I wanted to thank everyone who bought my book recently. I wanted to update you all on the status of shipping, which is unfortunantly not working in my favor right now. My bulk order shipped out on Dec. 6 via FedEx (I deeply dislike FedEx. I believe my bike Pugsley, which once spent two weeks wedged in a corner of the Juneau depot, would vouch for that company's uselessness in this region). The package arrived in Anchorage on Dec. 10, and I have yet to receive it five days later. I've been trying to track it down, to no avail yet. I'm optimistic that if I receive it by Friday, I can still get packages out to people in 2-3 days via the much more trustworthy U.S. Postal Service. Canada should be pre-Christmas as well. Anyone outside of there is pretty unlikely at this point. I'm very sorry about the delay. I will post again if I don't get the package by Friday. I can issue refunds to anyone for whom this might be a problem. Just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Yeah, I'm bummed about it, too. But I do appreciate all the orders.
In better news, http://www.bikeblogs.com/ named "Up in Alaska" the "Best Cycling Blog of 2009." Much thanks! For those who worry that this blog hasn't been "bikey" enough as of late, here's what I have in store for 2010: Snow bike training, winter overnight bikepacking trips (possible in the Yukon), the White Mountains 100 in Fairbanks, hopeful long summer bike tour, TransRockies mountain bike stage race on a mixed team with a wild Canadian, and more! Remember, It's Not About The Bike ... and yet, it really is.
As for my new book project, I have not made much progress on it. It feels like there are a lot of reasons I've stalled out on it, and writer's block isn't one of them. Every time I sit down at my computer, my head is flooded with images, but I'll just stare at it for a while, close the screen, and start reading one of the many bike touring and mountaineering adventure books I've picked up at the local library. I've found more inspiration in my daily life than I could ever hope for, and yet I can't write it down. I feel like I'm in a deep rut right now, personally, professionally and creatively. The only thing I haven't been disappointed in lately is my photography, and as I've said before, I never set out to be a photographer. I have a hard time taking personal satisfaction in the images I take because they don't feel like mine - they feel like the world's. The world makes the images and I merely observe them. But I guess the same could be said about words.
Digging back through this story I'm trying to write, I noticed a passage in my chapter about my frostbite experience in this past year's Iditarod race. In some ways, it echoes the way I'm feeling right now - not about my toes, but about the parts of myself that are holding me back:
"I pressed my forehead against the cold glass, hoping to numb the pain-seared blood that still coursed through my veins. Every capillary tingled with the reverberations of rewarming. The only parts of my body that I couldn’t feel were my toes. I looked down at the alien digits, nearly consumed by black and purple botches and puss-colored blisters. I tried to wiggle them and they only quivered, like a moldy slab of meat that had been left out of the freezer too long. They no longer felt like part of me. Imposters. Parasites. If I could only work up the courage to hobble into the kitchen, I could carve them off with a butcher’s knife and free the parts of me that still ached to continue the journey. But pain kept me pressed against the window in a cramped building, consumed with a helpless sort of yearning."
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