a chance of heavy snow. I can't really tell whether I'm excited or not, but at least I'm not dreading it. Wish me luck. Pray for *no* snow :-)

Real headwind

Date: Jan. 19
Mileage: 15.6
January mileage: 274.3
Temperature upon departure: 12

No picture today. Geoff's computer is currently in 179.5 pieces, and the browser on my archaic laptop (connected by 28.8 dial-up) won't let me upload anything. Oh well. You can't win 'em all.

I left for my two-hour ride today at about 5:30. The thermometer read 12 degrees, but a stiff wind and swift circulation of floating ice particles made it feel much colder. I can't really account for the "feels like" temperature, but tonight's was definitely the chilliest ride I have done to date. So I tried a piece of gear today that I hadn't tried before, my neoprene face mask. Onward I churned up the first hill as twilight slipped below the jagged treeline, sucking down the moist backflow of my own breath. As I crested the hill, my vision suddenly darkened several notches, and everything else felt airy and light. I squinted and swallowed, for the first time noticing the subtle no…

My proud moment

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Geoff and I went to see "Wal-mart: The High Cost of Low Price" tonight. It's left me sullen and ponderous about economic downfall and corpocracy, but it doesn't benefit me much to write about things I know little about and for which shallow research will only succeed in further incensing me, so I'll write about something positive - bicycle accomplishments.

Fat Cyclist solicited cycling-related triumphs from his loyal readers today. I read through the list of impressive accomplishments but already had mine in mind. I mean, there was this one time, at band camp, that I rode my bike from Salt Lake City to Syracuse, New York. It's not the Race Across America or the Tour de France, but there are people out there that might be impressed by that. And, in my career, it's a given.

I went to the gym between work and the movie. Just as I was leaving, a woman on the recumbent bike complimented me for the hour I put in on the elliptical. I'm one of those shy people…

Ash cloud

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Date: Jan. 17
Mileage: 16.4
January mileage: 258.7
Temperature upon departure: 22

So the sluggish but persistent Mt. Augustine has rended its way into the national news. Today was eruption number nine - could be 10. Who's counting? Well, certainly a couple of my especially jittery co-workers are. They rushed home the second the weather service issued an ash advisory for Homer (really, people, it's not like liquid hepatitis is going to rain down from the sky.)But we picked up their slack and still got our newspaper out by deadline, complete with more volcano information than any community newspaper reader could ever possibly digest.

After work, I went for a bicycle ride on low fuel (should have had more than Ritz crackers and half of a six-inch sandwich for lunch). It was more of a struggle than it should have been, but I was already well into my loop by the time I realized it. Still, a couple of descents off the ridge afforded some great views of Augustine's ash cloud drifting…

Resolve

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After the unexpected "volcano day" on Friday, today I had to put in extra hours at work to catch up. The above photo is about two weeks old now; it's funny to me that some of my favorite photos take a while to find a home.

I finally connected with Adrienne Albert, a California-based composer who is writing a symphony about the Homer area. She visited here last summer to absorb some Alaskan ambiance and gather inspiration for her composition. In August, she toured a sun-soaked coastal town teeming with thousands of tourists and overflowing in a glut of halibut, clams and salmon-fed bears. She decided to come back last week to see Homer in January. She wanted a full-spectrum perspective. What she got was a frozen tour of hoarfrost-coated boreal forest, a volcano spewing gray ash into the sky and a rather nasty cold. All I can say is, I can't wait to hear the finished product.

I had 75 minutes between my last page and the "King Lear" dress rehearsal, so I went …

Doubt and Redoubt

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Date: Jan. 15
Mileage: 15
January mileage: 242.3
Temperature upon departure: low teens

Today Geoff and I drove all the way out to the end of the Bay to look for backcountry trails. We haven't been out that way since winter hit, mostly because it's a 45-minute drive (hard to justify when there's so much to do so much closer), and also because the entire area is populated by Orthodox Russians. I see them shopping at Safeway on a regular basis, in their homemade dresses and lacy caps reminiscent of southern Utah polygamist wives. However, driving out to their side of town is a little unnerving. I figure if they're still so culturally segregated after 150 years of U.S. occupation, there's a good possibility that they don't take to kindly to a couple of Outsiders bombing down their roads in a 1989 Honda Civic with two bikes strapped to the roof. But I could be wrong.

Anyway, we did discover the holy grail of Homer's winter trails, a far-reaching network that wraps ar…

Limbo

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Date: Jan. 14
Mileage: 38.5
January mileage: 227.3
Temperature upon departure: 13

Today, I was very scientific about my bicycle riding. My process:

1.) Check the most recent seismic data from Mt. Augustine.
2.) Check the prevailing wind and ash data from the NOAA.
3.) Determine, based on wind direction, wind speed and ash reports, the minimum number of minutes it might take a noxious ash cloud to reach town should the volcano erupt within the next five minutes.
4.) Subtract about 45 minutes from that time, to be on the safe side.
5.) Viola! Bicycle riding increments.

I got two of these in today, each about two hours and 20 miles apiece. My morning ride was hard and tiresome on the snowy trails. But, I gotta say, a fine layer of fresh ash that fell with yesterday's snow made for some amazing traction going downhill. I also enjoyed looping the upper trail and following my glaring white tire tracks through the gray snow. On my afternoon ride, I stuck to the ice-paved gravel roads and climbed …

Stolen moments

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Date: Jan. 13
Mileage: 24.4
January mileage: 188.8
Temperature upon departure: 18 Friday the 13th. I woke up, ate some of that cold cereal that I tried so hard to vilify yesterday and deliberately did not turn on the radio. I piled on layers, hoisted my Camelpak and went for an extended commute to work with Geoff. We rode Skyline, the snowmobile trails, the reservoir. I dropped down East Hill sucking up the wind chill at 35 mph and pulled into work just as my boss was duct taping the front door shut.My odometer read 12:08 p.m. "So much for not exercising outdoors, eh?" she said. "I take it the volcano went off again," I said. She looked at me like I was wearing one of those sandblaster masks that everyone's been hoarding as a hat. "It's gone off three times already," she said. "The first eruption happened before 5 a.m." She told me there was an ash advisory for 1 p.m. and she was shutting down the office. She told me I could go inside if I …

Step away

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I did an hour-long ride on the trainer tonight so I could cook some dinner and amp up for a short outdoor ride later. It's finally good and below 20 degrees, so I thought I could try out some of my colder weather gear. Only now it's later and here I sit, losing steam by the second (much like Mt. Augustine, currently settling after her initial blow.) It's not that I feel psychotically compelled to ride every day. It's just that now the conditions are ideal - clear, calm, cold, and no volcanic ash clogging up the air.

Perhaps I'll leave first thing in the morning for an early ride before work. Hmmm - that sounds just like one of the "lies we tell ourselves" mentioned on Fat Cyclist's site. Reading Fatty's and other real racers' Web sites has fueled my ambition and focused my training, but one side effect of this information glut from endurance athletes is a heightened focus on a much more ambiguous part of myself - my weight.

I'm never been on…

Ashes to ashes

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Date: Jan. 11
Mileage: 13.6
January mileage: 164.4
Temperature upon departure: 22 Somewhere, hidden deep within a shroud of fog and the forgotton hours of the morning, Augustine coughed up an explosion - unseen, unheard, almost as if it never existed, except for the five-mile-high ash cloud that is now probably drifting over Denali National Park.

The volcano began was is expected to be a series of escalating eruptions this morning at 4:44 a.m. It was enough to raise the concern level to code red and keep people glued to their radios and raiding the stores for face masks and Spam - but didn't really do much else. The ash headed north and east and pretty much away from Homer, Anchorage and any relatively populated area of Alaska. The fog stayed, blocking anxious eyes from any view of the rumbling mountain, and gripping the town in an eerie sort of silence. My editor rushed into the office first thing this morning to demand I upload an update the the Web site. In the great irony of week…

Rex-Kwon-Do

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Date: Jan. 10
Mileage: 21.4
January mileage: 150.8
Temperature upon departure: 27

Today's ride was sponsored by Mellan. The hilly ride to the top of Skyline went faster than usual (got my 21 miles in about an hour and 45 minutes) - probably because the trail snow is pretty hard packed now. And where gravel roads have been scraped, a smooth layer of black ice is now almost entirely exposed (I love the riding but dread the trucks.) I topped out my speedometer at 36 mph coasting down that stuff. My slowest speed was 4.8 ... climbing what I'm convinced is a 60 percent grade (OK ... it's more like 14). But that ride is mostly a well-worn route for me by now, and I felt pretty good about pushing it just a little bit harder today. A great way to sweat off the Tuesday deadline-frenzy blues.

Later this evening, Geoff and I went to check out the weight room at the high school. It was classically ghetto - I half expected to see leather medicine balls and one of those vibrating strap machi…

Brothers in arms

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Yesterday's post generated some great recommendations, and I've learned a lot more about the wonders of bike pogies and leathermans. I really like the idea of chemical handwarmers. The only time I ever used them was during a Dave Matthews concert at a 2002 Winter Olympics medals ceremony. Back then, I was still clinging to my late adolescence and still thought I was pretty cool. So, of course, I attended an outdoor concert in Salt Lake City in February wearing only a hoodie, some ratty jeans and and equally worn-out pair of Vans. (It only took a couple more years for me to become one of those people that drives by school bus stops and wonders what's wrong with those kids.) Anyway, my mom gave me some handwarmers as an afterthought. I stuffed them into my pocket and welded myself into the people slew near the stage. However, I was already a little too old to be cool enough for the pit, and as the crowd amped up I was pushed further back into the cold winter night. Numbness…

Gear post

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Date: Jan. 8
Mileage: 21.2
January mileage: 129.4
Temperature upon departure: 33

At the risk of embarrassing myself terribly with my lack of gear-related knowledge, I'm compiling a list of my current winter riding and Susitna 100 gear, all in hopes that suggestions, recommendations and maybe even some direction to good used stuff will come my way.

My bike: I ride a Gary Fisher Sugar 3 with women's specific geometry. Componentry is all stock stuff. I originally bought this bike with Grand Teton rock trails and the southern Utah desert in mind. Since I moved to Alaska, it's converted nicely to a winter bike, as I suspect any mountain bike would. It would be nice to find a rigid bike, or, if the heavens opened wide, an affordable Surly Pugsley. But for my first year of winter riding, this works fine.

My tires: Ok. I admit it. I went to the bike shop and bought the pair of Kenda studded tires that were on sale. If I could go back in time and purchase the Nokian Extremes, I'd do …

My snowmachine

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Date: Jan. 7
Mileage: 35.5
January mileage: 108.2
Temperature upon departure: 33

Today's ride was sponsored by Kevin. I set out a little later than hoped (noon), but made up for my procrastination with serendipitous exploration. I found a maze of winter trails and unplowed four-wheel drive roads networking through the woods just north of Skyline Drive. For a mile I'd plow through untapped snow, only to suddenly find myself on a well-traveled snowmobile trail, cascading over packed waves of powder. Then I'd hit the rutted and icy roads, bounce around for a bit, take a left turn and find myself up to my pedal strokes in powder again. Along the trails I came across two dog mushers. One stopped to tell me the trail I was on was a dead end.

"It ends at my house," the man told me. His 4 or 5-year-old daughter was clinging to the cargo side of his sled. Four restless huskies whined and nipped at the air.

"I'm sorry," I said. "I didn't realize this was a…

Reservoir dogs

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Date: Jan. 5
Mileage:15.7
January mileage: 72.7
Temperature upon departure: 24

There's something about bicycling on top of a mass of water that's so ... ethereal. Something about gliding atop the epitome of a smooth, flat surface; about the silencing strength of snow against the grind of wheels and the darkness of evening settling over a frozen landscape. Geoff and I hit the reservoir today after a harrowing descent down the rutted-out ice roads above. The sudden change amounted to the difference between weaving through Los Angeles traffic and an joy ride on the Bonneville Salt Flats ... all of the speed, and none of the stress.

After the ride I was eating a giant burrito and browsing the Anchorage Daily News when I came across a letter to the editor titled "Hopefully, violent collision with SUV knocked sense into winter cyclist." Of course, I knew that reading a so-titled piece of work would probably cause the burrito to churn uncomfortably in my stomach, but I read it a…

Duck and cover

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Augustine let off a little steam today, prompting a rush of calls to the Homer Tribune in the late afternoon. After about a half dozen calls I could practically hear my co-worker grinding her teeth through her usual cheery receptionist voice: "No, sir, we've already confirmed it isn't an eruption ... No, it's just steam venting ... We got that from the AVO (Alaska Volcano Observatory) ... Yes, I believe there is a difference ... No, sir, we can see it too ... Well yes, it does look like an eruption is coming, but ..."People around town are on pins and needles right now waiting for this thing to blow. The scientists still have the Augustine alert on yellow, but these stubborn Homerites are convinced an eruption is imminent. Last week, my office took a poll on the date it will go. My boss has her money on Jan. 6 ... tomorrow. I'm last on the list, with what I thought was a conservative guess of Feb. 20 (This is probably more optimism than an educated predicatio…

Mmmm ... frosty

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Date: Jan. 4
Mileage: 20.6
January mileage: 57.0
Temperature upon departure: 26

Today's ride was sponsored by Heather in Ohio, who sent a wonderful note that arrived by mail at my office today. (My co-worker, as she handed me the addressed envelope, said "What's 'The Cement Box?'") Heather recommended that I "go get some granola bars and goo and get after it." So today, I tried that (without the granola bars and goo ... but now I can go get some). Thank you!

I was sitting in the Cement Box around 2 p.m. today, staring at my computer screen and probably looking a bit distracted, when my boss said "It's a nice day. I'm going to go on I photo safari."

Me: "Mmm Hmmm." (You see, I call it the Cement Box because there no windows in my office.)

Boss: "It looks like a good day for a bike ride, too."

I just smiled. She knows me too well already. But her statement did coax me to the front desk, where I confirmed that it was, inde…

Repairs

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Date: Jan. 3
Mileage: 9.5
January mileage: 36.4
Temperature upon departure: 27

Good ride tonight ... less punchy because I made more of an effort to avoid the moose tracks, with snow so dry and clean that distant sparkles off my LED headlamp mirrored the pepper starlight in the night sky. It almost made up the massive computer meltdown at work today. As our missed deadline faded further and further into the past, we scrambled for solutions with an impatient pre-press operator bearing down from afar. I tell ya, I was this close to pulling out a typewriter, some glue and an exacto knife, and giving up on the whole computerized scandal of it all. But I guess that's the great peril of the digital age, isn't it? The more independence we gain from workaday labors, the more dependent we become on machines we can't begin to understand.

Me? I'm learning to fix my bike - one of the simplest machines available in the modern age. I need to master basic repairs as these longer, more rem…

Food fight

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Date: Jan. 2
Mileage: 8.7
January mileage: 26.9
Temperature upon departure: 25

Today I did an hour on the trainer and then went out for a punchy but exhilarating 8-mile night ride on the ski trails around my house. I have to admit, I'm going to be a little bummed when winter ends and all the good trail riding around here melts into the sog and bog of summer. I'm going to have to take up sea kayaking because the biking's gonna be bad :-)

Homer's infamous Eagle Lady restarted her annual bald eagle feeding frenzy recently. The population that consisted of a few dozen resident eagles is quickly growing to a few hundred. And while her well-meaning eagle baiting brings amazing photographic opportunities to the masses, I'm a bit torn on the issue of blatantly habituating wild animals. If you leave your garbage out where bears can get to it, you'll be fined - but somehow artificially supporting a nationally protected raptor is legal. The Eagle Lady claims the eagles wouldn&…

Happy New Year

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Date: Jan. 1
Mileage: 18.2
January mileage: 18.2
Temperature upon departure: 32

Happy New Year to everyone! My celebration took a turn for the worse at the Edible Arts extravaganza when an all-too-tempting sushi dress (pictured) turned my night into an Edible Arts-born illness. I still sucked it up and waited out midnight while hunched over a table at Duggan's Pub, watching The Whipsaws and writhing in pain. Let this be a lesson - never eat perishable art; and don't sit in a smoky pub with sharp pains tearing at your intestines just because it's New Year's Eve. Once I got all of the sushi out of my system, though, I felt a lot better. I did a fairly relaxed ride along East End Road today and went home and took a nap.

I read a couple of year-end reviews in other blogs and enjoyed them. It inspired me to do one of my own. Here are Jill's memorable moments of 2005:

January: I learn to airboard ... a fancy sort of inflatable tobaggan with hard plastic edges to give its ride…