Thursday, March 13, 2008

Beach ride

Date: March 12
Mileage: 10
March mileage: 48.5
Temperature: 36

I know I said I would stay off the bike until my post-race fatigue blew over, but when have I been good at avoiding bikes? I finally unpacked Pugsley from his FedEx box this morning. (Oh yes, I did swallow my customer service convictions and take the cheaper and more accessible FedEx Ground option out of Anchorage. Not only did they scan the box upon arrival, they tracked it to the point of redundancy and delivered it to my door three business days later. I wonder if FedEx has flagged my name for extra-careful treatment these days ... or if it's possible, just possible, that the company made actual mistakes when they shipped my bike out of Juneau. Not that FedEx will ever admit that, so I guess I'll never know.)

The tide was ultra-low when I set out, a condition that rarely lines up with my workout window, so I had to take advantage of all that open sand. Instead of my usual ride on slush-covered trails, I veered onto Sandy Beach and began the slow grind south on the only surface that puts up more resistance than snow: low tide quicksand. I had to laugh as my rear wheel slurped and gurgled while I wheezed and sweat for a measly 4.5 mph. There were a hundred easier ways to ride a bicycle in Juneau on a day like today and I gravitated to the hardest one. Post-race lead legs and all. I truly am a lost cause.

But the more normal I feel, the more strange it seems that I have nothing to train for. My plan all along was to complete this super-hard race in February and then head into something of an off-season. But then came Daylight Savings Time, and every day felt a little more like spring. The equinox is on the horizon, and after that, the sprint into summer, sweet summer, when cyclists flood the streets and schedule a slew of fun rides and races. So many races. All of which seem so easy now with the Ultrasport behind me. The 24 Hours of Light? Ha! What's 24 hours? The Fireweed 400? Who cares if I'm slow on the road? I'm pretty much slow everywhere. The Soggy Bottom? Just try and stop me this year. The Great Divide? Don't be an idiot.

And yet I remain without a goal, still trying but somehow unwilling or unable to take it easy. Always in back of mind is a buzzing, as-yet-undeveloped excitement for the future.

With a little souvenir from McGrath to remind me the past is not too far behind ...