Sunday, January 07, 2007

Goal driven

Date: Jan. 6
Mileage: 25.1
January mileage: 149.6
Temperature upon departure: 31

I am slowly amassing my Susitna 100 gear collection. I had all the gear last year, but because Geoff signed up for this year's race, and all of that gear belongs to him, I pretty much had to start from scratch. Yesterday, I ordered a -20 degree-rated sleeping bag. I'm not going to admit what brand it is or how much I paid for it, because it's embarrassingly low (yes, I know this bag could save my life. It's not cheap because it's ineffective. It's cheap because it's heavy :-) 6.1 pounds, actually. But I figured since I barely made the 15-pound weight cutoff last year, an extra pound or two won't be too hard to shave off elsewhere. As for the rest of my gear, I still need a bivy sack, a small closed-cell sleeping pad and some kind of lightweight mid-sized drybag that I can strap to the top of a bike rack. If anyone out there has this kind of gear lying around and doesn't need it before early March, maybe we could work out a lending deal. I'll pay all the shipping costs and ... I'll send it back with a delicious batch of energy-packed pumpkin cookies. I'm actually serious. Let me know.

I've been thinking about setting some goals for this year's race. Last year, my goal was to survive, to keep all of my fingers and toes, and if all that happened, to finish ... maybe. I'd like to set the bar a little higher this year. Actually, a lot higher. I'd like to shave 8 hours off my time. For a 100-mile race, this probably seems pretty extreme. What's even more extreme is how little control I actually have over my finishing time. I figure that, of the variables that will determine my final time, my physical fitness counts for about 10 percent. Mental condition is another 10 percent. How well my gear and bike holds up matters to the tune of 20 percent, and the overall trail conditions make up the final 60 percent. I base this equation on last year's race, which took me 25 hours to finish. The first 50 miles were a very comfortable, very leisurely 8 hours. The last 50, in which I essentially returned on the exact same trail I came out on, were a 17-hour slog through the colder levels of Hell. What changed? The trail conditions. That's all. The trail is All.

Given that Great Unknown, I still think I can do the race in 16 hours, and I'd really like to try. I have six weeks to prepare. I'm going to try to put in more trail time during the coming weeks, more high-heart-rate intervals (probably indoors), longer distance days and more weight training (I will be strong. Carry loaded bicycle like ox.) It's probably going to be a huge time suck. But oh well. It's January. What else am I going to do? Go snowboarding? And Geoff is so busy training to be ultramarathon man, he won't even notice that I'm gone all the time. It might even be fun.

Alas, all this counts for is 10 percent. But it's the 10 percent I can control. Now where do I begin?


  1. Outside in the snow of course!

  2. Jill I'm getting a thermarest prolite 3 very soon so you can have my thermarest z-fold foam pad its the 3/4 length... If you can wait till the 16th for me to ship it... I'll check to see if I have a dry bag

  3. Hi Jill,
    I have a bivvy sack you may be able to borrow. It's an Outdoor Research bag, about 6.5' long, blue, with re-inforced bottom layer, internal velcro ties.It's missing the support pole, why I got it so cheap ($10 I think). I'll see if I can find one for it and I'll let you know....or, you can borrow it and return it with a pole, if you can find one for it! I'll email you pix, if you like. I'll weigh it tomorrow and send you that info. as well.

  4. 2000 Susitna/1989/90 Iditabike Vet. Have lite OR bivy, gerry-rigged pad (very compressable cut small as I think the gear Nazi's allow)and maybe other stuff you can use. From website, you shouldn't plan on sleepin! Enjoying Arrowhead 135 in Minnysnowda early Feb so could get you the stuff likely ASAP by weekend prior your race. Not parcel post.
    interested contact ........dave pramann

  5. Jill,
    If you compile a complete list of needs once you have them and send it to me I can send it out on the Freewheeler bike club email list. I can't believe we won't be able to find everything you need here in Juneau. I have a couple of the light weight thermarests. No dry bags, but I do have Ortlieb dry bag style panniers that are totally waterproof and bike racks they work with. I have friends that I'm sure would let you borrow drybags. Just email me at and we'll help get what you need.
    Jim Sheufelt


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