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.