Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Not pretty

Date: July 9
Mileage: 38.2
July mileage: 244.2
Temperature upon departure: 51

The day started out so well. Drizzling rain tapered off early. I rode a light tailwind out to the valley and managed some strong intervals on the Glacier spur road. Mileage increased rapidly, and just as I was thinking “this whole summer cycling thing is way too easy,” the brunt of the storm blew in.

It was the kind of storm that earns its own regional designation. I think in Juneau they’re called "Taku Blasts" or something equally ominous. But no matter where you are, these storms always feel the same to a cyclist - headwinds that suck the air out of your lungs, sideways rain that could pierce a helmet, and an unexpected drop in temperature. I fought the storm like an outnumbered conquistador all the way home, knowing defeat was imminent because I was going to have to maintain my early pace just to make it to work on time.

Do you ever look at yourself in the mirror after a ride like this? I try not to, but it’s like trying to look away when you pass a particularly disgusting lump of road kill. The bloodshot eyes caught my attention first - swollen and framed by dark shadows. My entire face was checkered with blotchy red patches and spatters of mud; wet hair clung to my forehead and dangled in snarled strands over my neck. To top it all off, I had a stream of snot oozing down my upper lip. I didn’t even notice it before because my entire face was numb, like my hands, but I still know attractive when I see it.

I always wonder how much of this image lingers even after I’m showered and blow-dried and sitting at my desk in my khaki pants and turtleneck. Can my co-workers tell how I’ve spent my morning? Is it obvious to anyone that just an hour earlier, my face looked like a half-rotten salmon laboring for breath in the shallow end of a creek? I may never know.

14 comments:

  1. Very descriptive image of snot. Well done!

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  2. The bloodshot eyes caught my attention first - swollen and framed by dark shadows. My entire face was checkered with blotchy red patches and spatters of mud; wet hair clung to my forehead and dangled in snarled strands over my neck. To top it all off, I had a stream of snot oozing down my upper lip.

    If ever there was a Kodak moment...

    And opportunity for a cool blog photo, btw ;-)

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  3. Pretty!!! For me it's the salt that crusts above my brows looking like sand dunes. And I stay flushed for hours!

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  4. I just started reading your blog about two weeks ago and it's completely awesome. For me my face becomes flushed for like 12 hours (it seems) after crap days on the bike and I get mocked mercilessly.

    Nick from Chicago.

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  5. We have entered casually and have remained awhile, congratulations. Regards from Catalonia - Spain

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  6. Now that finally sounds like an Alaskan ride! Sounds kinda fun too. I'll trade you a few of our 387-plus days of boring old sunny weather per year for a little of that.

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  7. What, no pictures of the patches, mud and snot? That way, we can verify if the image does in fact, linger! :^)
    More power to you for finishing the ride; I would have called for a sag.

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  8. yes, pictures please.

    i always seem to look older after a really tramatic ride.

    my wrinkles look more pronounced with the salt and mud.

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  9. Cool blog!

    I was wondering, would you please tell me how I can make my blog's archives look like yours? I would guess there's something I can paste into the template to organize it like that, but I can't figure out how to do it.

    Thanks, and keep up the good work. :-)

    CCLCM Student
    http://cclcmstudent.blogspot.com/

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  10. Hugh R.6:34 PM

    Hi Jill!
    I'm just wondering arround and found your blog. It's a cool piece of good reading and pic's.
    H.
    issoqueriastu@hotmail.com

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  11. I usually just show up to work looking like that so I have no doubt that the image lingers. Better to know for sure.

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  12. What an attractive mental image you convey!
    You know you love the feeling from the ride, no matter how you look.
    What's up with the stays on your bike? They look bent!

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  13. Yeah ... pictures.

    I am definitely not secure enough in my own self image to post such a ghastly self portrait on the World Wide Web. Yikes.

    I don't know why the stays on my bike are shaped like that. I think it may have something to do with accomodating a bicycle rack, since it was marketed as a touring bike.

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  14. Jill:
    I think the stays are shaped that way to accomadate larger tires and to provide some "give" in the frame at the rear. That is the typical reason you see that in MTB and road bikes with carbon rear triangles.
    Of course, I could be completely wrong too! :^)

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