Friday, October 12, 2007

Day 30 of rain

Date: Oct. 12
Mileage: 35.4
October mileage: 238.4
Temperature upon departure: 45
Rainfall: .22"

Well, it's official. The last day that Juneau received no precipitation was Sept. 12, making today the anniversary of a solid month of rain, and counting. Thirty days of rain. Straight. Thirty. Days.

In those 30 days, 15.4 inches of rain has fallen on West Juneau. For October, the average monthly precipitation in Seattle is 3.2 inches. It's also 3.2 in Syracuse, New York. Atlanta sees 3.0 inches. In Anchorage, it's 2.0 inches. In Minneapolis, it's 1.5 inches. Salt Lake City has 1.4 inches. Lincoln, Nebraska, has 1.2. San Fransisco only sees 1.1. Denver gets 1.0 inches. Phoenix gets 0.6 and Las Vegas enjoys the light drizzle of 0.2 inches of monthly rain. In Juneau, we get more than 15 inches in a month. Fifteen! Just trying to help keep everything in perspective.

All this rain means the Dredge Lake trails could use a good dredging, but that didn't stop me from heading out that way to weave through the moraine jungle and test my new GPS. I had promised Geoff (the person who cleans out my hubs) that I wouldn't attempt any more BikeSwims. But it's so much fun to launch into swamps that were once trails and frantically spin my way out before my back tire bogs down in the mud. Puddles are pretty much impossible to avoid this time of year anyway. (Well, those quarter-mile-long puddles in the middle of nowhere are probably avoidable. But why must the nagging conscience of bike repairs always hover over my shoulder and try to wreck my fun?)

I spent so much time gazing at the GPS screen that I narrowly avoided more than one head-on collision with a tree. I've never used GPS before - what a cool gadget. Not only can it tell exactly where I am in this big world, but it can draw a perfect line of the path I've followed and show it to me on a map of Southeast Alaska. Then it will tell me how much I've climbed, how fast I've been going, and how far I've come - all pretty close to accurate, based on comparisons with my odometer. All that information from free-falling satellites hundreds of miles over my head. It scares me just a little, and intrigues me at the same time.

Is it just me, or are these Dredge Lake beavers a bit too ambitious?

I was going to ride the Perseverance Trail this afternoon with Geoff, but I came home from the first ride chilled and ravenous and a little more wiped out than 35 miles on the mountain bike used to make me. I definitely have less endurance now than I had in August. At the same time, I noticed that I've become a little stronger. Today I was able to power up some of the rooty technical sections of Dredge Lake that I've never cleared before. Maybe it's true, the classic training mantra: You can have power, or you can have endurance, but you can't have both.

But after a day of trying to make sense of my new Garmin, I think I like Honorio's mantra the best ... "Sometimes is too hard to meet with yourself, even with the best GPS, (a mí me sucede muchas veces)."