Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Now it's seven

Eero asked me to share "seven little-known facts" the other day. I think I did this meme a few months ago when the number was still five. But I haven't tried seven yet, and I didn't go for a ride today, and I do owe her for lending me a bivy to use in the Susitna 100, so I thought I'd oblige. Seven "little-known" facts about Jill:

1. Somewhere deep in the recesses of childhood memory, I know how to play four different instruments: the accordion, the string bass, the harmonica and the piano. That may sound decidedly nerdy, but put them all together and I could form a mean one-woman zydeco band.

2. I have an irrational but paralyzing fear of moving water - whitewater rapids, ocean swells and the like. I can trace this fear back to a lot of incidents, but the first was when my parents took me to a Sesame Street theme park near Dallas, Texas, when I was 3 years old. One of the "attractions" was little more than a narrow, dark tube that children crawled through while jets of water blasted from all sides. I still have vivid dreams of a shadowed line of big kids' faces and large hands yanking me forward as I thrashed against the deluge, screaming and screaming and screaming.

3. I also am afraid of dogs. I am more afraid of dogs than I am of bears. This is because I know bears for the most part want to leave me alone. Dogs, on the other hand, have lunged at me, mowed me down, and a couple of times even bit me - hard enough to cause permanent scarring. I do not like dogs. But I'm sure your dog is great.

4. I am a big advocate of not attaching oneself to things. "Need Less" is, in fact, my zen goal in life. I really like the idea of living independently, minimizing my footprint (I am a second-hand queen) and keeping my lifestyle options open - even if it means leaving everything I own behind (I try to include my bikes in this sentiment, but I have predictably become attached to them.) The upside is that I have more money to spend on the intangible and fleeting things I really love, like food and travel. The drawback is that I own the world's ugliest couch, a Salvation Army TV that only picks up two channels, and a bed I hate so much that I only sleep in it about 30 percent of the time. But hey - I could walk onto the Alaska State Ferry tomorrow and never look back.

5. I finished my first "century" ride, the 2004 Salt Lake Century, in 5 hours, 25 minutes. However, after two years of riding with an odometer, I have concluded beyond much doubt that I must have inadvertently skipped part of the course. It's highly unlikely that I actually rode 100 miles that fast. But I guess I'll never really know.

6. I suspected a botched finishing time by the end of my second century attempt, the 2004 Ride for Life. Not because it was decidedly slower, but because I discovered how poor my route-finding skills really were. I showed up 45 minutes late and took off down the road, quickly becoming confused by the hordes of runners I was passing. Thirteen miles later, I was back where I started. Only then did I realize that I had inadvertently followed the course of a half-marathon that was happening that same day. Then 90 minutes late, I still did the ride, because I was "sponsored" back then and somewhat obligated (Thanks, Cycling Utah!)

7. I was born in Denver, Colorado, moved away when I was 9 months old, and have never actually been back (drove by on I-25 once, at night, without stopping.) It's kind of strange to have no mental picture of the place where I was born.

So there you go ... seven things. The idea is to pass this on, but I don't really feel comfortable telling others what they should write on their blogs. So I'll leave it up to you, because it's always fun to hear from others. Tell me a little-known fact about yourself.