Sunday, March 08, 2009


Since I came back to Juneau on Wednesday, my life has fallen quickly back into its old routine ... minus, quite notably, the biking. I'm not sure when I'll be able to ride, or even really walk, again. But despite a building reserve of pent-up energy, I'm not in any mood to rush it. I'm willing to set aside the time it takes to heal. Meanwhile, though, the late winter is passing me by.

Geoff has not been able to shake his cold, but has been feeling similarly pent up by biological forces beyond his control. So today he announced he was going to the Mendenhall Campground to ski "for an hour, tops." And as I looked out at the seductive sunshine hovering over 10-degree temperatures with fierce winds, I asked if I could go with him.

I wrapped my useless foot up in three socks and a down bootie and planned to crutch over to a nice sunny spot and wait for Geoff until my left foot (the one with the feeling, and therefore the indicator) became cold. But as I approached the shoreline of the frozen lake, the relief of hard effort and a well-packed trail beckoned me forward.

I tested the trail to make sure I wasn't leaving deep postholes, but the claws on the crutches didn't dig in any deeper than my footprint. I so badly wanted to go for a little walk, even if only a mile or so, that I weighed the ridiculousness of hobbling down a snowy trail on crutches with the likelihood that a skier might stop and scold me. It was still worth it. I tentatively ventured forward while planning my defense: "Don't the injured deserve sunshine, too?"

And to my relief, everyone I encountered treated me like a normal person. "That was me last winter," one woman told me as she skated by. "I thought I was going to go bonkers." Juneau skiers are the best.

I returned to the car to meet Geoff an hour later, my biceps and abdomen burning and my face dripping sweat. Both feet were nice and warm. It felt great to get out.

I know I've mentioned this before, but I wanted to take a minute to formally thank everyone who helped me with my stunted race effort.

• Greg and Pete at Speedway Cycles. As I write this, Pete recently arrived in McGrath in fifth place and the first-place skier. Honestly, Pete, after seeing you chop along that first day, I am extremely impressed. Way to persevere through tough conditions. Enjoy the well-earned rest, whether you go on to Nome or not.

• Eric at Epic Designs. The day we returned from Juneau, Geoff and I placed a brand new order for summer frame bags (It's about time my Monkey had her own seat and bikepacking gear.) Eric's stuff is so in demand that he's backordered about six weeks now, and the dude really does sew all day long when he's not skiing a sub three-hour 50K in the Tour of Anchorage (Congratulations, Eric! 2:55 is awesome!), so I recommend ordering soon.

• Ultrarob, who held a fundraiser for my race even though it turned out to be a short one. Ultrarob's store still offers deals on a great assortment of cycling and outdoor gear. Check it out.

• Fellow Yentna drop-outs, Italian cyclist Riccardo Ghirardi and Spanish cyclist Isabel Lopez. Even though the communication was limited, your friendship through those hard hours was priceless.

• Everyone who bought my book. I'm pretty bummed I didn't come out of this year's event with more stories to tell, but there will be time enough for that soon. (This book's still pretty OK, though, so you should buy it :-)

• Those who made unsolicited donations through my blog, which was a very nice surprise.

• And to family, friends, and the people who read this blog. I really feel like I belong to a great community of like-minded friends worldwide.


  1. The visual of you hobbling along with your crutches is great. Sort of symbolic. You're awesome. Here's hoping for a quick and positive recovery.

  2. I was stuck on crutches this year too. I'm on the back side of my injury though. Have fun with those bad boys while you've got them. Hopefully you won't need them as long as I did. Great effort in the race. Hope your recovery is quick.

  3. Glad you got out and got some fresh air and sunshine - just be careful not to overdo - yes, the injured do deserve sunshine too. You are awesome. Hope to see you soon.


    Here is a link for Geoff about exercising with a cold. I am sorry I don't know of an article for someone with Frostbite.

  5. First tentative steps back. Just think where you will be in a month.


  6. My doctor (who is an avid endurance athlete) encourages me to do a little low intensity exercise (easy running for me) if I have a minor cold or injury, he says the increased blood circulation and reduced stress (for those of us addicted to exercise) has to be good for healing. I can't imagine you're doing any harm to your foot. Plus everyone needs sunshine. Hope you get back out there in full force soon.

  7. Jill...

    I just want to thank you for all the inspiration you have provided for the rest of us.

    Take care of that foot and let it heal.

    Think of next year and GDR!! I knew you had plans...

  8. Heal up quick.

    Your fun adventures are far from over.

  9. It makes me sad that a person can't go for a walk (er, crutch) without being afraid of being "scolded". People need to share the outdoors, it's for everyone. Best of luck to you during your recovery!

  10. You made good choices, and survived. It's always easy to doubt, somewhat easier to be ignorant, but better by far to be honest. You're honest about what happened, the choice you made and where you ended up. Better to be able to ride the next race than be hobbled for possibly years to come. Your blog is a JOY to read. And fun too.

  11. Hi Jill, just finished the book, great stuff. Thanks for putting your experiences to words, great learning more about you. I'm going to give it to my wife for inspiration.



Feedback is always appreciated!