Friday, August 31, 2007

Lucky day

Date: Aug. 30
Mileage: 83.4
August mileage: 987.9
Temperature upon departure: 58
Rainfall: .05"

A couple of nights ago, there was an eclipse of the full moon. Then there was a meteor shower. A couple of planets probably aligned in strange ways, too, because somehow, against the odds, I talked Geoff into going for a bike ride on the road today. And not just any ride on the road - an 80-mile ride on the road, complete with a forecast calling for a 90 percent chance of showers and a south wind that could knock a person off their bike - which at some point was going to have to be fought head on.

"It will be so fun to ride to Echo Cove," I said. And, of course, he didn't believe me for a second. Geoff would ride a mountain bike to the ends of the earth, but put him on skinny tires without any camping gear attached, and he becomes bored within fractions of a mile. As we left town with the south wind pushing us along at 20 mph, no pedaling required, he said "maybe we shouldn't ride all the way to the end of the road."

But the miles rolled along as miles often do. We talked about everything out there ... 24-hour Worlds, the atrocious eating habits of people who aren't us, movies that Geoff likes and I hate, and vice versa (which pretty much covers all movies.) It was great to have someone to talk to out there. I do so much cycling by myself. Ok, every time I go out on a bike, I'm by myself. I consider it my own sanctuary of solitude. But every once in a while, it's nice to have someone to share in a laugh about the strange foods that pass as "vegetables" in America, and geek out on far-away endurance races until, suddenly, you've pedaled 42 miles with no idea how you got there.

I tried two new foods today that I decided were more disgusting than their hype merited ... Clif Shot Bloks (Margarita variety ... They taste like citrus-flavored stale vegetable oil, and that is just wrong); and Gatorade flavored Jelly Bellys (Fruit punch Sport Beans. Ew.) I maintain my very subjective belief that electrolytes should not be mixed with any kind of sugar, which is why I was so excited to discover Nuun on this ride. Nuun is just an electrolyte tablet that you throw in your water, and it dissolves like Alka Seltzer. It's sweet, but just barely (like 3 calories), so it takes the edge off all that salt without turning it into a sickly sweet, inedible energy food. Now I can continue to eat food I actually like (fruit leather) and still get that replenishing shot of electrolytes. Score another one for lucky day Aug. 30.

Even the weather forecast - which, most amazingly, was for the most part accurate - worked out in our favor. That 90 percent chance of showers was actually something that is a very rare phenomenon for Southeast Alaska ... thunderstorms. All around us, dark clouds would gather and churn. We'd cross over pavement that was drenched in deep puddles from a passing downpour, but, somehow we spent the afternoon riding in sunlight. How every single one of those scattered downpours missed us is beyond me, but they did. And somehow, we came home warm, dry, and bathed in rainbows.

The headwind did become harsh, but Geoff and I had each other to help share the full brunt of it. Geoff cooked himself a little toward the end and had to unipedal the last three miles after his IT band seized up. But I think I may have finally solved my heel problems. I guess that part's just lucky for me.

Only 12.1 more miles to go.