Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Our last ride of spring

Date: April 21 and 22
Mileage: 40 and 29.2
April mileage: 536
Temperature: 42 and 45

I traced the emerging trail beneath a canopy of spruce trees, dripping snowmelt and strings of moss onto still-frozen mud. I reconnected with the paved bike path and rolled back to Geoff, who was parked on a bench and inhaling a sandwich.

"Still a lot of snow back there?" he asked.

"It won't be too long now before this town has real mountain biking," I said.

"Not soon enough," he said. He held out the remaining piece of sandwich. Tuna and mayo on pumpernickel bread. I wrinkled my nose. "How bout a Tootsie Roll then?"

I took the chilled piece of candy and popped it in my mouth. It was meaty and a little bit stale from possibly a few too many rides in Geoff's coat pocket. I kicked a piece of ice onto the grass, short and dead in April. I wasn't even thinking about the promise of May. I was wondering why there weren't corpses of August flowers everywhere. "I can't believe you're willing to leave this all behind," I said.

Geoff smirked. "It's not too late to come with me."

"Yes it is."

"What do you think you'll do?" he asked.

I shrugged. "I'm pretty sure I'm going to quit biking. I think I'll get some Direct TV or whatever the cable companies are pushing these days, and put in some good time on the couch with Bon-Bons."


"Ok, Cheetos. And Coco Puffs straight from the box. The works. I'm really going to put in the hours this summer. Next time you see me, you're not even going to recognize me."

"You'll have to get a working TV first."

"I hear they sell those at stores these days."

Geoff laughed and looked away. "Whatever. You're probably exicted not to have me around bothering you and trying to feed you real food anymore. I know you're just going to end up riding 100 miles every day."

"I wish it was as easy as that," I said.

Geoff reached into his coat pocket. "You want another Tootsie Roll?"

"No," I said. I squinted at his watch. "Is it really noon?" He nodded. "I really have to go," I said. "I'm going to be late for work. How much further are you going?"

"I'm going to try to get 100 today," Geoff said. He stuck the Tootise Roll in his mouth and we rode together to the end of the bike path. I turned back and he kept going, toward summer.

Long summer.


  1. I think you just need to add something new in your life to get rid of the stale feeling. Now that you realized you are a competitive lady, you can expand your horizons to other races or events. Maybe try an adventure race or something that involves biking but also will require you to train in some other form. I sense a sadness with the leaving of Geoff but each season rolls by to clear the old and bring the fresh. You need a new goal. Maybe plan a large multi-day backpacking trip or make it your goal to traverse a long range of mountains. Whatever you do Jill, I don't see cable and Fritos fitting into it.

  2. Bumming for you Jill. I hope the sun sparks some riding in the dirt excitement for you. If not, I would go with pop-tarts and cold milk ... yummmm!

  3. What about skydiving? I totally second the Cheetos. I missed those in Bosnia.

  4. Are you a fresh Cheetos or a stale Cheetos kind of girl? I prefer them after I've left the bag open overnight. Chewy and cheesy!

    I know it's going to suck without Geoff, but I bet the time really will pass faster than you expect.

  5. Quite your job...hit the road for the summer....ride bikes...take pictures...write articles for magazines...don't look back...=-)

    Absolute worst case it doesn't work and you have to find a job...like you do now.

  6. I"m a summer widow too...my mans getting ready to depart too. If we were in the same state we could ride together, and eat cheetos! Your such a great writer Jill! He'll be back and you'll find something to occupy your time! YOu always have us to blog to!!!

  7. Live life and have no regrets. Ride, run, hike, climb, do whatever. Life is too damn short.
    And above all ...

    Nigity - "Always keep a smile in your heart."

  8. Biking in Alaska sounds like quite the adventure to me. Being in a place where it never snows, I'd love to experience it again.

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  10. Jill, I cannot picture you just sitting around doing nothing - find something to occupy your time and the summer will fly by - I know it will be hard without Geoff - we are without him all the time and it stinks. At least you will have him back in a few months - we won't. Keep in touch - when he is doing the GDR we will have to keep each other posted as to what we hear from him. You should go do that with him and not worry about your job - you are such a good writer, you can find another job (maybe on the East coast).

  11. All right, fine, you can hang on 10th Ave this summer. BYOB.

  12. Maybe you should find yourself a new muse in his absence. I hear the odds are good in Alaska but the goods are odd.....

  13. Book.
    I see you as a freelance writer and photographer for outdoor, bicycle and travel magazines, doing choice articles that coincide or work around your world-wide ultra sport event schedule.
    But I sense you like your current surrounds and livelihood and are not quite ready to change them.
    Maybe you could learn to dictate while you train. Or keep your iPod plugs in and really commit to writing at the home front since you won’t have a beau to distract you for a while.
    I guess it's not bikeable in the summer but an extended hiking trip along the Iditarod route would seem a very cool summer trip and a nice opportunity to collect your thoughts on your...

  14. The tone of this post felt like something out of an Ernest Hemingway story...perhaps, "Hills like White Elephants." What is it about relationships that tends to make our happiness dependant on someone else? Some are married to the sea (or their bikes), and others find the most happiness in balancing both, comfort of relationships and freedom of adventure. From what I can infer, you seem to be the latter. I suppose given your situation, it’s time to fully embrace the adventurous portion of your life and fill the void. But, try not to simply distract yourself over the next few months. Instead, take the energy and knowledge from what you’ve accomplished over the past year and further discover yourself. Writing and riding, two of the greatest tools.

  15. I have really enjoyed reading your blog, thanks for the posts. I don't know how you can manage Juneau, but it seems the bike helps a lot. I spent a month there at a medical clinic and it was always 'rain mixed with snow' or 'snow mixed with rain'. I can't wait to read more. Would you mind putting me on your "alaskans" list and linking my blog under cool blogs, if you think it is cool? thanks!

  16. Ahh, I don't think you are really going to sit around all summer...that was all sarcasm right!? LOL. There is nothing good on TV anyway.

  17. Hey think about it this way....what's the worst thing that can happen without Geoff around ?......you turn into the crazy old bicycle lady who collects cats ?.



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