Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Mellow hikes and bikes

As I was rolling into Skagway on Friday, I remember feeling on top of the world, still stoking a decent reserve of energy, and thinking "I could keep doing this ... tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day."

Who knows? Maybe I could have kept going at that rate. But it's funny ... when you set these specific goals for yourself, your mind says "time to stop," and your body says "OK. Stop I shall." And that's it. It's like irreversible shutdown.

So the past few days have been a lazy sort of slog through the fog. I don't have any residual soreness from my long ride, but I think my mind is just tired. I went out for a short ride yesterday and just couldn't amp it up. It never hurt ... it just never had any fire. Also, similar to the week after the 24 Hours of Light, my job also has chosen an inopportune time to became particularly high-stress. There isn't much left to me but fumes; I feel like I burn those well, but a high-performance vehicle I'm not.

I've ambled along a couple of mellow hikes that have been really nice, though ... social walks in the woods with friends; actually getting out just to "get out." It's a nice way to start out the next month. My aim is to become a more proficient hiker. I'm planning to hike the Grand Canyon from the south rim to the north with my dad in late September. Before I moved to Alaska, this dayhike was becoming an annual fall excursion for us. I've completed the trail in worse shape than I'm in right now, but I definitely have some concerns for this year. For one, my heat acclimatization is awful right now (Since I nearly passed out in 90 degrees last week, I figure I'll need at least six gallons of water to survive 100 degrees.) For two, walking downhill seems to be the main holdout of my old knee injury. I'm far more worried about the prospect of pounding down 6,000 feet in elevation than I was about a 370-mile bike ride. So this month is going to be about more quad strengthening, and more hiking to get used to that motion (although hiking in Juneau, where single miles often gain/lose 1,500-2,000 feet in elevation, takes downhill strides to a whole new level.) The inevitable gallons of rain mean there will still be plenty of biking, but I have a new focus this month. I'm actually pretty excited about it. Health will be mine.