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!