Sunday, September 16, 2007

Before the storm

Date: Sept. 14
Mileage: 39.6
September mileage: 342.2
Temperature upon departure: 53
Rainfall: 1.42"

I managed to get in a mountain bike ride Friday before another wide swath of nastiness moved through. I told my friend Geoff Kirsh that I'd meet him and his friend, Ethan, at the Herbert Glacier Trail at 12:15 p.m. I lulled through my typical morning routine until, at 10:30, the thought occurred to me that riding a mountain bike 27 miles was going to take a bit longer than the commute by car.

I stuffed a stack of gear in my camelbak that, regrettably,
did not include lunch, and darted out the door at 10:35. The sheer unlikeliness of my punctuality, combined with images of my friends waiting impatiently at a trailhead, propelled me swiftly forward. I was amazed to find that I'm no slower on a mountain bike than I am on my road bike. This probably says a lot more about the quality of the road bike than it does about my prowess on a mountain bike, but, either way, when their car passed me with less than a mile to go, I felt like I had just won a race.

We did a really mellow ride out to Herbert Glacier. Geoff's friend Ethan admitted he hadn't been on a bike since he was a teenager, and it was funny to watch him navigate the smooth gravel trail ... lots of erratic swerving, frantic pedaling and long periods of coasting on the flats. They say you never forget how to ride a bike, but that must include a fairly liberal definition of "riding." I stuck to his wheel for two seconds and nearly took a dive. After that, I hung well back, barely pedaling myself.

It was all in good fun though; it's not always about the bike. Mostly, it's about the bike. But sometimes it's about spending time with your friends, too.

The windy rainy nastiness moved in during our ride back. We didn't escape without getting wet. The weather effectively wind-blasted our barbecue plans; it's hard to accept that summer is over. Today Geoff and I spent the morning working on Pugsley, and then I went for an hourlong swim before work. I haven't been swimming in months. It was interesting to discover that I am in much worse shape for it now than I was when I could barely walk. It's a great workout, though. I'd integrate more swimming into my routine, but I already feel like I have a lot going on.


  1. Jill,I really enjoy reading your blog, and I marvel at the beautiful photos of the Alaskan landscape. Sadly, my only visit to Alaska has been as a cruise visit up the inside passage, so I have missed much of the wonderful scenery you document. Great job...keep going! Best wishes, Bilbo.

  2. Sometimes those mellow rides with friends are the best kind, gives a good break from training.

    It is amazing the different muscles used in swimming vs biking, I'm finding that out too.

    Nice trail pic, cool.

  3. Your pictures are stunning! Don't know about becoming an Alaskan, but visiting is on the list:)

  4. I always worry about slowing other people down - it can be a real drag when you want to go faster and can't, and it makes the slower person feel bad, too; but it is cool that you take it slow (community-service like) with other people once in a while...because people who never slow down for others, well, usually aren't very nice... :)

  5. It takes skill to ride slow, especially on technical trails (I know you were only on gravel...but still). Everyone should do it once in a while.


Feedback is always appreciated!