Monday, February 11, 2008

Back to details

Date: Feb. 9
Mileage: 22.1
February mileage: 159.3
Hours: 2:30
Temperature: 7
Snowfall: 8"

I spent the month of January feeling more and more lost in the big picture of the Iditarod Invitational. Now that last-minute preparations have narrowed my focus back to the little details, I am actually feeling less anxiety. Give it another five days or so. The race starts two weeks from this afternoon.

Geoff and I finished packing up our food drops. Combined, we have 40 pounds of duct-tape-wrapped “food bombs” ready to ship. Among his more interesting additions are two packages of precooked bacon (until about two months ago, Geoff was for the past 10 years a vegetarian), Hammer Perpetuem and 2,700 calories of Reeses Peanut Butter Sticks. I kept my drops simple, knowing that in the survival state endurance cycling induces, monotony, simplicity and precedence are key. My food bomb consists of one pound dried fruit, one pound nuts, 8 oz. sunflower seeds, 5 oz. chocolate, 9 oz. turkey jerky, four Pop Tarts, eight Clif Bars, four Trio bars, 10 fruit leathers, 10 oz. packaged tuna and 9 oz. Wheat Thins (those last two are my checkpoint “treats.”) It also has batteries, chemical warmers and fuel - for a total of about 12,000 calories, 10 pounds gear, and provisions for two-three days.

I also, after too many failed trials, am leaning away from using my Camelbak as my primary hydration source. I will still carry a backpack and a bladder - either my insulated 3-liter Camelbak bladder or noninsulated 6-liter MSR bladder. But I also bought one of those Outdoor Research insulation sleeves and plan to stuff a Nalgene bottle in one of my pogies, then refill it with my bladder. I know the inconvenience of a bottle is a likely path to perpetual dehydration, but it’s still more accessible than a Camelbak with a frozen hose.

I also have a lot of little things to add to Pugsley before I break him down and ship him off to Anchorage for his final overhaul. I will need to have him boxed up and on a FedEx truck by Wednesday morning at the latest.

Beyond that, the taper has started. My training has slowed down and I haven’t even noticed. I feel busier than ever. I was hoping to go for as many rides as I could before I ship Pugsley away, but the recent winds and 8-10 inches of new snow Saturday made cycling impossible everywhere today (the plowed-in road shoulders were even more unrideable than the trails.) Rather than embark on a windblown push-a-thon along the Douglas Highway, I went for a snowshoe hike in the vicinity of the Mount Jumbo trail, breaking my own path and sinking to my knees with every step. It was a trudge. I was drenched in sweat. All around me, billowing pillows of fine powder frosted the landscape with almost confectionary softness. And all I could think about was how I was going to format my schedule so I could completely load up my bike before I completely break it down. Maybe this detail focus isn’t such a good thing after all.

P.S. Don't forget to drop by UltraRob's outdoor gear site for some great deals on fun new toys! Good for you ... good for me!


  1. Good luck wiht your Iditarod thing! I looking fordward you to explain it. Enjoy it very much!

  2. Awesome blog- keep up the good work :)

  3. Hey, Fellow mountain biker and (photo) Journalist in Kansas City. I feel better about our balmy 30 degrees here now! Good like in the race, our season starts in 3 weeks!

  4. dang I'm all excited for you and geoff !!

  5. I KNEW it! Even vegetarians like bacon!

  6. Good list! Watch the CLIF bars though as they freeze very, very solid. Enjoy the eats!

  7. Note To Jill: Frozen Clif Bars can double as tire removers.

  8. Bacon...mmmm. In a perfect world, bacon would be served like steak!

    Good luck and have fun! I sent some cards up to Kathi with the call-in number for MTBCast. We'll cover whatever gets called in. Looking forward to it!

  9. Jill,
    You go girl and show them what a real girl can do!! Love our blog.

    From a fellow cyclist and mountain lover :)

  10. It must be cold up there, but the views are just beautiful. Nice blog!

  11. I've had a blast checking in on your training. It all seems so hard core and inspiring! Best of luck on your adventure. btw...some quick-acting, cheap fuel I use on races are those little honey packets. Whenever I'm at a coffee shop, I shove a few packets in my pocket as I head out the door. Maybe they'll taste good melting in your mouth? :)

  12. Thought of you/your extended riding families.

  13. Re: Frozen Clif Bars

    I was just scolded in an e-mail by the race director himself about these. Kinda funny. For the record, I am well aware how inedible these bars become when they're frozen. During my longer training rides - the coldest of which, full disclosure, was around 0 degrees - I would thaw bars inside my pogies until they were relatively soft. I have been sewing pockets inside my first insulation layer with a plan to store things like bars, lighters and my camera next to my body. May or may not work, but I figure, if we fully expect to be able to keep the temperature of our water above freezing, why is it so unreasonable to expect the same of our snacks?

    Everything else I'm carrying is so low-moisture or crunchy. Don't I deserve a treat?


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