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.