Friday, April 04, 2008

Breakuping is hard to do

Date: April 3
Mileage: 30.1
April mileage: 60.1
Temperature: 41

I wasted a fair amount of time this morning moping around the house, gazing at my Karate Monkey and randomly making little adjustments on the bike. I felt like a kid who just received a brand new snowboard for her birthday ... in July. A coveted new toy and nowhere to ride it.

Every spring, every community in Alaska must endure the awkward transition known as "Breakup." Breakup is like the period between Christmastime Academy Award contenders and summer blockbusters when every movie you see feels like a barely-constitutional alternative to waterboarding. Or like the horrible year in junior high when even the cutest kids get braces and pimples and walk around looking like they've been slapped with a fugly stick. Basically, Breakup is when all the ice begins to melt and everything gets really sloppy. Winter activities become unappealing because the snowpack turns to messy slush, and summer activities are still impossible because everything is covered in messy slush. Nobody in Alaska really likes spring much. I don't really mind it, most of the time. I appreciate the longer daylight, and 41 and raining beats 31 and snaining any day ... and I think, if we Southeast Alaskans are really honest with ourselves, it's basically Breakup here year-round. But even I have days when I feel the walls closing in; this is the time of year I impulse-buy stuff. This is the time of year I mope.

I dragged myself out the door, finally, with a resolve to go for a hike. I stupidly picked the East Glacier Trail loop, which has a ton of stairs, reasoning that I could take the stairs up and the switchbacks down. But with all the newly-thawed waterfalls gushing over the trail, there was more steep, wet ice than I could deal with. I took a hard fall right on my back before I decided the trail was too treacherous to climb any higher. Then I had to inch my way down endless flights of ice-slicked stairs.

I tried to salvage the afternoon by going for a bike ride. But I had spent so much time cleaning my new bike after yesterday's ride ... I couldn't bear taking her out in the slop again. So I grabbed my creaky old Roadie, which I don't really bother to clean anymore, and rode grumpily along the glass-strewn gravel still coating the North Douglas Highway. I hit the headwind on the way home and tried to crank out some intervals, but my heart wasn't in it. I need something to train for.

Thursday nights are basically my "Saturday night," but Geoff is now only weeks away from his trip south, and is pinching pennies with surprising zeal. So we can't really go out any more unless I'm buying. He made this lasagna by mixing a can of tomato soup and tomato paste, then pouring it over flat noodles with a thin layer of peppers and a little Parmesan cheese. It was tasty ... but a little hobo dinner-esque (and totally my fault ... I was supposed to go shopping.) We watched this horrible quasi-musical movie on DVD (amazing the dregs of filmmaking that can be dredged up on Netflix.) The whole thing was funny, actually ... just an off day.

How many more months until winter?


  1. I'm ready for winter again. We're already hitting upper 80s in the afternoons in central Florida. Yuck.

  2. We are heading into breakup as well here in Mackenzie, can still ride the ski trails in the morning when its cold enough but those days will soon be coming to an end....then we'll have to wait for the remaining 7 feet of snow to melt. So I know how you feel, if it makes you feel any better you have more to ride in Juneau regardless the season than what is available in Mackenzie. Wish for a speedy spring, windy days to dry things up! I have to go clean my bike, I'm feeling guilty.

  3. So what movie was it? Cannibal the Musical? Across the Universe? Once?

  4. "Once" rules, just for the record.

    Snap out of it buckaroo! I challenge you to a daily push-up contest.

    I'm up to 9 already, better get crackin'!

  5. "How many more months until winter?"

    Now that's funny!

    Yr Pal Dr Codfish

  6. Winter departing, hobo lasagna, and a movie. Not an all bad day really. I like your new 'girlfriend', Kim. very nice.

  7. Yeah, breakup pretty much sucks. It happens every year, and it sucks. every. year. Once the snow stops, I'm of the opinion that the next day should be sunny and 65 degrees. None of this just-above-freezing, nasty-rain crap.

  8. Jill! Congrats again on your new bike! I can see why you'd like to enjoy that "new bike smell" as long as possible, so yes ... let your old roadie bicycle take the brunt of the seasonal change over. Kim certainly won't mind.

    As for the departure of Winter, I'm too am going to miss it. Can't believe I'm actually saying that, but it's true. There is something special about those ice cold below zero days! Brisk but memorable!

    Regarding your future plans, how about heading somewhere warm to do some biking? Utah with Kim in a couple of months sounds excellent. Can you take more time off from for such a trip? Probably not but it'd sure be good medicine for cabin fever.

  9. Isn't it always winter in Alaska? :)

    Come on down to Utah, that KM would fit in nicely on some Wasatch Singletrack.

  10. I hope you didn't damage yourself too badly on east glacier. I nearly slid off the same trail and down the mt. on one of those slick waterfalls at the beginning of winter and scared myself so badly that I stick ice cleats in my coat pocket whether I think I need them or not. Were you up there last year when the packed snow was OVER the handrails? That was surreal..(but easier to hike!)
    Cynthia in the Valley

  11. Jill, I've been reading your blog for some time now. When you rode the Iditarod I was constantly checking your progress while at work and was freaked out when your name didn't show for a few days. I'm shopping for a new bike to ride in the Conquer Cancer in June in Toronto. I just wanted you to know that whatever bike I decide on she'll be named Jillian in your honour. You are a true inspiration to this 50 year old wannabe cyclist. take care

  12. I tagged you! Enjoy the weekend. Let me guess, rain?

  13. i feel your pain. 40 and slushy here in fairbanks. hoepfully an early spring does not mean a longer mud season. think dry!

  14. Ron, I'm really honored. Thanks for your dedication. I look forward to watching your progress.

    ... I believe the movie's called "Romance and Cigarettes" or something to tha effect. It had the Cohen Brothers' name on it, but somebody forgot to write a script for it ... I'm pretty sure the director just handed the actors a few shrooms and urged them to sing and dance at will.

    ... I'd love to make it to Utah soon. All those desert pictures I've been seeing are making me homesick.


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