Saturday, July 21, 2007

All to myself

Date: July 20
Mileage: 13.5
July mileage: 574.6
Temperature upon departure: 51
Inches of rain today: .63"

Geoff is out of town for the weekend, which means I get to watch trashy movies like "Smokin' Aces" and eat cereal right out of the box - as a meal! It also means that after a few hours, I am going to feel like a brain-dead blob in need of some sort of nourishment.

But I definitely picked the right day of the weekend for a long ride. It rained pretty much nonstop today and the temperature I think dropped into the 40s at one point. Brrr. But then I got to thinking - if I don't really want to be out in that, probably nobody wants to be out in that.

So I set out for an evening recovery ride on the most popular trail in town - the Perseverance Trail. The trail can be a mob scene on sunny days and lined with iPod-wearing oblivious joggers even on wet days. But for some reason, it was completely deserted this evening. I guess it's because, even though I think of Friday as "Sunday," most people still think it's Friday. Good. More room for me.

A picture of me and Sugar before the hose-down, looking like we've earned it. I was thinking today about what a great mud bike Sugar has become. The tires grip in like crampons and the moving parts have held up pretty well against water and rust. What's interesting to me is that this bike is the same as it's always been. It's the same bike that I hoped would make me less timid on desert slickrock back when I was an Idahoan and a very different mountain biker than I am today. It's the same bike that I decided would make a great snowbike when I was a new Alaskan and a little more naive than I am today. Now I use it to go muddin' in Juneau. I change, but Sugar keeps soldiering on - stock tires, stock drivetrain, stock almost everything.

I guess that's my confession today. I am not a bike snob. I will probably never be a bike snob, although I have no problem with those who choose that lifestyle. The fact that I think Sugar is a great mudbike doesn't mean he is. There are probably a million little things I could do to make him better. There are probably a million other bikes out there more suited to the job. But I know Sugar. I trust Sugar. I love him just the way he is.

Sometimes, when I am tempted to upgrade, I think of a photograph I saw in a newspaper once. It showed a grocery-store type shelf stocked top to bottom, dozens of feet wide, with colorful cans. The caption said, simply, "Cat Food." And I think ... do we really need all these choices? Do we really?

And I ask myself ... why would I want to upgrade Sugar? Because it would make me faster? I'm not fast to begin with; what kind of miracle bike would change that? Because it would be more comfortable? I've already ridden Sugar for 24 hours straight in a cold sleetstorm. Where am I going to find a better test of comfort than that? Because it would make me cooler? I ride a full-suspension, 26"-wheeled, fully-geared aluminum bicycle with stock parts. In the eyes of most of the endurance biking world, I might as well put some Barbie stickers on a Schwinn, that's how cool I am.

No, Sugar and I share something that no one can ever take away. Complacency.


  1. Jill, you are cool. And so's Sugar. Stock parts are on all my bikes. I haven't swapped saddles or gone weight weenie. They're just my ride, just as they are!

  2. My friend let me ride her Gary Fisher bike halfway through a ride this weekend and wow it was amazing, it was so much easier my heart rate just dropped. I immediately wanted to throw my bike in the nearest dumpster, but then I realized: twice the effort = twice the fun. Anybody can ride a 'nice' bike, but it takes something special to keep up on the POS.



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