Tuesday, February 06, 2007

10-day forecast

Date: Feb. 6
Mileage: 20.6
February mileage: 142.2
Temperature upon departure: 30

The Susitna 100 draws near. I think the single moment that really pulls this sinking reality to the forefront of my every waking thought is the moment I discover the race date on the 10-day weather forecast. The 10-day countdown begins tomorrow.

Am I ready? I don’t know ... I don’t know ... where did I stash those heat packs ... face mask ... where’s my face mask? I haven’t seen it since March ... neoprene socks ... tights ... fleece layers ... check ... check ... how much will it cost to put my bike on the plane ... 50 bucks? ... crap, I still need to buy that ticket I have on hold ... what do you mean you can’t take a camp stove on a plane? ... sleeping bag ... bike rack ... check ... check.

The truth is, I will never be truly ready. Might as well huck whatever gear I can find on my overpriced Alaska Airlines flight and pray for grace. I know now that out on the lonely wilderness trail, grace ... and maybe that extra pound of butter ... are sometimes the only things we have to get by.

The Arrowhead 135 is wrapping up. Both Dave and Doug pedaled into the depths of their abilities and in the end had to scratch. Most of the field scratched. The temperatures dipped beneath 30 below, temperatures in which comfort and strength never fully reach the surface. It’s a humbling thought that really cuts the Susitna 100 reality even deeper. But don’t worry, Mom, I don’t think it gets that cold in Big Lake, Alaska :-).

Geoff went to see a foot doctor today, and is now more confused and probably worse off than he was before. Instead of even offering a vague answer, the podiatrist gave him no answers. Nothing. The experience rings similar to a medical ordeal I went through two years ago. I injured some muscles in my lower left leg during a mountain bike fall, and became convinced I had blood clotting. The doctor never really found anything but humored me through three visits and an ultrasound. I could barely walk for a month, and just when I had decided I was a certifiable hypochondriac, something broke loose and my entire lower leg turned black and blue. After that cleared up, I was fine. Fine, and out a $500 deductible.

That’s when pretty much lost my faith in doctors.

Now I always second guess sports injuries. Unless you can afford to seek out the personal scrutiny of the best specialists in the country, is it really worth going to see a local physician for some $300 version of “take two aspirins and call me when you feel like spending more?”

But, who knows? I’ll probably change my tune if (when?) the frostbite sets in.


  1. Its been absolutley beautiful in Big Lake, dont worry so much, your awesome and a whole lot of us here have a lot of faith in you.

    And you can take your stove, just not the fuel canister, grab one as you pass REI on N. Lights blvd & Spenard rd as you leave the airport ;)

  2. Nice photo Jill. It might be a bit narcissistic though.

  3. Thanks, Daniel.

    And thanks, Shawn. I think the readers of this blog are going to curse they day I figured out how to use the self timer.

  4. I hear where you're coming from as far as doctors go.

    I'm lucky enough to have excellent medical bennys and am married to a CRN, so I get plenty of opinions on my mountain biking injuries.

    As long as no bones are sticking out and I can walk, I usually skip the doctors after a wipeout.

  5. Sounds all too familiar Jill. The 10-day forcast coming out for the Arrowhead race was a big moment for me...and a frightening one with the temps predicted. The race consumed my every waking moment as well. You'll do great in the Susitna. I keep thinking about those long, snowy rides you put in last month. You couldn't be better prepared.

  6. Very nice shot, cool light and shadow.

  7. Good luck on the race Jill.

    I definitely diagnose my own medical problems and just go into see doctors when I need a prescription or referral. I have been misdiagnosed on two serious issues in the last two years. After that experience I lost faith in GPs. So far specialists haven't let me down.

    With any luck you won't need any medical attention anytime soon!

    Give Geoff my best wishes on a speedy recovery. He may miss a race, but he has a lot of really great things going on in his life - could be way worse.


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