Date: Dec. 16
December mileage: 406.9
Temperature upon departure: 35
I did quite a bit of Internet research tonight regarding my travel/training options for this winter, and I've drawn the conclusion that I am officially trapped in Juneau until Feb. 21, 2008. People who advocate building a road that connects Juneau with the real world said the state ferry system was useless, but I didn't know they meant it. I even agreed to work Christmas and New Years just to cash in on a four-day weekend in early January, only to discover I might find one boat to Skagway during that period, but I wouldn't be able to return until sometime in 2010.
I briefly considered a flight to Fairbanks, but for what it would cost, I'd probably be better off buying some wool base layers and a pair of waterproof pants that don't have duct-tape patches across the backside. It's a bit frustrating because I had this whole "cold-weather" cycling trip planned since I started training in October, and now I know it's not going to happen. I probably should have researched it earlier, but I just assumed there would be a boat for me when I needed one. (It appears the Marine Highway all but shuts down during the winter.)
Geoff has insinuated before that he can feel Juneau's isolation closing in on him like a cold fist. Sometimes I feel it, too.
But I had a good ride today. Conditions were really icy, but I rode as hard as I felt my lungs could manage in the cold wind. I was able to keep my speed mostly above 15 mph, except on short stretches of bike paths that were covered in several inches of clumpy debris from plowed roads; I also brought my average speed down quite a bit once I attempted trail riding at the glacier, where I did a lot of 2.5 mph walking. It felt good to put in a sustained hard effort. I died a little toward the end, after not drinking enough because my water bottle had become completely coated in disgusting gray goo, and not eating enough because I hadn't brought anything with me to eat. But when I pulled up to the house with my lungs still searing and my legs pumping hot lead, I could almost taste the success of a hard ride well executed, and I knew it was going to be a good day.