Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Pray for snow

Date: Nov. 19
Mileage: 28.6
Hours: 2:15
November mileage: 475.7
Temperature upon departure: 35
Rainfall: 0.06"

I spent some time today scouting the Fish Creek area in hopes of locating future winter trails, should snow ever finally take hold in Juneau. While mashing over faint foot paths that cross slightly-frozen bogs, I found several tasty possibilities. But who knows what their conditions will be once the snow settles? I am actually considering joining the Juneau Snowmobile Club, so I can advocate for grooming and receive information about local trails. I can already imagine how I'll explain myself when they ask me what kind of snowmobile I drive ... "Well, it's gray, and it has a two-stroke engine with extremely low emissions, and big fat tires, and, well, it's a bicycle ..."

With no new snow for a week and no snow anywhere in the forecast, it is beginning to look like Juneau is going to have one of those "normal" warm winters. The cyclists I meet are absolutely thrilled. Their road bikes remain useful in November and the relative dryness compared to fall has them out in numbers I haven't seen in months. I join the skiers on the sidelines, staring anxiously at the brown slopes and praying that a few of these flurries take root. I don't need snow to be happy. I need snow to survive. Training for a 350-mile race on a snowy trail means training on snowy trails. Without snow, I'm just biding my time and have fun while splashing through half-frozen beaver ponds, for what that's worth. But as I look at my new snow bike and imagine all of things I have yet to learn about it, I'm beginning to worry splashy fun may not be enough.

But what can I do about it? Lucky for me, I don't need snow to simply ride my bicycle. Cycling is one of those beautiful sports that can be enjoyed year round ... snow, sleet, wind, rain, mud, wind, and even, on rare occasions, sun. Come to think of it ... there are few conditions that can prevent a person from riding a bicycle, if a person is determined enough to ride. Unless, that is, the Juneau Snowmobile Club decides to start posting "No Bicycles" signs on the trails. Then I might just have to take up Nordic skiing.


  1. How can one live in the North Country & not ski?

  2. just be glad you don't live in sitka. there are folks in sitka that train for this race, and juneau tends to get waaaay more snow than sitka.

  3. There's no such thing as poor riding condtions - only poor clothing choices.

  4. Why is it assumed that everyone who lives in snowy country need to enjoy skiing? I don't assume that everyone who lives in Hawaii loves to surf. But, alas. Maybe someday I'll delve into the reasons why I have been yet unable to get the hang of the death sticks.

    So Anon ... who lives in Sitka that trains for this race (besides Steve R.)? I'd love to talk to them about cycling in the Southeast.

  5. Jill,

    Keep an eye out for all opportunities. Crafting a personality appealing to readers, can leave you short on the fullness of life. find a boyfriend, make love, get on the sticks, learn to orgasm. But then again the accounts here might not actually be the real Jill.

  6. Whatever Confuc-ass.

    Jill, you listen here now. If you can't buy boiled peanuts, it ain't the southeast. North-Southeast maybe.

  7. So basically you're saying you want to read a skiing site that has Penthouse forum type articles? I think you came to the wrong site man. She has a boyfriend anyhow: http://akrunning.blogspot.com

    What a lame comment. If Jill was a guy, would you have even considered writing that comment?

  8. Jill,

    I really appreciate your prevailing themes on this blog. My gut says the accounts here are the real Jill but in no way do I assume your "blog personality" is suppposed to represent the total Jill. I enjoy it for what it's worth and have complete faith that you are much more than what you choose to share on this forum.

    Juancho, we need to send ole Jill some boiled peanuts southeast style because she's all about nibbling along the way now and there is no better food than a fresh green boiled peanut.

  9. Aucillas - Maybe there is more...I'm sure there is...but I think a single-minded approach is necessary if you are going to do something like Iditabike. It's not some joke...you can die on this route...and I think preparing for it almost requires a zen-like focus with just a few respites here and there. Jill is in the midst of preparing for what I think is the biggest race of her life, and her blog corresponds to that. That's what makes it cool.

  10. So far the only condition I have found that is not suitable for ME on a bike is ice...but then again, I do not have a pugsly and I bruise too easily.

    You should take the BRC up on the boiled peanuts. Yum!

  11. Wow, Anonymous, I never imagined myself as a blog personality. That comment would almost be flattering if it wasn't so weird.

    And, for your information, I do live a very full life, drawing up fake landscapes in Photoshop and writing wordy fiction about cycling in the rain. I actually live in New Jersey, and for fun I like to tip over shopping carts in the Wal-mart parking lot.

    I thought it was commen knowledge that smart bloggers never write about their job, their friends, or their relationship, lest they want to lose all of them. What does that leave me to blog about? Oh yeah, cycling. Call me single-track minded.

    But really, enough about me already. What is your name?

    ... boiled peanuts? Isn't that what they make peanut butter out of?

  12. "Cycling is one of those beautiful sports that can be enjoyed year round ... snow, sleet, ..."


  13. Boiled peanut info: it's the texture (kind of reminds me of Edimame) and the salt that makes them so good.

    Love your blog, by the way. It's inspirational.

  14. Love the description of the snowmobile! People frequently ask me if my bike has a motor (it's a bit large), and I tell them that it has "an organically top fuelled, 1/8 horse V-twin hemi." I figure that if the weight lifting types can refer to their arms as "guns," I can call my legs a hemi. Rubber side down! Val


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