Saturday, June 21, 2008

These long days

Date: June 20 and 21
Mileage: 20.7 and 32.3
June mileage: 608.1
Temperature: 64 and 54

As I suspected, I have been completely consumed by the Great Divide Race since it started. There have been a couple of other things in there. On Friday, I went fishing out North, where the reflection of the Chilkat Mountains glimmers in glassy bays and I could just dissolve in the scenery, and sometimes do. I caught a small halibut and a yellow-eye rockfish. The "chicken" halibut made for a heavenly lunch, which I scarfed as I listened to the first wave of GDR call-ins. There have been bike rides, work, movies, a new roommate, anger and stress. But, always on my mind, the GDR and its slow march south.

While Brian and I fished on Friday, a humpback whale circled our boat, again and again. A couple of times it breached far out of the water. It blew geysers of water so loud that they startled me. Sometimes it came so close to the boat I could see the deep shine on its skin; of course I never had my camera out at the best moments. Eventually, I just put my camera down and focused on my bobbing halibut pole, and the quiet reflection of the mountains, and the ripples from the humpback twirling around our boat like ribbons on a Maypole. And still, the GDR.

We were both amped up on caffeine and the promise of the solstice, so we caught a late movie downtown, where club music rattled the air and teenagers weaved through the streets like spawning salmon. We saw "Get Smart" and laughed the whole time - so much better than we thought it would be. It was still light outside well after midnight, and the music still pounded, and the teenagers were still out, and the longest day faded on its arc toward winter. And still, the GDR.

I rode today in the rain. It's been quite a while since it rained so hard it made my nose run, but that happened today. It was a short ride. I'm tapering for the 24 Hours of Light, which I don't think about any more. Geoff is doing awesome in his race. His last SPOT showed him in likely second place between Seeley Lake and Lincoln, Mont. He sounded very happy in his first call-in. Like a lifelong "Price is Right" fan who finally has his chance to come on down. I saw a picture of him at the start of the race, the only one of 18 looking at the camera, with a huge smile and two thumbs in the air. It made me feel so exuberant - and sad.

And still, the GDR.


  1. Jill, I discovered your blog yesterday and I have no doubt in classifies it as the best! Thank you for share such beauty.

  2. I noticed Geoff smiling too in that picture. He looked so ready and happy. I know you wish you were there too, I feel the same way, my b'friend is up north for the summer doing his thing. But you gotta be proud right?

  3. Jill: I did a post about your blog on my site. I also plugged it! I love the whale! So envious right now...

  4. If it comes as any consolation, you're in the best summer spot in the world. For all the years I lived in Alaska (~17) I never even thot about The Outside (lower48) between April and ~October.

    We're coming to Alaska in July for a couple weeks, during which we'll be taking in the Ride For Life again. You oughta come to Anchorage and ride it, it's a hoot.

  5. Yeah, those little SPOTs are completely addictive.

  6. Thanks for updating the race blog. I have been hooked on this race since reading Kent Petersons SS story in Dirt Rag. I still re-read that story and the one on his site. I really appreciate the Bios and the link to others sites. Very interesting reading about the people who participate. One day I hope to do the ride till then I will be living vicariosly through others. Thanks Again!



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