Thursday, October 02, 2008

Moving on

Date: Oct. 2
Mileage: 30.1
October mileage: 30.1

My recovery from my Golden Circle ride seems to have been nearly instantaneous. The typical muscle rigor mortis never set in, and by Sunday morning I was raring to go again. I only had a five-mile ride to the ferry terminal, but I felt energetic and strong (the pseudo-hurricane of the night before had mostly let up by daybreak.) I took a day off Monday to deal with my wreck of a house and a bunch of other chores, and took advantage of a sunny window Tuesday morning to hike up Mount Jumbo. These pictures are from the quick Jumbo jaunt.

I did my first ride since the bike trip today. My finger numbness and saddle sores have almost entirely abated. This surprised me, actually, because the pavement along the Golden Circle is seriously rough. I'd say gravel road rough, in many spots. By the end of the trip, I was really wishing for full suspension, or at least rear suspension. After I rode the Golden Circle last year, my pinkie fingers were numb for at least 10 weeks. I expected the numbness to linger this year as well, but it's almost entirely gone already. In fact, it seems the only "injury" I have left over from the trip is an itchy chafing rash around both knees, caused by wearing knee braces all day long. Sometimes I wonder if those things cause more maladies than they prevent, but I've gone more than a full year now without knee problems, so I'll continue to hold on to my placebos, even if chafing is the cost.

I think my lack of need for recovery time shows I really am becoming better at pacing myself for multiday endurance trips. Although my Golden Circle trip was pretty lax by "ultra" standards - 10- to 12-hour days as opposed to 16- to 18-hour days - I think I have found a moving pace and a comfort level that I can maintain day after day after day. Of course it would be nice to find ways to go "faster." But, for me, "sustainable" is a pretty good victory.

My final stats for the trip:
Mileage: 367.45
Total ascent: 15,624 feet
Maximum elevation: 3,451 feet
Minimum elevation: 0 feet
Moving time: 29 hours 59 minutes
Stopped: 3 hours, 26 minutes (this is only the time I was stopped while riding. I turned off my GPS at the end of each day.)
Moving average: 12.2 mph

My next big trip is a hike across the Grand Canyon with my dad and his friend on Oct. 11. After I voiced my frustration about not being able to get time off in early October to ride Trans Utah, my boss pulled some strings and helped me take a few days off over the second weekend so I could do this annual trip with my dad. It's a fair compromise, and I'm really excited to take a trip down to the desert, even if is a brief one. Trans Utah, as it turns out, was first postponed and then moved ahead to deal with a major storm that is supposed to move through the area this weekend. I believe some of the riders are out there right now. Here's wishing them the best of luck and the driest of weather.

I'm hoping to get out for a longish hike tomorrow, depending on the weather here, just to make sure my hiking muscles are still in good shape for a long trek across the Grand Canyon. After I return from my desert trip, October is typically my "speed work" month. I hope to spend more time on hill intervals this month, as my Golden Circle trip proved I still have a lot of work to do on my climbing. Then, after that, who knows? The season is young. :-)


  1. What kind of knee braces do you wear and what kind of problems were you having. I have just experienced my first knee problem and it's put the serious kiabosh on riding.


  2. Jill!
    I just did Rim2Rim this weekend. We went North to South, North Kaibab down, Bright Angel up. I'd like to hear more about what your route is, and, of course, how it went. Good luck! I did it with my son, his first, so I'm doubly eager to hear about it.

  3. Don't stop kicking ass Jill. I can't wait for what comes next.


  4. I adore the Grand Canyon. It was one of those places, when I first hiked there, that exceeded my expectations - and for a place like the GC, that's pretty imnpressive. Have a GREAT time hiking it. I can't wait to see those photos. Closely tied, for me, are my loves for the Yukon and Arizona landscapes.

  5. Wow, I just found your blog, and it's incredible! I grew up in Alaska, and I miss it so much! But the pictures alone on your site make me feel so much better! You're awesome! And if you ever want to read about hopping freight trains, check out my blog!

  6. Just started back on climbing intervals this week. I feel your pain.

    That numbness is ulnar neuritis from compression at the not so famous tunnel of Guyon (analagous to median nerve compression at the famous carpal tunnel). Just a little fun fact.

  7. Jill,

    I love the Grand Canyon's North Rim. I cycled there from Yellowstone a number of years ago.

    If you're flying into Las Vegas to hike the Canyon, there's a great paved rail trail loop you can do from Boulder City (just outside Vegas on the way to Hoover Dam). Here's a link to my MotionBased trail stats for it (recorded via my Garmin 305 GPS); I did this ride last week while at InterBike 2008. The desert views are terrific and there are great views of Lake Mead too. There's a bike shop in Boulder City's small downtown area that rents bikes. The trail is about 2 blocks behind the shop.

    By the way, there's a gravel rail trail spur that will take you to Hoover Dam. The spur traverses 6 tunnels and don't be surprised if you see more mountain goats on that trail than people.


  8. Thanks for the heads up on the Grand Canyon this weekend. We're flying to Arizona in the morning and hiking in the Grand Canyon on Monday. Hopefully the storm will pass us by.

  9. Jay - my knee problems are chondromalacia, which my doctor told me is basically chronic. I have to forever keep it at bay by avoiding repetitive motion things (you know, like riding a bicycle all day. ha!) But I am cognizant of sharp knee pain now and won't keep pedaling through it if it comes to that. I also think the knee braces help stabalize my joint and keep the patella from tracking in bad directions. I just use a typical neoprene wrap-around that I bought at Safeway. I'm thinking about looking into something better to avoid the chafing.

    Jt - We're hiking the Grand Canyon south to north, South Kaibab down, North Kaibab up, I believe. I think this will be my fourth time down there (possibly just third. My memory is eluding me now.) I've done it both ways - North to South, up the Bright Angel trail, and South to North, down the Bright Angel trail. This will be a new route for me. I'll let you know how it goes.

    Craig ... good info! Now I need to look up some good tips for avoiding that particular malady.

    Larry ... I'm actually flying in to Salt Lake to head down with my parents. Bike-free all weekend. But thanks for the info. I'll keep those trails in mind.

  10. The fall red ground cover in your next post is an interesting contrast to the wet yellow plants and asters shown in this one.

  11. Jill,

    I just got back from the Chuska Challenge in northeastern Arizona where I was out in a storm that swept down from the Pacific northwest. I don't have time to elaborate on it, but I will throw a few pictures up on my blog. The title of my post will be "Adobe Bike."

    Just be thankful that you were not out there. It took me four hours to get the mud off my bike and gear.

    Unfortunately the lens cover on my camera clogged with mud during the storm so I was unable to capture the experience as it was happening. Nevertheless, after my camera dried out I got enough shots to show the effects.


Feedback is always appreciated!