Monday, November 12, 2007

Sun therapy

Date: Nov. 11
Mileage: 17.2
Hours: 1:45
November mileage: 278.2
Temperature upon departure: 35
Rainfall: 0.0"

I woke up this morning to lead legs. Stomped around the house, ate my carbohydrate-and-caffeine breakfast, and couldn't stop the sensation of blood congealing like cement in my veins. Clearly there would be no purposeful exercise this morning. I thought about building a cardboard divider shelf for my piles of winter clothing. I thought about cleaning the bathroom. I thought about reading Geoff's copy of "The World Without Us." I thought about the sunbeams streaming through the still-drawn blinds. I thought about the way the warmth of the sun trickles through clear air. I could probably go out in the 35-degree morning wearing polyester pants and a T-shirt. I thought about visiting the places where summer still lingers. Places best reached with a snow bike.

I shook out my legs some more and slogged over the bridge. The Gastineau Chanel was a stagnant sheet of glass. As a body of water connected to the Pacific Ocean, it's strange to see it so still. Like the world stopped spinning, and where gravity settled is where I stood. Strange to feel so heavy and light at the same time.

Out Thane to the Dupont Trail, a cliffside that holds onto its mossy greenness and thick shade well into November. The sunlight dissipated in the frosty humidity of the rainforest. I finally began to warm up, at least enough to melt some of that seemingly lead-based cement from my legs. Maybe too little too late, with a dozen places to be and no more time or reason to head further south. But for those few moments, everything looked like June. If I closed my eyes, I could almost feel it - as though summer is a state of mind, like tiredness. And suddenly I was lighter on my legs, lighter on top of the mud. Just lighter. And free.

Hit the beach on the way home. A stretch of jarring boulders gave way to perfectly smooth sand. I skirted the surf as it crept up so calmly it was nearly impossible to detect until it was on top of me, like a bathtub slowly filling with water. I returned home cured of my lead legs, feeling like I could go back out and conquer an entire afternoon if given the chance. Not what I expected ... but could it be true? Is the best way to relieve fatigue just to ride it out, ride it out? Or is the best cure simply to spend some time in the sun?


  1. Your writings and Geoff's trip make me realize how important the Sun is to our mood.

  2. I considered saying that I ran for 20 minutes in the gym which cleared my post-race legs this morning but then I realised it was sunny, looking out the window.

    Completely inconclusive.

    Though I do miss the snow. Keep it up.

  3. Remember to rest.... I do love a good sit on a sunny day in the park with a good book =)

  4. and jim most certainly has heard the term; seasonal affective disorder

  5. So I'm at a conference at USA Cycling the other day and when I close a window on my laptop I hear a gasp behind me. "Where IS that?" On my screen was one of your photos of the glacier. Turns out Lisa, who works at USA Cycling in Colorado Springs, is from Juneau. Small world, eh?

  6. Absolutely great photos, as always.

    I get depressed when I don't get outside, let alone little sun too boot. I'd be one of the weak minded folks that would loose it in an Alaskan winter.

    On a side note, I really, really wish there was a reason to own a Pugsley here in Va. They just look like the bigwheels of mountain biking, and who doesn't like riding a bigwheel?!

  7. What's your game plan for training for a minus 40 or minus 50 degree snap in the interior? I've always wondered about that myself when mulling the Iditasport. Would you keep riding or would you hole up and wait it out? How do you fix a flat in those conditions, or even operate your cook stove? I'm curious about this part of your preparation.

  8. Spectacular photos and great writing. Running across your blog was a fortuitous find for me. Plus, hearing about your daily riding conditions makes me feel that I have absolutely no excuse to drive instead of ride.

  9. I think that sunshine has a power that contains the value of treatment that affect both human health, physically and spiritually


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