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.