Monday, June 23, 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.