Saturday, November 29, 2008

Feels like summer

Date: Nov. 28 and 29
Mileage: 40.3 and 15.0
November mileage: 810.9

Cloudy. 47 degrees. Light rain. I complained a fair amount during the frequent days when the weather was like this in July and August. But in late November, it actually feels pretty nice. The temperatures have been so mild that there isn't a speck of snow or ice left on most of the roads and trails. I even recommissioned my road bike and rode it for the first time in two months.

Yesterday I peeled off a number of layers I didn't need, rolled up the sleeves on my hoodie and rode a brisk tailwind 25 mph along the North Douglas Highway. With no gloves and no hat, I could feel the cool breeze streaming around my skin. The bike's skinny tires hardly made a sound on wet pavement. Then, while fighting the wind back the way I came, I glanced over at the most amazing rainbow arcing over the Mendenhall Glacier - a nearly perfect frame. I slammed on the brakes, nearly tipped over because I forgot I was still attached to clipless pedals, wrestled out of my Camelbak and frantically rifled through the contents in an effort to find my camera before the light faded. But it wasn't there. I eventually dumped everything out of the pack, and the rainbow began to fade, and it wasn't there. Somehow, while reattaching the seat and seat post bag, looking for a spare skinny tube, pumping up the tires, adjusting the shifters and brakes and greasing the chain on my long-neglected road bike, I managed to forget my camera. Gaaaa!

Of course I indulged in a serious grump about the matter, and decided to work out my aggression by climbing the Eaglecrest Road at full throttle until the road conditions became too sketchy for my skinny tires. I ended up riding all the way to the top - the snow-free base of the ski area. Yeah, I hate to be the one to break it to Juneau skiers, but I don't think there's any way that place is opening Dec. 6.

Today I rode out to the Glacier to meet my friends and sustained two flat tires along the way. Right now, my road bike has a rear tire that is little more than a strip of cigarette paper with a faint hint of rubber. I've know this for months now, so I have only myself to blame for the flats.

Our friends and their 5-week-old daughter have been visiting us from the frozen land of the North - Palmer. Between hanging out with them and Thanksgiving, I haven't had much time to ride this weekend, but it's been fun to be predominantly social for a change.

I feel like I have a good long solo ride coming to me. Soon. Maybe when winter comes back.