Sunday, August 26, 2007

Signs of fall

Date: Aug. 26
Mileage: 34.5
August mileage: 811.6
Temperature upon departure: 52
Rainfall: .03"

The first sign of fall has settled on Juneau. I remember living in places where the first evidence of fall was a cloud of visible breath in the chilled morning air, a dusting of white powder on the mountain ridges or a single yellow aspen leaf in a sea of green. But in Juneau, I think the most prevalent sign of early fall is widespread salmon stink. Having reproduced and then died en masse, their rotting carcasses choke the rivers and line the shores, where they're haphazardly dragged over trails by bears and tossed into the road by seagulls. When I hear the crunch of brittle bones beneath my wheels and breathe in the suddenly omnipresent aroma of city dump, I know the first snow flurries are not far away.

I am now approaching day 10 since I returned from my bike trip, and I have yet to gain back the feeling in the tip of my left pinkie finger. I'm beginning to become a little worried. I've heard it takes a while for some people's digits to "wake up" after spending a long time propped on a bicycle, but this has never happened to me before ... even after a 24-hour race. It may be a result of the Ergon Grips, which may just not be suitable for my hand placement on long rides. It is hard to quantify the effect of equipment when riding 33-36 hours in a 48-hour period. Maybe losing one's sense of touch is inevitable in extreme conditions. Still, if it doesn't come back soon, I'm going to have to relearn how to type.

I am still feeling the effects of the ride, namely in my pinkie, and also in my right heel, which went into full-blown rebellion and locked up on day 2. I can't help but be concerned about even the most minor, nagging pains in my heel because I have no idea if it's one of those things that might become chronic. I went out hard today and felt great, until the heel pain hit, and then I overcompensated and soft-pedalled home. I miss the days when I could trust my body, but it does seem I have nothing to gain right now by pushing through even small amounts of pain.

The misadventures continue. At least I don't have to worry about getting lost in the woods. All those sun-dried salmon snacks could sustain me for days.