Thursday, February 21, 2008

Leaving Juneau

Date: Feb. 21
Mileage: 30.1
February mileage: 297.7
Hours: 2:00
Temperature: 40

Head finally (nearly) clear, preparations finally (nearly) complete, I went for one last ride in Juneau. I began to question the wisdom of my (nearly) complete taper, with my legs pumping endless fire into the (nearly) spring air. I wondered if maybe I am too rested, too complacent, too fat and lazy for the daunting day that now is just below the horizon. But today I felt like I had a hundred million miles in my legs, and I rode that feeling effortlessly to the end of the North Douglas Highway.

I stopped on the Mendenhall Lake wetlands to take one last look across the Channel. The valley stretched toward the city, the thin strip of familiarity through a crush of wilderness. I let my eyes drift up to the ice cap and linger on the great unknown beyond. I felt like this would be the last time I would ever see this view of Juneau - not because I am really overdramatic like that, but because I feel like, no matter what, I will return from Anchorage in two weeks as a different version of myself. It seemed like I should say goodbye.

I hope I will be able to post from Anchorage before the race, but just in case I don't have a chance, I wanted to leave the Web sites where information about the race will be posted. It begins at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24. The best source is here: The Iditarod Trail Invitational Latest News. Someone will post the time and date each racer comes through each checkpoint. There also are sometimes comments about racers' and trail conditions. There will also be a daily report from MTBCast about the race leaders. As I understand it, there will also be updates at

Thanks again to all who are following along.