Thursday, June 14, 2007

Bender

Date: June 14
Mileage: 89.1
June mileage: 313.6
Temperature upon departure: 61

Self discipline has never been one of my strong traits ... especially when it comes to bicycling. I don't do intervals because I don't like to watch a clock. I don't monitor my heart rate or calorie intake or elevation profiles. That I've been able to bicycle a lot of miles during the winter months isn't really contradictory to this character flaw - I take plenty of sick pleasure from riding around in horrid conditions. But I take even more sick pleasure from riding around in nice conditions.

I left the house today with 40 oz. of water, a rain coat, sunscreen, a single Power Bar and a baggie of fruit snacks in my Camelbak. I had absolutely no expectations setting out at 8:45 a.m. ... maybe check out the latest line of crusie ships, take an easy spin north and be back before 11.

It's interesting how a ride with no purpose and no plan can be so helplessly self-perpetuating. The wind was moving out of the south, so I went with it. I hummed along with my intentionally lo-fi iPod playlist: Elliot Smith, Sufjan Stevens, Pinback. Every once in a while, that soft little voice of reason would tell me that now would be a good time to turn around.

But something else ... maybe those small pleasures that tug at my senses ... something just kept pulling me forward. A bald eagle hovering on the breeze above my head; the faintly lilac smell of lupin; the clouds rolling eastward in the clearing sky; the hordes of mosquitoes lingering at my back. Before I even realized it (really), I was at Berner's Bay - the end of the road, 45 miles from my house.

There was some guilt there, but more strongly, there was a sense of finding my way home after an extended period of wandering. I have not been to Berner's Bay since January. I remember it in its loneliness, frozen and remote. To see it vibrant and colorful, flowing with kayaker traffic and camper-toting trucks, was a cathartic shot of symmetry. I relished in the rush, and then I rode it home.











January ...................................................June

As I try to gain back my sense of what is enough and what is too much, I am inevitably going to hit some snags. But I truly feel that today wasn't one of those snags. In the back of my mind, I have the voice of reason chanting the virtues of prudent moderation, of small increments, of 10 percent plus 10 percent plus 10 percent. Then I have what's in front of me, calling with a color-drenched intensity that makes reason easy to ignore. Today, as I awaited the final stop light at the Douglas Island bridge, feeling strong, loose and still raring with energy, the world in front of me said "You should just ride to Thane and make it an even century." To which the voice of reason replied, "Don't be a %$#% idiot." (Yes, voice of reason sometimes has to use strong language to get my attention.

Still ... it's hard out here for a gimp.

15 comments:

  1. Beautiful Pictures. I am glad you are feeling better. Injuries suck.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Jill, fate has been smiling on me as she has on you. Inspired by your crazy plan to do a 24 hour race at the end of June, I jumped on a fellow cyclist's offer of his registration for the deathride (127 mi, 15,000 ft climbing) in July. Like you, I plan to take it easy and am not committing to doing the whole thing...but who knows...More importantly, I've been riding pain free and sunshine full for about 10 days...that fate, she is a tricky vixen, she taketh away with one hand, and giveth with the other!

    Fingers crossed, onward and outward,
    Agnes

    ReplyDelete
  3. I can't believe I forgot to say: congrats on doing 89 miles!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Way to hustle, nice flow.

    I think the little voice knew all along where that ride was going.

    Leave the moderation to Wolf Blitzer. Go sick.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Nice ride -- and nice photo jill.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Good ride, Jill. I'm guessing you didn't make it back to the house by 11? Otherwise you were going supersonic, girl!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am glad to see that you are knocking out some serious rides again. If you make sure to rest well between these longer rides, you'll be just fine for that 24 hour race.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Holy cow -- stunning photo! Your posts are so inspirational re getting off one's lazy ass and pushing the envelope... I'm going to check into a whole-body transplant for the immediate future.

    Terrific post... Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I think that is hands down the most beautiful ride photos I have ever seen! Man, I do not envy your winter time conditions, but that day looked just about perfect.
    89 miles doesn't sound like a gimp to me. I don't have one that long yet this year.
    P.S. Even lo-fi Sufjan is awesome! :^)

    ReplyDelete
  10. that rocks Jill!
    90 miles, hot damn!

    love the side by side shots

    ReplyDelete
  11. Well dang. I guess I need to go ride now.

    ReplyDelete
  12. WOW
    Awesome pics and what a ride!
    I'm not sure what intrigues me the most, your epic rides or the absolute fantastic photos which often become my desktop backgrounds....
    Like I said, WOW
    Kinda makes my 30 miles running and 20 miles cycling look a little paltry!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Anonymous6:55 AM

    Jill, I wonder if you could map this ride and other places that you ride around Juneau? I have checked out some of the maps at Juneau Empire, but can't locate Berner's Bay.
    I am coming on a boat, one of those that you went to "maybe check out". It's not the way I had planned on getting to AK, I'm more low key, but the 14 day land/cruise tour was available thru our local media 'weather guy'. I feel I have to get there this year. My family all worry if I to travel so far on my own!
    BTW, you are one cool gal!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Nathan8:32 AM

    Wow!
    Great pics and what a ride!w

    ReplyDelete
  15. I know it sounds, well, mushy, but that's a pretty darn inspirational ride. I ought to try that...and then call to see who drives me back!

    ReplyDelete