Sunday, November 09, 2008

Yeah studs

Date: Nov. 9
Mileage: 46.4
November mileage: 273.6

The roads were too icy for biking with the skinny tires Saturday morning, and Geoff was planning to enter a foot race called the Veterans' Day 8K, so I went with him. It was the third running race I entered this year, and, not coincidentally, only the third time I went for a run this year. We showed up three minutes before the start and were still pinning on our numbers as we took off down the path. My shoes came untied quickly and I stopped to tie them. This happened three times.

The race was held on a bike path that I ride often, and I found foot pace to be unforgivably slow. Maybe it's just my foot pace that's unforgivably slow. Either way, the pounding was hurting my shins and I was not about to amp it up. Geoff passed me on his return trip well before I reached the turnaround. He won the race at 29-something minutes. I finished a few eras later at 43 minutes and change.

I returned home feeling a little like someone had taken a swing at my legs with a meat tenderizer. I vowed never to run on pavement again. Then I finally sat down and took the time to switch out the tires on my Karate Monkey. I outfitted her with a pair of sparkling new Nokian Gnarly Extremes or whatever those 29" studded tires are called. And just like that, she went from being a blah touring bike to a heavily pierced, ice-crushing mountain bike vixen. She was beautiful.

Today I woke up to clear cold weather and a landscape coated in frost. I was feeling seriously sore - predictably - and figured my feet wouldn't be carrying me anywhere this morning. But thanks to all of my lopsided bicycle conditioning, I could still go out and spend four pain-free hours on a bike.

I hit up all the best trails in the Mendenhall Valley. They were crisp and dry and crunchy and in better shape than I've seen them in months. (In the irony of Juneau mountain biking, trails that are sloppy and muddy all summer finally become rideable after the season ends.) The area was peppered with frozen puddles and ice-coated roots that the Nokians ate up without complaint.

I was so stoked about the sunny weather and dry, hard-packed trails that I practically sprinted home on an ice-bike high. I jumped off the bike and landed on my aching shins, surprised by my continuing inability to walk normally. I hobbled in the house, where Geoff asked me how my ride went. "It was the best ride ever," I said. He just rolled his eyes, like he has taken to doing when I use this statement, but I mean it every time.


  1. They look...well...gnarly. Can't wait to get mine and give them a try. All we need is some snow that will stay until spring.

    You should try to run a couple of times a week. Cross training is a good a thing.

  2. I'm with ya Jill, I can't stand running either. The pace is slow, and here in Texas during the summer you need to breeze a bike creates to carry the heat away from the body. Between that and having painfully soft cartilage during the growing years of my youth as well as cracking both heals during a quarter mile sprint on a hard pack dirt track at our high school, those issues turned me off of running all together. I'm un-apologetically a biker, and would never "switch teams" for running any day. In fact that's the main reason I don't do triathlons, Love to Bike and Swim, but running and me were not that close.

  3. I'm with Mark about biking and swimming. I ripped some muscles running when I was in college and it hasn't been fun since.

    I love KM's new shoes! If we had enough of the snow here, I'd be inclined to try a set.

    On another note, what headlight do you use when racing the Iditasport?

  4. I love to run. And I love your blog!

  5. Running is hard if you don't keep up with it.

    I find if I don't ride my bike for a few months I can hop on and do forty miles with no problems (except a sore rear end).

    But if I stop running for a few months I have to start SLOW or else I find myself in PAIN.

  6. Hi
    I'm an author of language teaching materials for learners of English and I am doing some research for a book. I wondered if you could help me. I attach a webpage with some information about me.
    I am doing some research on life in cold countries and had some questions. If you would be willing to help me could you send me an email to with the subject title Alaskan Blogger?
    Thanks very much, I tried to find an email address for you on your blog but couldn't. So I left this comment, which you can delete if you like.

  7. That's actually a really good time for an 8k. Congrats!

  8. Human evolution has transcended running. Bicycling is the ultimate mating of (wo)man and machine.

  9. Jill....this is NOT a blog post but I was unable to determine how to contact ya..

    I dropped in on a friends site this morning to see any recent in particular was of interest so to Goggle I went

    In the results I stumbled onto a blog, a gal in Fairbanks...there she mentioned that you are a great blogger in Alaska...(I live down at Prince of Wales Island...great biking..)

    In looking through your blog I noticed "Did Juneau" I thought you must also know Pat, maybe you do but that wasn't what clicking on Did Juneau provided..

    A picture at Pats site this morning of the Dam above Salmon Creek began this little journey..

    Pats site...


  10. It actually looks sort of warm in those pictures!

  11. Article on you laces coming undone: crazy site

  12. i really enjoy your blog and what great pictures! my brother lives in alaska so any connection to him is awesome in my book. keep up the great work!

  13. SWEET! Looks like training is coming along quite nicely. Keep it up! I'm starting my new regimen late next month...


  14. Hi Jill,
    Just wanted to let you know that you have a reader in Poland. Big fun of your blog and the pictures most of all.

    Take care.

  15. wenya gonna say another storie bout yer bike? huh? when?


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