Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Taste of October

Date: Aug. 12
Mileage: 25.3
August mileage: 253.7

I rode into some really driving rain this morning - blowing sideways, it was a 30 mph direct hit to the face with sharp daggers of water. The temperature was about 50 but the windchill drove it down to something that felt almost frigid, and I remembered what it's like here, at least most of the time, during the fall.

The miles are well-earned in Juneau falls and winters. I forget just how much so until I compare a fall-like day such as today with the relative ease of the summer days earlier this week. I head out with a plan to go hard, but usually start focusing so much on how miserable I am that I lapse into survival mode, put my head down, and grind through it. The nice thing about October compared to a day like today is that it actually is cold. After an hour or so my hands and feet go numb, giving me a good excuse to quit, unlike a day like today, wherein I have to admit that I quit early simply because I was miserable.

And in the back of my mind, I'm thinking, "The longer I spend at this, the more I improve my remote chance of actually being prepared for Trans Utah, which would enable a swift retreat to the desert for more than an entire week of that diabolical month everyone else calls October." The problem is ... it's August, and I already have my escape mapped out. I leave Friday for the faraway climes of Southern California, to laze in the sun and drink cold Pepsi and remember what it's like to wear shorts in the summer and probably not touch a bicycle for a full week. Mid-August, yes, well, now that you mention it, that would be a peak time to train for Trans Utah. Plus, the family vacation to California - looking forward to it though I am - puts a serious dent in my remaining vacation leave at work. October time off will come at a price. Compromises will have to be made. Pleas will have to be plead. All to do a ride that I won't be well conditioned for, in a venue that's more than a little out of my league.

But as I look out the window at the hard-driving rain, I wonder how I can afford not to.