Friday, February 29, 2008

Report from Nikolai

Sorry to everyone for the concern.

I am doing the best that I can. It probably seems that I have slowed way down but that has mostly been my way of dealing with the cold and being out here in Interior Alaska by myself, which is causing some anxiety and has made it hard to sleep even when I am stopped.

I took a hard fall at the Post River waterfall (the trail actually goes up a waterfall) and pulled my right hip flexer muscle. This has made it really painful to push my bike uphill, and my pace over the millions of small hills before the Farewell Burn was downright glacial ... take three laboring steps and stop, repeat. Luckily, it is pretty flat from here on out. Hopefully I can get through this without further injury.

Cold weather has been a struggle. I bivied just below Rainy Pass one night as I pushed my bike through the knee-deep snow for 45 miles. My thermometer bottomed out at 20 below. I bivied again last night at Sullivan Creek when I kept literally falling asleep and falling off my bike. I woke up after three hours and set out to pack up, but it was so, so cold. Everything was frozen solid. My chemical warmers had turned to ice bricks and I couldn't make them go. I crawled back into my bag and waited another couple hours before attempting again. Again, couldn't quite handle the cold. I finally just decided to wait until daylight and stayed in my bag until 10 a.m., but didn't sleep much. I woke up to a 35 mph headwind and single digit temperatures. Ground blizzards were out of this world. Again, glacial pace.

So that's my story. I am definitely a rookie out here, but I am learning tons, and having good times along with the bad. The Farewell Burn is surreal, and I can't believe I actually rode a bike out here. I didn't even realize until I read this message board that I was challenging Kathi for a record time. Believe me, that was never my goal. I am trying to finish. And survive. I am warm and full of moose stew, with 50 miles to McGrath that I should be able to complete in one push unless I have a problem. (And I do plan to keep moving, because I have no problem staying warm on the bike.) I am hoping to be finished by Saturday evening. Thanks to everyone, love to my family. I will report again soon.

49 comments:

  1. Great job,keep your chin up you can do it.

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  2. You're a tough cookie; hang in there 'til the finish.

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  3. Anonymous7:45 PM

    Jill,
    Awesome adventure. Almost there - Keep pressing on. I'll remember you in my prayers tonight.
    Martin

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  4. Thinking and praying for you.

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  5. Keep on pedaling and pushing...You can do it Jill!!!

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  6. You are a brave and courageous soul! You are an inspiration to train harder and tackle new adventures. People all across this planet have worn out there mouse button clicking refresh to hope for new race updates! The karma of countless people will be pushing you to Mcgrath aticipating the full story and pictures. I don't think most people can fathom a jouney like this across the Alaskan Interior. You and Geoff both can be proud of an amazing life changing journey and can only imagine what will follow. Will be praying for the hip to hold up.

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  7. So I wasn't kidding when I titled my blog, "okay, so my idol is a girl on a bike". I can only imagine what a adventure you have been through. Negative 20, sore and tired, what a trooper you are. Keep up the great work and hang in there.

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  8. when you get back, take your time and write the whole story in as many parts as it takes. take your time. i can hardly wait to read it, and i want as much detail as you can give. and i'll bet everyone who reads your blog feels just the same.

    this is an incredible adventure you're having, and you're killing it. i am so envious.

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  9. So glad to hear from you, Jill, and know you are still doing great! Can't even conceive of how cold the cold is for you - you are so brave!

    Glad you've been warmed up with moose stew.

    Thinking and praying for you all through these days!

    You can do it!

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  10. Yes, we want details and are willing to wait for it. First McGrath, hot chocolate, food, sleep, sleep.

    It's been pins and needles for your fan base Jill. So glad to hear the reports today and to read your own account that things are going well. I hope your flexer muscle problem subsides and nothing else hurtful happens before the finish line 'cause I feel certain that you're going to make the finish line one way or another.

    I'm sure there is profound truth in that you've learned tons during this event. Our ultrasport girl gonna really let her hair down next year!

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  11. Anonymous9:22 PM

    you people do crazy shiznit. keep at it. keep warm.

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  12. Jill,

    I'm glad you're doing OK. I can't imagine what you're going through with the cold. Just finishing the Iditarod Trail will be quite the feat. Stay safe the rest of the way to McGrath!

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  13. Jill, finding your blog many months back and following your training for this journey was indeed a pleasurable way to start or finish our day ... a small view into your world. You displayed great generosity in sharing your preparations and the adventure leading into this race. With your determination and sense of humor, winning our hearts you did easily.
    Hoping rest comes to you easier tonight for your last push to McGrath. We look for to hearing of your completion, what a journey!

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  14. You go, girl. You are tougher than I can even dream of being. Thanks to that moose for warming you up and making your legs strong enough to keep pushing through. You rock!

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  15. Just a lurker here, wishing you luck on the final leg of your journey. I'm with fatcyclist, and cannot wait to read every word of your race report.

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  16. Anonymous10:19 PM

    Jill, I am proud of you! Be safe. Take care of yourself. We love you!

    Lisa and Chris

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  17. Great Job! Keep it up.

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  18. It blows my mind that you found both the time and the means to blog from out there. :-)

    You're doing great! Even though the pace may feel "glacial" to you, you are chugging along at a solid pace, as evidenced by the possibility of you setting the new female record. Even if you don't set that record, finishing this race as well as you have, on your first attempt no less, is amazing. You continue to inspire us all, and I'll echo the sentiments of others when I say I can't wait for the post-race report to learn the whole of what your race experience was out there.

    Keep pedaling and stay warm. God speed!

    -Fonk

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  19. shannon11:28 PM

    Jill, This is amazing! Thank you for sharing the journey. You have inspired me as I slowly heal, yet quickly steal race updates and read posts while at work. And, I thought my two trips to physical therapy this week were something of an accomplishment! I look forward, as so many do, to read your words, scan the photos and sense the overwhelming satisfaction so unique for you. Thanks for peddling, pushing and persevering!

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  20. Been thinking about you all week. You are truly inspiring. I'll be smiling with you when you cross that finish line.

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  21. Anonymous2:10 AM

    Jill

    Stay safe and keep going.
    GIRL POWER!!

    Tommy
    NL Europe

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  22. Watching this race and reading all the reports has been my #1 form of entertainment during this week of recovery from my knee surgery. Can't wait to read the real blog report. It has been funny to see your fan base take over the message boards. How about one last GO JILL GO!

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  23. Bonjour !

    Mille fois bravo !! A thousand cheers for having made it to Nikolaï. And so many hearty thanks for having posted on your blog there...just to update us. I don't doubt that the last leg to McGrath is going to be a smooth journey after what you've experienced.
    Thanks for everything,
    Patricia

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  24. Glad you're OK (relatively speaking). Hope you have tailwinds, or no winds, for the rest of the journey!

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  25. fl hifi is right. My mouse has been going crazy to find what's going on. You're rockin it out there! Keep it up.

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  26. awesome, jill. simply awesome! keep smiling!

    :)

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  27. Anonymous7:41 AM

    Kepp your spirits up! You are going to finish this race!

    You are simply awesome

    Shari SCurr
    Michigan

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  28. Jill, you have become a hero to a lot of people including me. I know you do not do what you do to be an inspiration. When you move beyond the challenges you will know a diffrent life from that moment on. I am rooting for you! Who cares about a "record" as long as you reach out, spread your wings, and fly with the eagles! Fly Jill fly ... on to McGrath! 50 to go!

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  29. So good to hear you are doing well and pushing onward! Have been tracking your progress and you are an incredible inspiration...keep your chin up - you'll be warm and home soon.

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  30. Anonymous10:03 AM

    It was so great to hear you're pushing on to the final leg of an incredible journey!
    Like so many, I am wishing you strength and courage and warmth! You're doing it!! Congratulations and thanks for your words and pictures throughout the year ~

    Nancy

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  31. "...at Sullivan Creek when I kept literally falling asleep and falling off my bike."

    Sort of funny but I can relate and for this little problem there is only one solution.

    I'm confident you'll finish and am looking forward to hearing your stories. The finish os not far now!

    Yr Pal DrCodfish

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  32. I've been reading you for awhile now (almost a year ago actually!) and keeping track of you on the Iditarod latest news message thing has been so suspenseful and fun! I was amazed at how worried I was about you during the period between Puntilla and Nikolai! I hate the cold and don't even own a bike, but became so interested in what you and Geoff do and have been rooting for you both! Your final push should be over soon (hopefully) as I write this..I hope you recover quickly!

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  33. Go Jill! You can do it. Again, as I sit here in the Connecticut 'cold' (it may be 35) and think of you pushing your bike in that temperature, I feel like a slug. Keep up the really amazing ride.

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  34. Add me to the list that will be praying for you and a successful finish. Way to go!

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  35. Anonymous2:31 PM

    Amazing job!! You're an inspiration, Jill.

    al.

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  36. Oh my God, you are so f'ing amazing, I really hope you know that. What you have accomplished is so amazing and I am just in awe. Sincerely. I am so PROUD of you for doing this and we've never even met! I almost cried when I read " I pushed my bike through the knee-deep snow for 45 miles." I mean, OH MY GOD, JILL. I hope the last 50 miles aren't too terrible and that you make it to the finish in good spirits. I'm sending you my best most positive thoughts!

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  37. Keep it up Jill. You are a winner just for starting this race.

    Michael in Melbourne

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  38. You, and all of the other contestants are an inspiration to us folk down here in the lower 48. I could never imagine doing what you're doing. But I wish I had the opportunity to try. Slogging thru knee-deep snow for 45 miles. Unbelievable. My hats off, and my prayers for a safe journey are with you.

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  39. Just saw the latest update on the race site. Jill has finished! You go girl! Hope you are well, take a deserved rest, and look forward to your review of the race!

    Kevin

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  40. Anonymous6:43 PM

    Way to go Jill. Nice work....

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  41. Anonymous7:24 PM

    It's been one nail-biting week for the whole family... i think you aged mom and dad another 5 years in the course of 7 days. Despite that fact...i am still incredibly honored to be your sister. I am so proud of you.
    xoxo Sara

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  42. I've been tracking the leader board page obsessively, and see that you've completed the race. Congratulations!

    Now:

    1. Get something to eat.
    2. Sleep.
    3. Get some more to eat.
    4. Sleep.
    5. Eat some more.
    6. Tell us the story.

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  43. Congratulations Jill! I've been checking several times a day to check on your progress. I can't wait to hear all about it. Take your time eating and sleeping before you tell us about it.

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  44. Congratulations on Finishing Jill. You have brought "The Soul Searchin Adventure" in Epic to a new standard. There were many here in the Southeast of the United States that have been watching you with awe. Your a inspiration to so many. Keep it up.

    Jeremy

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  45. vw Dave10:31 PM

    C~O~N~G~R~A~T~U~L~A~T~I~O~N~S~~~J~I~L~L~!

    You done did it! Whowhoo! Nice to get that frozen monkey off your back isn't it? Hope Geoff was feeling well enough to fly in and see you cross the finish line. What a special moment indeed.

    We're all looking forward to your story, but please take your time and get a couple weeks rest. You deserve it.

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  46. Congratulations Jill, and welcome back. AThat's quite an accomplishment.

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  47. You are amazing.

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