Monday, February 16, 2009

Piling up

Date: Feb. 15 and 16
Mileage: 25.4 and 28.7
February mileage: 450.5
Temperature: 25 and 29

I leave for Anchorage in one week. I have a lot to do. And for some reason my co-workers won't take "Eat, sleep, breathe Iditarod" as an excuse for not exactly having 100 percent focus. When I think about race preparations or things I have to do just to leave my job behind for two weeks, my stress levels spike. But when I think about the race itself, I feel a strange sense of calm, as though I were anticipating a week of laying out on a warm beach and not a cold-weather suffer fest. I think last year's experience lent me a new perspective about the adventure. I was so amped up before the race, and then somehow so calm during the race. There were times I was hurting and times I was deeply afraid (the fear was always worse than the pain) ... but most moments of those six days were so fulfilling and meaningful and - dare I say - fun. You might say I'm looking forward to this year's event as a vacation. A bike tour, if you will. That's all it really is. Sure, it has the word "race" attached to it and somebody out there will be recording my time. But all I really want to do is ride that frozen wave of grace into some of the most beautiful country I have ever experienced. My bicycle, whether I'm pedaling it or using it as a luggage cart, is simply a vehicle to help me get there.

And yes, I realize it might be stormy and awful; that I might have to deal with 45 below and soft new snow; that I might have to deal with rain and a trail churned up into mashed potatoes (like it was on Saturday for the Susitna 100); that I might have a mechanical I can't deal with and my knee might act up at the worst possible time. I'm mentally preparing for those possibilities, too.

Until then, I just wanted to post a few links. First of all, my book is on Amazon now! You can find it here.

Also, I am trying to set up a good SPOT tracking system to share on my blog. I have a shared page set up here. However, I'd love to set up something that can be embedded in my blog to somehow show my progress along a map, Tour Divide style. I'm worried the shared page provide by SPOT will only work for 500 page views. In all of my digging, though, I only found pages that will allow me to show a single dot, the last point I clicked "I'm OK" on. Not nearly as fun. Any suggestions with how to use SPOT would be greatly appreciated (Even if anyone could explain to me exactly how to get tracking to work I'd be grateful. I paid for it and the SPOT help team confirmed that I have tracking on my unit, but I haven't yet successfully started it.) I'm not sure I'll be able to spend much more time dealing with this. If not, I'll probably post this map at the top of my blog before the race:

It's where I am now. Or, at least, where I last used my SPOT.