Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Thanks to those who sent me nice e-mails and comments after my post yesterday. I really do make an effort to not get too personal with my blog, because I recognize that my boss, distant ex's, and a fair number of strangers peruse it. But sometimes I crave the catharsis of a private journal keeper, and my only real outlet is this blog.

It felt good to whine a little. Now it's time to take action. I was moved by Elden aka Fat Cyclist's latest post, "The Funeral and What's Next." Because the World Wide Web of blogs is in fact a small, tight-knit community, most probably already know that his wife died last week of the cancer she has been fighting for years. Having recently met the man, I was upset by the news, but deeply moved by his strong resolve to move forward. I thought, "If he can find the courage to move on with his life, I certainly can."

So in an effort to avoid flailing around in uncertainty, I've decided to set 10 goals for the near future. Some are quite ambitious and others are more doable, but all are things I find myself thinking about from time to time:

1. Be more focused about my housing hunt. I really need to find a place to live and get settled before I can move forward with much else.

2. Not be so stressed about my personal life: So I've dabbled a bit in the dating scene. It's been a real long while since I've actively tried this. It seems the rules of the game haven't changed much in the past decade, but I haven't really improved in my savvy at following said rules. And I'm a decade older. But I've resolved to just roll with it, and not constantly picture myself in a scene from that movie, "He's Just Not That Into You."

3. Work on a book proposal. I'd love to write a nonfiction book about the history and array of intriguing individual stories behind human-powered travel on the Iditarod Trail. I've been chewing on the idea for two years now, but I'm intimidated by the huge amount of research it would involve, the time it would take, and the prospect of interviewing (and finding) all the people involved. But I believe I could take it on with the both objectivity of a journalist and the insight of an insider. And I do think a compelling book about this tiny niche adventure sport could appeal to a wide audience. It's just too much work to do it "just for fun." Thus the need for a proposal.

4. Plan B, more realistic book project: I would like to create another "Ghost Trails"-type autobiography about the Tour Divide. The problem is, I had somewhat selfish, cathartic reasons for writing "Ghost Trails." I formatted it around issues that would not stop churning around in my head during summer 2008, until I wrote them all down. It's hard for me to think about a new project without viewing it in a similar slant. Maybe that's appropriate. I don't know. It certainly would be good for my mental health.

5. Fall Golden Circle tour: For two years now, I've embarked on a two or three-day bicycle tour of the 370-mile route between Haines and Skagway. I'd love to do that again this year, and I think I may even be able to coax a couple days off sometime in September.

6. Hucker trip to Carcross, Yukon: On my regular weekend, I'd like to travel to Carcross at least once to soak in white-knuckle runs down some really well-built mountain bike trails.

7. Klondike Road Relay: Yes, 'tis the season to make good use of the Alaska Marine Highway System. The relay is September 11 to 12, and involves running (yes, running) 10 or so miles of the Klondike Highway (at a relaxed, "casual costumed" pace.) Jenn, do you still have room for me on your Whitehorse team? I think I can swing it.

8. 2010 Susitna 100: I would love to approach this February race as a winter focus and really try to "race" it. And by race it, I mean not just finish it, but finish it as fast as I physically can. So for this winter, I am going to try to set up training that is more focused on speed and high-effort endurance, as opposed to my Iditarod training, which was focused on survival. I don't want my training to be too focused, though, because this is also the winter I plan to rediscover snowboarding.

9. New bike! By spring 2010, I'd like to be in possession of an awesome new mountain bike, and I'd like to force myself to do the research so that it's as awesome as possible, and I'd like to hunker down in a cheaper apartment and save some of my income so that I don't feel guilty about its awesomeness.

10. Future winter ride across the entire Iditarod Trail to Nome: Ha, ha, just kidding, Mom ... maybe.