Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Forced taper

Date: June 22 and 23
Mileage: 21.2 and 17.7
June mileage: 647
Temperature: 60 and 62

I am getting in a really good taper this week. Only rode an hour and a half yesterday and an hour today. I have so many little errands to run, I likely won't even be able to make the commute tomorrow, and late Wednesday night I leave for Canada. Often when I say I'm insanely busy, it's not really the truth. But right now, I really am that busy. The other day for lunch, I ate several spoonfuls of spicy peanut butter (spiked with cayenne pepper) that was given to me as a Christmas gift. And that was it. It was about all I had left in the cupboard. So this wonderful taper isn't exactly accompanied by wonderful nutrition. I am still trying to decide what I'll eat in the 24 Hours of Light. I am thinking one small water bottle every lap, every other one spiked with Nuun, and a Power Bar or Pop Tart for every two laps (it will probably take me an hour to do each lap.) The temperatures will be mild and the sweat factor will be low, so the Nuun should offer plenty of salt replacement. I have given up on the dream of eating protein (or liquid nutrition) during long efforts.

I heard from Geoff today for the first time since the GDR started. To be honest, I did not expect him to call, at least not this early in the race. I remember when I was riding the Iditarod, my mind was operating in a different universe, one that was repelled by the outside world. When Geoff called me in Nikolai, I was not happy to hear from him. Not at all. In hindsight, it's hard to explain why that was the case. But there is a zone in the midst of a long, hard effort - a quiet feeling of enchantment, that helps a distressed body keep on keeping on, often happily. Forces from the outside world seem to break that enchantment, at which point it's easier to slip into depression and despair.

But anyway, Geoff did call from Wise River, probably during one of his moments of lucidity. I was happy to hear from him this time. Our conversation was not much different from those before the race. No, "Hey, I'm on this crazy hard journey, I've ridden 500 hard miles in just over three days, how are you?" It was just, "how are you?" And I didn't reply, "Oh, I'm trying to prepare for this race that seems so pointless compared to what you're doing, and I'm in a living situation that is really stressing me out, and my job is still hard and I'd love to gripe about it to someone who could listen." No, I just said, "I'm great." But I think both of us understood what the other meant.


  1. Soooo much melodrama.

    First you sit around cyberstalking Geoff during the race and feeling sad about missing him, then when he finally DOES call you're not happy to hear from him. I consider that kinda ironically funny seeing as you're writing your comments here knowing full well that he can read them.

    Then, you say your race is so pointless compared to what Geoff's doing, but you didn't want to join Geoff in his race when he gave you the option.

    I think eventually you're going to drive Geoff crazy.

    If you ever do get around to writing a book it'll have to be in the drama section.

  2. Looks like our friend (Anon) is back.
    What an ass! Hang in there Jill. Life will get back to normal (if there is such a thing) soon enough. Also, best of luck at 24hrs. of Light. I'll be looking forward to reading about it. In closing I just want to say...go grocery shopping and EAT! something.

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

  3. Jill,

    I'm so glad you don't take anon's bait and reply to their comments. I hope their words don't even bother you any more. I just skip over them.

    I've been reading your blog for a couple years now and I really appreciate it. I admire all that you do and how you do it. It is all so different than what my life is and I take inspiration from your writing and photography.

    We've all got paths to follow in life, and I think one measure of our success is how content we are with our own path. Another sign of success is an ability to make adjustments toward more contentment.

    Thank you for sharing so much with us.


  4. The best part is Senor (or Senorita) Toolbag does not even know how to read as he/she is clueless to the fact you were referring to two completely different moments in time. Someone needs to find themselves a hobby - their jealousy is transparent.

    Take it easy on the competition in your upcoming 24 hour adventure.

  5. Eventually, every blog ends up with a pathetic interloper like "Anon", who gets their jollies by posting hyper-critical, self-righteous comments that anger everyone. Too bad you can't block him/her. I've read your blog since the very beginning and would truly miss it if you stopped. You have an eloquence that belies your age, and you have an awareness of nature that belies almost everyone. Your piece about the hike with your dad changing your life really resonated with me, as my husband & I are hosting 2 15yr olds nieces and a 17yr old nephew from the midwest for 2 weeks in July. They've never been to the mtns, or seen the ocean, and they all live in crummy, failing family situations. I can only hope that what they learn from us is that there IS another world out there, on top of Mt. Rogers, VA, or on the sands of Ocean Drive SC. Please continue to keep this blog. Your environment is so radically different than mine, it restores my sense of perspective to share a bit of your world. I thank you for that.

  6. Forget dingle nuts Anon. He/she is gealous that no one actually cares about what he/she has to say, so they force it on others via posting comments. I think you've got a great blog and you're doing a great job. Keep up the great work. BTW, have a great trip coming down here it Canada, eh. Cheers.

  7. Jill, we are listening and everyone needs validation. I would ignore the people posting comment as they have their won personal issues. I hear you on what your saying!

  8. Jill, sorry for speaking of things that don't concern me, but, really you must eat well. You do so much effor! I'm not saying you must become a gourmet, but eat well, please!

  9. "You know it's a good day when you arrive at home, the sun is shining, and your commuter pack is splattered in mud. It helps me feel better about my small space, because within are so many spaces I have yet to discover."

    "I love to focus, focus, focus in the winter, and work hard with a set schedule and difficult goals in mind. Maybe it's to stave off the darkness and cold. Maybe it's to feel driven and strong when the rest of the world slips into lethargy. I don't know. I do know that summer comes and whatever shreds of competitive drive I even have start to unravel, and I begin to slack."

    "I feel so much braver when I'm hiking with my dad. I think it goes back to my teenage years when I believed he would always be there to protect me. I still feel that way."

    "But I do check up on him a little more than is probably normal. Maybe it's because I really do want to be a part of the grand adventure. Or maybe because this is what our relationship has come to ... upside-down teardrop icons on a Google map."

    "I also have been following Chris Plesko's singlespeed Divide attempt. His stories are interesting, but I find myself almost more interested in the little bits of commentary from his wife, Marni, who is also playing the role of the GDR widow, at home worrying herself sick some of the time."

    "It's been a rough couple of months at my place of employment.......things just keep getting bleaker............I don't know. I guess I'll just keep riding my bike."

    "I think some readers of my blog might be surprised by the fact that while I play one on the Internet, I'm not actually a writer."

    "I saw a picture of him at the start of the race........It made me feel so exuberant - and sad."

    "When Geoff called me in Nikolai, I was not happy to hear from him. Not at all. In hindsight, it's hard to explain why that was the case."

    "Forces from the outside world seem to break that enchantment, at which point it's easier to slip into depression and despair."

  10. I am curious about this anonymous commenter. My friends never get comments like this on their blogs when they write about missing their husbands (the horror!). Do you make these judgements because Geoff and I aren't married? You may disagree with our lifestyle choice, but that doesn't make it any less real.

  11. Jill -

    I'm a new reader and enjoy your comments. Blogs are funny things... a journal, personal, yours alone- yet with room for public comments. Its counterintuitive but it works. I read yours because its about bikes, and i always wanted to go to Alaska. I love the photos and the biking adventures. Keep logging the miles!

  12. Jill, this anonymous person is obviously not happy and quite insecure with their own self.
    I wouldn't put too much stock in what they say.

    I don't know you personally, but I feel you're a wonderful person with a wonderful relationship. Your feelings are obviously very real.

    This whole blogging thing is strange. You want to share your life and interests with others, but there are people out there who really don't get it. Then there are the rest of us who feel somewhat connected through your stories. We care! Keep blogging, keep sharing, and block those anonymous comments.

  13. Anonymous in life as in the blogosphere I would imagine. This person reminds me of the gnats flying around my head while I was watering the gardens last evening; Whether I ignore them or swing at them - they just keep sticking around - annoyingly buzzing into my ear. Fairly sure it is not even a commentary on your marital status as much as it is someone trying to garner reaction. I truly feel sorry for those who have no other purpose than to try and inflict hurt in order to make themselves feel better.

    I wonder how it feels about platform pedals...

  14. Jill - Sometimes I feel like I'm spying on your personal life through your blog, that to me is the sign of a great piece of work & again, exactly what I love about the space you have created for yourself. Anons of the cybersphere are most likely desperately jealous souls who should probably go ride their bikes a little more often. :) Stay honest & strong in all aspects of your life - so many of us are enjoying the ride through your words & photos! Thanks for sharing & best to you in the upcoming 24 Hours of Light!

  15. Jill,
    I have a simple question: you can block the comments of your readers, right? Just a suggestion...

  16. Luis,

    This is true. But I actually find the oddly personal anonymous comments entertaining. I put a lot into this blog, but it only mirrors a small sliver of my life. So when these long-winded, critcal comments come through, I'm always interested to see how others can take small snipets of information and re-draw my entire life story. Of course Anon doesn't even know me. Although I am beginning to wonder if Anon is one of my ex-boyfriends.

    The fact is they don't really hurt my feelings, which means Anon isn't hitting all that close to his/her mark. But, by all means, keep trying.

  17. " Do you make these judgements because Geoff and I aren't married? You may disagree with our lifestyle choice, but that doesn't make it any less real."

    I don't disagree with your lifestyle choice, just Geoff's latest HAIRSTYLE choice. :)

    "I am beginning to wonder if Anon is one of my ex-boyfriends."

    Yes, and I just wanted to get back in touch with you to let you know something important.......I'm pregnant Jill, but it might not be yours. :)

  18. I'm going to be totally inappropriate here, but I don't care.
    (Anon) Is a total complete loser who as I speak is more than likely thinking of more ways to get to you (Jill). In reality anon would probably be more successful just sitting at home playing with himself. Reason being it is obvious he is quite self centered.

  19. Anon - weak - geek - don't speak. Time to slither elsewhere.

  20. Comments "vexatious to the spirit" I just delete. You are made of sterner stuff. God I love the trash can button!

  21. Jill I think you are a very gifted writer. I love reading your blog and looking at your beautiful photographs. I will probably never have the opportunity to visit the beautiful place you live in, but you offer a window for me to get a glimpse of it and I truly appreciate that. You are a strong and amazing person.

    There will always be "anonymous" people in life, whether on the blog or living next door or working in the cube next to you - just people who are unhappy with their own lives and are jealous of your happiness. Dont waste any energy on them - they haven't earned it!

  22. So, I have this great idea about how to pass hours of my life i will never get back...

    I'm going to go onto peoples blogs and copy paste their postings into little quotated lines....

    That sounds so much better than hanging out with friends, going to my gym, going to work, meeting my sister for lunch....yup, I have figured out my future. Thank the F'ing stars.

  23. I thought your conversation with Geoff was telling on how close you guys are. You don't have to explicitly state everything to know what each other is thinking, and that's really neat.

  24. You are a lovely person, Jill. I loved seeing your parents; as an older person, I loved the idea of them getting up to AK to visit you and spend time with you. Great parents! Great daughter! Enjoy it as someday it will all be part of the lovely past. Oh, and I enjoyed noting how you look so much like your mom, as best I could tell from the photos. Thank you for sharing with us a bit of your family life. Good thing most of us aren't so judgemental that we can't appreciate the flow of your life (and everyone else's). Good luck and have fun at the race!!!! And I know everyone keeps harping at you to WRITE A BOOK or BECOME A WRITER, etc. I don't worry. You will figure it all out. I am just now writing my first novel at age 52 and it is better for the waiting


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