Saturday, September 12, 2009

It always rains on a picnic

On Friday, the weather turned beautiful (but still windy) and I got in an 85-mile ride. It was my longest ride since the Soggy Bottom, and my most solid bike effort since the Tour Divide ended. I felt pretty good. The Achilles pain is gone. I love the Herbert Glacier Trail. I don't care if it's "too easy." Smooth, wide gravel means I can pump the Karate Monkey up to 18 mph and weave through the moss-draped trees amid bright yellow devil's club leaves and imagine I'm flying one of those cruisers in that scene from "Star Wars."

Still, my mountain madness hasn't abated. Every time a ridgeline came into view through a narrow clearing in the trees, I couldn't help but stop and squint and wonder about the route to the top. I imagined ditching my bike and bushwhacking through the woods until I found a good drainage and clawing my way up to unnamed peaks. Same thing on the way home. The sky just became clearer and clearer until I was pounding into a 15 mph headwind through Lemon Creek, gazing up at Heinzelman Ridge until I nearly swerved into traffic, and thinking "Man, what am I doing down here?"

Throughout the day, between the bike ride and dinner and going to see my friend Christina star in the new Perseverance Theatre play, I stopped at home to check Geoff's progress in the Wasatch 100. The race was pretty exciting to "watch." Geoff dominated all day, holding off a six-time winner of that race, as well as a few other guys who are widely considered some of the best ultrarunners in the United States, and in the end obliterating the course record by more than an hour. He finished in 18:30, in a race that few thought would ever see a breaking of the 19-hour barrier. I'm really proud of him. I'm guessing this was the race of his life (no, I haven't talked to him.) Regardless of our history, I think I'm justified in being a "fan" of his. He may not like me anymore, but he really is an incredible athlete, and, anyway, both of our lives are going pretty well right now.

Sean and I hiked Mount Juneau this morning. We left under mostly clear skies, so much so that I put on sunscreen and sunglasses, and summitted an hour and a half later in a downpour. By the time we returned to the trailhead, clouds had descended to near sea level. Storms sink in fast here in Juneau.

I am planning my third Golden Circle tour at the end of this month, which I am really excited about. I still have to get back into bike shape (at the end of my Thursday hurricane ride, I discovered I had sustained a saddle sore, an actual saddle sore!) But it's good to have something to look forward to. Now if I could only recommit myself to my writing. Four weeks and I haven't even gotten through the first chapter.

10 comments:

  1. Jill, I just wanted to let you know that I've spent the past month(!) reading your archives and that this is the first post of yours that has appeared in my RSS; I'm no longer floundering 2-3 years in the past.

    You've really inspired me to search out some longer routes in my (admittedly urban) area, which has been a practice in joy and frustration at the stupidly large number flat tires I seem to get around here.

    It feels stupid to say, but I'm pretty sure that your blog has altered the course of my life at least a little, and I'm in your debt. Thanks so much.

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  2. Geoff may not like you anymore, but it's clear that you still love him in some ways. It's a shame that he lost a great woman such as yourself.

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  3. That's great news for Geoff. And great news for me that you are going to be coming through Whitehorse.

    Unrelated to this blog post, we had fun at the KRR and hopefully next year we will get you on our team.

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  4. Well, if you can't come up with something to write, you could always fill a book with your amazing pictures

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  5. The internet just seems to BEG for comments from random people about other people's business so here's mine:

    "He may not like me anymore..."

    Denial
    Anger
    Bargaining
    Depression
    Acceptance

    I wish you well and hope that your comment signifies acceptance and not bargaining.

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  6. Anonymous8:30 AM

    I was about 3/4 the way up Jumbo when it started raining. Was bumbed too cause I had a great view of some peaks in the ice field but they were soon obscured. Then I discovered that my shell is no longer waterproof on the summit. Needless to say, I got to the car an hour later and soaked. Thank god for seat heaters!

    There I was some 8 years ago spending all day riding MTB with friends in American Fork Canyon UT(south fork, deer creek, tibble fork, and some others I forget the name of) and all these cross eyed runners were walking, running, and stumbling by us on some of the trails. Come to find out it was the Wasatch 100. That is just insane (in a good way). So much respect for those guys and gals.

    Kyle

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  7. Anonymous11:02 AM

    Sean and I? Right after that "our lives are going pretty well right now" ahem, ahem.

    ;-)

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  8. Man...everybody's a psychiatrist! Can't anybody just enjoy your blog? In my profession, I tell people on a regular basis that you can move out, but your lives are inextricably bound together and there's nothing you can do about it...you might as well be nice. Does it have to be more complicated than that?

    The hiking has to be fascinating up there, judging from the pics. You can be in another world and back in a half day's time. Wow. Keep sharing.

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  9. I think it was Colonel Mustard in the den with the wrench.

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  10. Wow, Zeiland, thanks!

    I admire your drive. My ride from Harlem to Battery Park NYC was one of the scariest of my life, and I include the Iditarod in that list.

    Kyle ... I too ran into some ultrarunning crazies in Little Cottonwood Canyon sometime a while back. We seem to be living parallel lives. We should meet up for a hike sometime.

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