Friday, February 16, 2007

Let's get it started

If you're checking in after 9 a.m. AST Saturday morning, check on my progress here.

About 12 more hours to wait. I feel a little nauseated with anxiety. I wouldn't want it any other way.

However, I can't really pinpoint why I feel this way. It's not that I have performance anxiety because I'm trying to win this thing. This is a popular race, packed with some extremely skilled and strong winter endurance cyclists, and I'm one of those weekend warriors who will be thrilled to simply finish ... even if it takes me 48 hours because I spent the last 25 miles trudging through eight inches of snow with my bike on my back (actually, it would be really cool if I still finished after all that.) And it's not that I'm convinced that I'm riding into my death ... I did believe that last year, and this feeling is different. It doesn't have the same immediacy. It doesn't have the same bite. It's a dull kind of stress, worn smooth by time and contemplation. It's the kind of stress I imagine a person would feel if they had spent hours frantically fighting off some kind of danger, like a pursuing black bear, only to end up at the top of a tree with the bear closing in. They know at that point that they've done all they can do. What's going to happen is going to happen. It's acceptance. The calm before the storm.

It's been a gloomy sort of day. Overcast and foggy in these wide open spaces that I'm not used to. I spent the day in Palmer putting my bike together, packing my stuff, drinking water, trying to eat. It's hard to eat. I have to pop Tums after every little snack ... and little snacks are all I've been able to get down in one sitting. Now I have to take a shower and get some sleep, and that's going to be difficult, too. But I know this waiting is physically challenging because this event is important to me. I like to have goals in my life that I care deeply about. I do feel sick now, but, like I said ... I wouldn't have it any other way.

The race starts at 9 a.m. The weather forecast looks good. Trail reports are promising. What's going to happen is going to happen. I'm already past acceptance. Bring on the attack.

20 comments:

  1. "I'm one of those weekend warriors who will be thrilled to simply finish ... "

    Jill,

    I've been reading your blog for some time now (awesome writing and pics, by the way), and based on the consistency of your training that you write about, I think you're hardly just a weekend warrior. You train hard, you focus, and your ability to seemingly accurately assess your own strenghts and weaknesses is admirable. Few will be more prepared than you for this event, and I believe you'll do quite well. Race your own race, and most of all, enjoy it!! Good luck! We're all rooting for you.

    -Ryan

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  2. You Rock! After all this training what a blast it will be to be amongst a field of others with the same goal. Take care out there Jill and Geoff.

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  3. Anonymous4:30 AM

    Kick Butt

    You are my hero!

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  4. I have been lurking for a while and I think it is time to leave a comment....

    GOOD LUCK!!

    Karen

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  5. Sneaux-bike your trusted steed will carry you throug all the dangers. Your skills will leed and you your mind will perservere... and so will Geoff's!! Keep on pedaling!!!!!

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  6. Exactly, 'Weekend Warrior' - I dont think so...
    Good luck out there to both of you. I have to work this weekend other wise I would come out and meet you guys to cheer you on.
    GoDoBe.

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  7. jill

    have a great race

    don't waste too much energy stalling for photos or plotting your blog post
    unless of course that aids you in your race experience

    (I will admit that I often lose focus and contemplate how a race is going to sound on my blog... but I am a dreamer that way)

    we are all rooting for you

    you have put in the hours upon hours of training
    now it is time to execute the task

    enjoy it
    smile
    as you are properly prepared for what this race demands
    no... it is not the unfamiliar event that it was last year
    but it is still a daunting challenge
    a challenge that you are well suited for and definitely prepared for

    be safe
    race hard
    and finish strong

    signed
    -zilla
    a green horn from the lower 48 who knows nothing about the adventure you are about to embark on

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  8. I thought sure your last line would be "Bring on the bear." Have a fun ride! This southern boy is up in Iowa practicing his winter driving techniques. It was more fun in rear wheel drive days.

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  9. Ride as tho that black bear is right behind you. And when you finish, we all want you to eat like a queen and take a very long nap.

    Go girl...

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  10. Wow Jill, checking out all your winter mountain biking pics sure makes me jealous. I don't have my mountain bike anymore (much to due with the baggage-weight limit you spoke about... only room for 1 bike) but I sure do have lots of great memories riding in the Maine winters with homemade studded tires (used carbon-carbide car studs from the local car-tire store).

    Good luck in the race!!!

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  11. Anonymous5:28 PM

    have a good ride with plenty of tail wind, great sites...

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  12. 20H50m

    Well done :)

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  13. CONGRATS, jill!!!!!!!!

    WOOHOO!!!!!

    awesome job. :) 20 hours 50 minutes!!!!!

    peace out, yo!!!!!

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  14. Way to go! Can't wait for the story.

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  15. Last time I checked the Susitna Results page it was 4 am and Jill had passed her last check point at 00:07. It's now 10:00 and only 10 degrees f The Susitna server is down. By the look of previous comments You have made it.
    If you have Jill **CONGRATULATIONS**!
    It's been quite nerve racking to think how dangerous this could be. A very grueling ride, so long in the saddle and the temperature keeps dropping!

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  16. Patt Church12:02 PM

    Great race, Jill. Congratulations on your finnish!
    And to Geoff, too. He did it on foot? Wow.
    Patt

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  17. I've been keeping track and just saw your finish! Congratulations! :)

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  18. Congratulations Jill. Looks like you cut 3 hours from last year's time! You're a warrior, not a weekend warrior!

    I've enjoyed your preparation for this ride. Can't wait to see what's next.

    Tom Moeller

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  19. I see that you've finished in good time -- congratulations!

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  20. hey all, thanks for the well wishes and words of support. i'm sure jill will be posting her interpretations of the race very soon. as for me i can't really move right now so i'll probably be sitting here staring at the computer screen for about an hour and then try to get up and move to a bed for about 10 hours.
    geoff

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