Friday, May 09, 2008

Seven hours of escaping the blahs

Date: May 8
Mileage: 84.2
May mileage: 320.5
Temperature: 48

Today was one of those days. You know the days. A stupid cat paws your face at some unspeakable hour of the morning. You roll around groggily in the gray morning light, unsure of who you are, where you are, and what day this is. And even as painful consciousness slowly wrestles you through your haze tunnel, you still can't remember what's on the schedule for today. What was it again? What were you going to do?

Oh yeah. Seven-hour bike ride.


Cyclists often use the phrase "Any day I ride my bike is a good day." I appreciate the sentiment, and respect anyone for whom it's true, but I've never thought that phrase applied to me. I spend most every day on a bike. They can't all be good days. They just can't. Some days you just wake up to good vibes, and even though you don't have anything planned, you go ride two hours on the beach, and afterward you feel like you could leap off buildings and use the sheer force of your energy to hold back gravity. And some days you wake up to blahs, and you have a seven-hour ride planned, and you think, "I should just go do it. I planned it." But, but, but ... blah.

Then there are usually a bunch of wasted hours in the morning until your conscience finally absolves you of the necessity of biking only to remind you of all the other things you could be doing today - you know, like grocery shopping and laundry. That's about the time you just get on the bike just to get the thing over with, and if enough time passes, at least you won't have to do your chores.

The sky is the same color as the mountains which is the same color as the pavement which is the same color as your mood. You're thinking, "I can't face seven hours of out the road and back and then some. What can I do to break this up? What can I do?"

Oh yeah. Dredge Lake.

Trails are dry. Hard-packed. Fast. Ice-patched. Jolty. Narrow. So I weave. Shoulder a tree. Jump. Roll. Coast. Climb. An hour passes in the maze. Now two hours are up. Where is there to go from here?

Oh yeah. West Glacier Trail and Montana Creek.

More snow up here. No matter, good smooth descent. Climb back up. Down, back through Dredge Lake. Another hour passes - one on pavement, two on trail. Not bad. The day feels lighter. Purposeful, even. Where to now? How 'bout out the road, not to ride out the road, but to see how much progress the melt is making on the spur trails?

Herbert Glacier is all snow from mile one. Eagle River is snow and old-growth devil's club stalks. Ouch. I ride along Eagle Beach for a while, scanning the shoreline for some of those tasty clams that people often find here, but it's not really low tide, and anyway, you have to dig for those.

So it's back south, into the wind, and I'm surprised to find it doesn't even faze me. Underneath all of my grump and grumble, I actually have good energy today. I can feel the burn in my quads from pushing around sand and dirt, and even the pavement seems to be rolling faster than normal, and I didn't notice earlier, but my random shuffle iTunes mix is really good today. Really good. I'm singing along, Modest Mouse, "A nice heart and a white suit and a baby blue sedan. And I am doing the best that I can ..."

Fast back to Dredge Lake and the Mendenhall River, hit the trails hard and strong, ride the jackhammer root sections that I always walked last year, ride the twisty wooden plank for the first time ever. Wish Geoff were here to see that. Feeling tired, feeling good and tired, leave the trail 15 minutes before hour six, one hour fifteen to get home. Push harder and harder, thinking about ravioli, thinking a lot about ravioli, reaching up to scan the shuffle and find that Modest Mouse song again, and sing, "And it's hard to be a human being. And it's harder as anything else ..."

Back with fifteen minutes to spare. In reality, a 6:45 day. I could've sandbagged it home, but I didn't.

One of those days. A good day to be on a bike.


  1. "and if enough time passes, at least you won't have to do your chores."

    Ha! Exactly! :)

  2. Those trails look like they would be a lot of fun, biking or hiking.

    Your ride for the day would be many people's ride of lifetime.

    Thanks again for sharing and hope you enjoyed the ravioli. Being Italian, I hope it wasn't Chef-Boyardee.

  3. Yeah, isn't it funny how about 30 minutes on a bike can open up the rest of the 7 hour day for you? Amazing places to ride and hike.

    Go Jill!

  4. I've said it before I know, but your lifestyle is amazing.

  5. I've also gotten to the low motivation point of the year. Quite weird how it came so early but I find it hard to get out there. Once out there though I can't remember why I didn't want to go for a ride. You're out there for 7 hours, can you give us a post about what you take along for nutrition along the way and breaks?

  6. hey nice pictures. I was searching for blogs from Alaska, thats when I stumbled upon yours. I was delighted to see that your last blog was dated May 9th. Something that made me even more happy was it was about some cycling. I envy you a lot, I am from a place called Besantnagar(India). The weather is so much more different compared to yours. Even I love cycling, I also like Alaska for some reason and always thought the place would be covered in snow through out the year. You proved me wrong.

    Excellent Pictures!!!
    Excellent Writing!!!
    Keep writing! I am saving the link to your blog so that I can come back to it in the future :)

    Thank You for sharing your experience.

  7. Vito - frozen ravioli from Costco, if that's any better. It's one of about five things I know how and am willing to take the time to cook.

    Le Blaireau ... this ride was a little more mellow than usual. I only took one break in the middle, about 15 minutes, wherein I injested all of the calories I ate during the ride. About 600-700 I'd guess in crackers and granola bars. I don't like to eat on the bike; I've just never gotten the hang of it.

  8. I'm always distressed to see bikers destroy the pristine wilderness. No one likes to slip and fall due to careless selfish narcs careening through the forest.

    Hopefully some major bones will soon be broken by the trees, and there will be one less snotty self absorbed, and likely frigid woman out there.


Feedback is always appreciated!