Date: Dec. 8
December mileage: 209.3
Temperature upon departure: 32
I spent nearly three hours this morning grinding away at 22 miles of trails, beach sand and a fair amount of road. Everything was covered in about an inch and a half of wet snow that increased to more than three inches by the end of the ride. That's not exactly a lot, and I tried not to think anything of it ... even as the hours passed and the miles crept along and I ground my legs furiously for traction through the wet, sticky slop. My quads are still burning.
Snow riding hands out some hard lessons, and its time to wend my way around the learning curve, again. Every season, I start school with a new bike. You'd think snow-riding on the Pugsley would just come naturally, being the tank that it is, but it has its own issues. Its slack turning makes it harder to control around sharp, slippery corners, and the lack of tread in the tires has a hard time gripping in the sloppy mixures of snow, slush and mud that are so prevelant in Juneau. I spent a lot of time playing with the tire pressure, until I finally just let enough go to find the control that had been eluding me all morning long. I was also making loops on a small trail system, and by that point had doubled over my own lines enough to leave a thin semblence of a groomed track; that probably helped, too.
This was only my third or fourth "snow ride" of the season, but I just wasn't all that into it today. I'm missing the cold and sun. Temperatures are forecast to just keep warming. This snow isn't likely to stick around long, although there's already more than six inches on the ground from today's storm. But what an incredible workout. Despite the skidding and pedal mashing, I could not come to grips with the idea of two measly inches of snow getting the better of me, and I pushed really hard. I think I'm more tired now than I was after riding nearly 100 miles on Thursday. Of course, that might have something to do with riding nearly 100 miles on Thursday.
In other news, I talked to the friendly people at NPR's Bryant Park Project again. Interview No. 3 is located at this link. I'm also writing a weekly update for the radio show's blog. It's basically just a condensed version of this blog, with some editor-injected humor. The blog is at this link: "Biking the Iditarod." I hope you enjoy it!