Friday, February 06, 2009

8.5 hours

Date: Feb. 5
Mileage: 93.4
February mileage: 145.7
Temperature: 28

I had a really good, strong ride today, according to the "sweat test." I usually feel I can't base the progress of winter rides on distance or speed, because trail and road conditions are so variable (and generally marginal at best, necessitating a lot of work to go pretty dang slow.) So I base my winter progress on the amount of sweat I generate. I always check the weather forecast and current temperature before I go. Since neither varies much in Juneau, I have pretty much down pat exactly what I need to stay warm but not overheat in the most common temperature/precipitation combinations (between 10 degrees and 40 degrees dry or wet I have down pat. Beyond those I have much less experience.) So, if I look at the temperature, and dress exactly how I think I need to, then head out and still sweat a ton and have to shed layers, then I know I've had a good, strong ride.

These eight and nine-hour rides don't really feel long or hard any more, but they're good enough because I don't have much more time to burn. Working nights as I do, the only way I can have any social life at all is by making dinner plans on Thursdays and Fridays. So I wake up early (for me) and ride from 9 to 6. Lately, I've felt relaxed and strong the whole day, even pushing at a rate I consider moderately strenuous, and often come home wishing I could stay out even longer, if I didn't have this and that lined up. I guess that's a good sign that I should be taking in longer rides, but I still believe I'll be more successful in the long run if I live a balanced life rather than taking the quickest route to burnout.

I've been pretty frustrated with the road conditions and general uselessness of snow removal crews in Juneau. The roads are basically in better shape where they don't bother to clear them at all, like mile 35-40 Glacier Highway, because then it's just a snowmobile trail. But I'll try not to complain about snow removal because it's a boring subject. I will say that if it's snowing quite a bit tomorrow morning, I'll probably spend my planned long day as a long hike rather than take too many more chances in the slush and sandy powder in traffic. I've just lost control of both my bikes too many times for comfort, and going slow enough to feel totally confident about staying in control just isn't really exercise (This specifically isn't a criticism of Juneau road crews. It's just a truth about riding on roads where snow has been piled up unevenly by traffic flow. The fact that the City and Borough of Juneau never bothers to clear that crap away even after many days go by is what irks me.) Ok. Rant officially over.

It was a nice day, though. The sun was always on the horizon, stretched between the mountains and a ceiling of clouds.

I found my way to the Airport Dike Trail right at sunset. It was the perfect combination of a trail ride and exactly the right time. Great way the end the day.