Friday, December 28, 2007

Ten hours in photos

Date: Dec. 27
Mileage: 111.5
Hours: 10:00
December mileage: 694.9
Temperature upon departure: 38
Precipitation: 0"

I had a good ride today - first of the winter to break double-digit hours and triple-digit miles. I felt really strong except for two small things. But more on that later. Now, for my weekly photo essay:

8:30 a.m.: My only big wildlife sighting of the day: phosphorescent deer.

9:30 a.m.: North Douglas. I was again disappointed by the lack of sunrise.

10:30 a.m.: Looking toward West Juneau. After two hours of riding, my house is in that shot somewhere.

11:30 a.m.: Obligatory glacier shot.

12:30 p.m.: Auke Rec.

1:30 p.m.: Basking in the 30 minutes of sunlight that reached me today. I could see sunlight on the mountain tops for most of this "mostly cloudy" day, but the sun was always too low on the horizon for any light to touch the ground.

2:30 p.m.: A dirty-looking sunset way out toward the end of the road. This "increasing daylight" thing is happening way to slowly.

3:30 p.m.: The Glacier Highway was entirely covered in packed snow with patches of glare ice. Three times my back tire slipped out from under me and kicked several inches to the side. Luckily, it was my rear wheel, so I was able to regain control of the bike without falling. I was really hoping these studded tires would make it through the season, but it's becoming more obvious that they're not up to the job.

4:30 p.m.: The obligatory self portrait.

5:30 p.m.: It's still pretty nice outside.

6:30 p.m.: Celebrating my first triple-digit ride since August with the last obtainable sips of my Nuun slushy.

A few quick thoughts about the ride: I am definitely having some pain in my left knee. It was never too sharp today and didn't seem to stiffen up much afterward, but it caused enough concern that I opted out of pushing "big gears" pretty early; and for most of the ride, I kept my left foot out of the pedal cage so I could push the back of the platform using my heel. (The ability to move my foot around on the pedal for comfort was always a huge bonus of platforms when I was rehabilitating my right knee, and one of the reasons I will probably never be a total convert to clipless.) It is strange to have my "bad" knee suddenly feel like the strong one. I'm going to have to monitor this left knee pretty closely in the coming weeks to make sure it doesn't find its way down the bad knee's path.

Also, this is a little embarrassing, but I frost-nipped the sides of both pinky toes. It was really, really, really minor. But for as mild as the temperatures were (20s), definitely embarrassing. The mistake I made was wearing a thin neoprene sock - which I use fairly often during wet weather in the summer - as a "liner" layer. This sock is really tight, and even though my toes weren't constricted in the shoe, they were fairly constricted within that neoprene sock, which doesn't stretch much. I noticed around hour eight that my toes felt tingly. But since my feet didn't feel cold at all, nor had I ever noticed any feeling of cold, I figured I could ride out the last two hours. Sure enough, when I got home, I had white patches on the surface of two pretty swollen pinkies. They came back to having feeling again over the course of the evening. None of my other toes were affected at all. But a valuable lesson to learn - the onset of frostbite doesn't always feel "cold." The sensation to watch for and take seriously is the tingling. Circulation is key.

Anyway, beyond those two things, I'm pretty happy with how training is progressing. I feel much less thrashed after this ride than last weeks, despite the extra hour and 40-something extra miles. I just have to watch my knee. And hide those socks!


  1. Hey, on your knee stuff. More and more today, things are unadjustable. I very much recommend messing around with bike position that works for you, not a formula out of a book (that's a good place to start, but you need to make it work for you). I am very duck footed. I actually modify my cleats so that I can mount them at an angle on my shoes and I use "pedal extenders" so my heels don't hit the crank. In the old days I used to rig my toe straps by threading the inside "side" through the back plate of the pedal, so that when I tightened them, my foot slid away from the crank. I've also always done something to tilt the inside of my foot up. In the old days that meant filing away some of the new cleat. Now that means a washer mounted on the inside mounting point of the cleat to make it slightly higher. You get the idea.


  2. AWESOME JOB Jill! Well, I hope your knee doesn't give you any serious problems. Maybe adjusting seat positions, as Nick suggested will help.

    Nice long ride, Hard Woman!! Few *real* ice bikers have escaped the wrath of ice nip! ;o)

  3. nice work.. way to throw down a century in the cold. i love the photo montage as well.. plus there is a great nuun shot in there too! we appreciate the love!

  4. Hey Jill,

    I came across your site, and love it. So, I posted your site on my site, see at:

    I also ride in the winter, here in the Chicagoland area using my road bike. Though the streets need to be pretty clear of snow. But that's impressive, a century in those conditions. You're an inspiration to those who think they need to stop riding, when winter comes.

    Ride Safe!

  5. Now I am many wheat thins will it take to do 350 miles.....???

  6. This June when you have those looooooong spring days, are you going to do 22 hours in photos?

  7. Just got turned on to your blog from Cyclelicious. I was wondering about the bike you ride as I am thinking about getting into winter riding here in NE. It looks like a Pugsly but it's hard to see cause of the cargo units. Looks like those tires are really big also, do you run them with low psi?

    I got a bunch of questions. ;-)

  8. Hi Jill,

    Sorry to hear about your knee acting up. The first question I always ask an athlete is: how much do you stretch? In addition to proper bike fit, flexibility is a huge issue for cyclists. A really common cause of knee pain can be a tight IT band...which is also a common complaint amoung runners. I'm not trying to say you don't know about all this...but I just thought I'd throw it out there.

    Best of luck with your training...and the knee!


  9. Jill - you are amazing! Killer blog...

  10. Thanks for suggestions. I should probably find a way to get a bike fit one of these days. The only bike shop in town doesn't really have the expertise to do them, though, and I'm not exactly sure fit would make much difference in a snow bike, where positions vary so much. I'm beginning to think this problem may have something to do with cold.

    Moo moo - thanks for the link. I am going to try to update my link list soon.

    Stryder ... I had a dream last night that I forgot to pack food for the Ultrasport, so I was raiding somebody's cupboard and stockpiling their Wheat Thins. I don't think they had enough, though.

    Mended ... one of my bikes is a Pugsley. I also ride a totally inapprorpiate FS Sugar with studded tires when conditions are icy.

  11. Hey Jill, interested in being a part of the next 12 hours in photos project? (


Feedback is always appreciated!