Thursday, December 06, 2007

Eight hours in photos

Date: Dec. 6
Mileage: 97.4
Hours: 8:15
December mileage: 187.1
Temperature upon departure: 20

Some bloggers that I read have been participating in this cool project called "12 Hours in Photos," in which they take a picture each hour for 12 hours in a typical day. I had this plan to do a long ride - at least eight hours - this weekend, and I wasn't all that excited about it. So I thought, why not do that once-an-hour photo thing? It will give me something to look forward to, and help pass the time on a long ride. As it turned out, I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day of riding. Temperatures ranged from about 15 to 23 degrees, with partly cloudy skies and light winds. I felt strong, and made lots of little stops, and came home with a photo essay: "My training ride, Dec. 6, 2007"

9 a.m. Crossing the Juneau-Douglas bridge shortly after sunrise.

10 a.m.: Venturing out onto the Mendenhall Lake to weave through an iceberg playground. My nubbins of Kenda studs surprised me with their grippiness on glare ice, but I didn't really have the ability to stop once I got going, so I had to take it pretty slow. Still, it was crazy fun. If it wasn't for the bone-chilling cold that crept in as I was coasting along at 8 mph, I probably would have stayed out there all day.

11 a.m. I had enough fun at Mendenhall Lake that I only made it as far as Auke Rec after more than two hours of riding.

Noon: For lunch, a chilled PB&J.

1 p.m. The coastal mud flats of the Lynn Canal were coated in all sorts of beautiful ice formations. It was here I began to realize that I dressed way too lightly for the long day. I need to remember that what works for two hours won't necessarily cut it for eight. Stopping for just a few minutes to wrestle my Camelbak nozzle out of my jackets or take a picture would leave me instantly uncomfortably chilled, and it would usually take 15-20 minutes of riding to return to normal again. It wasn't uncomfortable enough to discourage stopping altogether, but I did begin to neglect eating and drinking despite my knowledge that doing so would only make me feel colder.

2 p.m. Moving south again after a short time in the northland.

3 p.m. A subdued sunset and a subtle feeling of nausea. The calorie deficit I'd been running finally caught up to me. I stopped to remove the Camelbak that was deeply buried in my layers by then, and removed my current favorite anti-bonking therapy: Wheat Thins. I threw the whole baggie in my handlebar poggies and munched at will.

4 p.m.: I took this photo in the midst of a small disaster. Throughout the day, my Camelbak nozzle kept freezing. I gnawed at the end in an effort to thaw it, then buried it deeper in my layers. The chewing process must have slowly loosened the nozzle from the hose, and right around 4 p.m. it popped off. By the time the water seeped through a fleece jacket and a bicycle jersey to soak my skin enough to notice, I had lost the nozzle and most of my water. The lost water had completely coated the top of my right leg and one shoe. Luckily, it froze before it soaked through. The nozzle was leaky and crappy and I'm glad that it's gone, but its absence forced me to hold the hose to the wind until it froze enough to keep more water from pouring through. I hate Camelbaks.

5 p.m.: Yeah, there's just not much to look at once it gets dark. I made up a lot of lost time in the last hour because having a wet torso coaxed me to fire the engine up a notch or two. I wasn't too thrilled to be out of water. By the time I neared home, all of my fleece layers had frozen together. But I still felt warm; in fact, I felt fantastic. And I took home some valuable lessons. I have got to get a better water system dialed in. And next time, I will follow my own advice and dress to take things off, not wish they were there.