Saturday, May 03, 2008

The world at large

Date: May 2
Mileage: 19.2
May mileage: 113.5
Temperature: 41

Geoff called me from California today with some great news - he had a tough race at the Miwok 100K, couldn't sleep at all the night before, was battered by the "super hardpacked" trail, faded during the last 20 miles of the race ... and landed third place.

I thought I heard him wrong. "Thirtieth?" No. He said third. As in third place! In a field of 250 ultrarunners, completely stacked with many of the top names in the sport. Basically, Geoff had what he views as a bad race - well, maybe not bad, but not exactly at the top of his game - and still came out ahead of at least a few superstars. Scott Jurek I think came in just behind Geoff. I haven't been able to track down the results online yet, but it's pretty impressive.

Geoff's placement automatically qualifies him for Western States, which I understand to be the elite A race in this game. Unfortunately, the race falls one week after the first day of the Great Divide Race, so Geoff isn't even thinking about registering. He has his heart set on this GDR thing. Meanwhile, I'm trying to think of how I can talk him out of his dream bike tour. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see him tackle the GDR ... but I think he can do that any year. He has this opportunity now to steamroll into the national ultrarunning scene (and yes, in my biased view, he could steamroll into it.) And he's just letting the opportunity pass by. But, he never listens to me anyway, so ... eh.

Today I had lunch with a woman who tracked me down through my blog. Kate is a Minnesotan, in town for a few weeks as an Americorps volunteer, landed on my blog while she was researching the area and wanted to meet me. I felt really weird about an Internet stranger date, but we had a great lunch. We don't even have that much in common - she's not really all that into hiking and camping, although she's being subjected to it in a rather brutal fashion here in cold and rainy Southeast Alaska. But we talked and laughed and connected for a few hours before I had to be at work. She would be a fun friend if she had any permanent plans for Juneau - which she doesn't. But the experience of that brief connection made me realize that the Internet reaches deeper into my life than I even know.

I say this because I have been feeling heartbroken about Elden (aka Fat Cyclist) Nelson's recent news about his wife's surprising turn for the worse in her battle with cancer. I've never met Elden or his wife, but he has been very supportive of me in my comparatively trivial cycling challenges, and this news has hit me hard. Like many in Elden's legions of fans, I'm unsure how to react. How do you tell a man you've never met and a woman who doesn't even know you exist that you care about them and are thinking about them? The gesture is simple, but the emotions behind it are harder to qualify. I've never been the strong link in my interpersonal relationships, but I do know real love and support can connect across places as vast and vague as the Internet. So I guess the best thing to do is reach out.