Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tough day

I made it across the state line today and rolled into Sawtell, Idaho around 6 pm. It was an 85-mile day that ended about 40 miles short of my goal, but it was definitely one of the tougher days of the trip. John and I left Lima under dark skies and light showers that soon turned to heavy rain. By 10 am, the road had turned to wheel-sucking muck. No matter how much pressure I let out from my tires, I could not stay on top of it. The mud had the consistency of wet cement, and eventually i couldn't coax the tires to turn. For several quarter mile stretches, I had to pick up the bike and carry it along the thorny side of the road as mosquitoes swarmed me. It was pretty ridiculous - one of those situations where I couldn't help but laugh at myself and the idiotic things I get myself into.

After the tiny, remote town of Lakeview, the road surface improved somewhat, but the thunderstorms became more violent. In a particularly terrifying moment, I felt the wet hairs on the back of my neck standing on end when a bright flash of light shot through my peripherial vision, followed instantaneously by a deafening crack of thunder. I could have measured its proximity in feet. I slammed the pedals and amped my speed to 23 mph after spending a whole morning traveling between 2 and 7 mph. As John says, it's amazing what you can do when you're truly motivated. He was already long gone, though, motivated only to get out of the rain.

There will probably be more mud and rain tomorrow, but it is another day. I was bummed that I wasn't able to ride the Livestrong century in Seattle. I was hoping to ride 100 miles in honor of the event, and didn't eve quite hit that. But I wanted to dedicate my 85 miles of mud to Susan Nelson and her brave battle wth cancer, andto all of the many people who donated funds to fight the good fight. Thanks, everyone.
Sent on the go from my Peek


  1. Hey Jill,

    Keep rockin it. I can picture exactly where you were and I hit the same damn mud. I'll be cranking out the Seattle Livestrong miles tomorrow thinking of you, Susan, Fatty, my cousin Vernes and a whole bunch of other folks.

    You're doing great. I know you're having fun now and there's a whole lot more adventure ahead.

    Kent "Mountain Turtle" Peterson

  2. Try to stay out of the lightning zone! People do get hit by it, as you know....Close call with this recent storm! Hope you ride continues to be a neat experience.

  3. Rock on Jill! Man, I didn't check the blog in the last few days, I wish I had, I'm in Montana and would have come out to wave hi as you rode by. Keep pedalin'! :-)

  4. The Tour this year seems to be insanely hard and yet listening to your call-in reports you still sound like you're loving it.

    Keep the pedals turning, stay safe, enjoy the view and keep laughing at the mud, bugs and rain. You'll be at the finish line before you know it!

    Oh, and I'd say the distance you covered yesterday in those conditions MORE than equals 100 miles in the Seattle Livestrong Challenge ;)

  5. Sounds like a slog. Remember all the hellish days add up to give you one rip-roaring "This is why" moment that makes it all worth while.

    Wishing you many.

  6. Jill,
    Been enjoying hearing your audio reports. Seems like you are in good spirits.
    Having done RAAM in '05 (4 person team) I know some of what you are going through. Going to be good hours, going to be bad hours, but keep plugging away. You are doing great!

  7. Jill - As Team Fatty co-capt for Seattle, your miles are officially added to the total. All dedicated to Susan. WIN! (If there were justice, yours would count double.)
    Keep hangin in there.

  8. You don't know me, but I have been following your blog for quite some time. I found you when surfing for blogs written by people who live in and really 'experience' Alaska (obviously driven by a desire to know more about life in Alaska). So, it was with amazement I read this post.

    Who would have guessed you were within 5 miles of my home/business. That thunderstorm - just one of many we've had day after day here in the Centennial. Oh, and you didn't stop in Sawtelle, Idaho. You were in Island Park, Idaho (at Sawtelle Resort maybe?).

    Anyway, if you recall (in all the excitement) riding past a sign which said "Elk Lake Resort" and "5 miles" - well, that was where I live and work.

    I'm sorry the valley was so inhospitable. I wish I'd know you were coming through (obviously I should have been watching your blog posts more closely :-). I could have offered you a warm cabin and a hot meal (and someplace to get out of the storm).

    Actually if you ever want to see what the valley looks like in a more friendly mood, check out our web page and my blog :-)

    Hope the rest of your ride is more pleasant.


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