Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Dear Canada: Fear me

Date: June 24 and 25
Mileage: 18.0 and 12.1
June mileage: 677.1
Temperature: 61 and 57

I'm trying to get myself pumped up for the 24 Hours of Light. So I thought ... what the heck? Why not engage in a little good, old-fashioned trash talk.

Dear mountain bikers of the Yukon,

You may not remember me. It was just a year ago I first visited your fine land, but I was forgettable back then - the chick with the knee braces and the squeaky full-suspension 26'er. I pumped out a respectable number of laps before midnight, then I ate some soup and crawled into a tent. Just another one of those girls that couldn't handle the full 24 hours, right?

Wrong. I'm coming back. And I'm bringing with me a full year's worth of healing, training, glucosomine and suffering. I'm bringing a full year's worth of technical riding improvement and a new 29'er that can roll over your puny interior-of-the-continent black spruce roots like they were brittle pencils. I'm bringing my healthy knees and rain-soaked Juneau conditioning and Iditarod-forged perspective on just how relatively pleasant 24-hour races really are. In short, I'm bringing my "A" game.

Plus, I am an American and we all have a bone to pick with you Canadians. Your dollar surpassed ours in value, which we are supremely unhappy about. You have that universal health care while we American athletes must routinely decide between physical therapy and food. Yes, we're sure there must be something we're better than you at. I know the answer: 24-hour races.

Why? Well, for one, we train in miles, which make your puny Canadian kilometers look like, well, like something that is a little more than a half mile. And we train in the land of (relatively) cheap gasoline, big cars and abundant off-road vehicles. We dodge Hummers and split trails with roaring ATVs. And, let me tell you, you haven't raced a mountain bike until you've tried to outrun a snowmobile. And don't underestimate our egos. We Americans always believe we're better at everything, even if we're really not. But in this game, believing is half the battle.

Yes, dear mountain bikers of the Yukon, I am coming up from my land of moss and rain to tear across your tundra with nothing to lose and nothing to prove - except that I'm here. And I'm ready. And I'm going to win. And into next year, you will remember me by my scorch marks.

You have been warned.

Sincerely, Jill from Juneau