Showing posts from April, 2009


We made what was essentially a three-hour stopover in Ashland, Oregon, so Geoff could run with famous people ... Hal Koerner, Kyle Skaggs' brother, et al ... I guess Ashland is a mecca for ultrarunning. It's not hard to see why. It's dry, warm but not hot, and the trail system is amazing.

My time window for riding was fairly short and of course I started out having no clue where I was going, but I managed to find a Pacific Crest Trail access route. First dirt singletrack of the year! Yeah!

Holy cow, I'm rusty on dirt. At least I was never very good to begin with. I have a feeling I'm going to be dusting myself off a lot this summer.
Add another town to my ever-growing list of "Places I Could Live."


It was 46 degrees and raining when I left the house this morning. The air smelled like apple blossoms, fresh grass and dirt, but it felt like home. I started somewhere in southeastern Portland. Somewhere ... where, I didn't know. I didn't know that it mattered. I haven't been to Portland since the 90s and I've never had any talent for feeling my way through a city - map, directions or nothing at all. So I figured I'd ride blindly into the late-morning chaos and I'd have to end up somewhere ... where, I didn't know.

I wandered south for a while, picking my way through connecting bike routes and trying to stay cognizant of where I had been. Finding my way back in a strange place is always a big concern for me. It never comes naturally. About an hour passed just wandering the streets of the greater Portland area and figuring I'd never find my way out of strip mall suburbia. That's when I stumbled onto the Columbia Gorge Highway. A lucky find for sure. I…

Prince George to Vancouver

Still lots of driving and a little riding. Hopefully I'll find more time to write soon. I found a little crust biking outside of Quesnel. I have a feeling this will be the last I see of snow for a while.

The hills of central BC. Looks a lot like central Oregon.

Geo's first taste of spring along the Fraser River.

"Road biking" near the Vancouver airport with Jenn, one of my Whitehorse friends who now lives in the big city.

Dike trail with Ben. It was an amazingly nice day in Vancouver. What can I say? Canada loves me. Hopefully the weather will hold as we drop into the States.

Dease Lake to Prince George

A lot is happening right now and there's been no chance to process much of it at all. It feels like someone hit the fast-forward button on my life, and I've felt numb to all the miles behind me and terrified of the miles steamrolling toward me. Meanwhile, I've been working hard to churn out the requisite number of miles each day, both in the car and on the bike. There's not much space to summarize right now ... life in fast forward contains a lot of static ... but the trip, as road trips go, has been eventful ...

Up at 7 a.m. to ride out of Dease Lake. The temperature was low enough to turn fairly deep puddles into solid ice ... probably 25 or 27 degrees. My Camelbak hose froze. I, despite layering up as best I could with the "summer" clothes I have with me, also froze. I haven't been that cold in a long time. Definitely since before the frostbite incident.
The ride was hilly and high, as northern BC rides go. I rode hard and felt little in the way of pa…

Whitehorse to Dease Lake


Juneau to Whitehorse

Oh, Canada.

Roll south

This will be my last night in Juneau for a couple of months.

We board a ferry to Skagway tomorrow morning, and from there it's on to Whitehorse, then down the Cassier Highway to visit friends in Smithers, B.C., and Vancouver, then Seattle, Portland and San Fransisco. Geoff has a race on May 2, but we have just a little over a week to get there. I'm hoping the old Geo makes it.

I really don't have the words for how I feel about leaving Juneau at this time. Life moves faster than I do. Sometimes there's not much more to say. I'm excited but apprehensive, too. I've been having deep doubts about the Great Divide. Like maybe it's not the right place at the right time, this time, but this may be my best and last chance. Even everything after San Fransisco is looking a little hazy. But it will be an adventure. Life's always an adventure. Usually the biggest things happen when you least expect.

I expect to post as much as I can along the way. I'll likely cling…

A sonnet

"Ode to Spring Snowshoeing"

With sunscreen slathered on winter pale skin;
I approach a sea of snow, smooth and wet.

Glistening ice crystals invite me in.
Snowshoes hold me above slushy depths.

In the calm of a warm Sunday morning,
Lethargic mosquitoes buzz by my ear.

Avalanches could drop without warning,
So I seek out places open and clear.

Open, so open in rich April light,
I run hard; my legs and lungs gasp for more.

On a canvas where creation takes flight,
I could leap off a cornice and soar.

White spires line paths to the great beyond;
It’s how I’ll remember you when I’m gone.

Nearing an

Date: April 17 and 18
Mileage: 37.4 and 32.2
April mileage: 656.6
Temperature: 46 and 40

I was still stoked from all of my Tuesday snow biking when I pounded out 60 miles in less than three and a half hours Wednesday, and since then, I just haven't been able to get my legs back. I've gone out looking for them, but mostly coming up with nothing. Lack of enthusiasm; dull ache in my quads; urge to lie down and take a nap in the boggy, ice-crusted grass.

"Maybe you're coming down with something," Geoff said.

"I'm not sick," I said. "Just tired."

Sometimes life catches up with me. And sometimes it just rushes by.

I struggled under a crush of boxes and bins as I hauled another carload of crap to the storage unit. One of the benefits of moving often is that it allows you to regularly assess your worldly possessions and realize just how little they mean to you. I can't manage to completely part with this stuff, but yet I can leave it all behind. I li…

Packing up

Date: April 14, 15 and 16
Mileage: 21.4, 58.9 and 44.7
April mileage: 587

It's been a tiring few days of hard riding, heavy packing, and trying to close up shop at the office. My to-do list seems to be getting longer rather than shorter. I've had a surprisingly Zen attitude about it all - not feeling the least bit guilty about cutting out in the morning for three-hour rides, purposely forgetting my cell phone and leaving half-full bins stacked up in the bedroom for days on end. I really did do my taxes at 10:15 p.m. Wednesday night. We just set up our storage unit today. We're set to board a ferry next Wednesday morning, and I haven't even gotten the oil changed in my car yet. Now I'm half-fried from riding hard in the afternoon on no food (tried to squeeze the ride in after a long string of errands, and it was a long time after lunch and a bit longer than I had planned), and I'm just sitting at the computer, frivolously clicking away at a keyboard. The Zen attitu…

Video blog: April snow biking

This may be my best video blog post yet. Seriously. I think I'll submit it to Cannes.

Music is "Read My Mind" by The Killers. Enjoy.

Snow biking - a great way to avoid doing taxes from Jill Homer on Vimeo.

Pondering platforms

Date: April 13
Mileage: 36.3
April mileage: 462
Temperature upon departure: 39

Ever since I removed the Look pedals from my road bike to accommodate my obnoxiously big overboots, I feel like I have finally been set free. I don't have clipless pedals on my snow bike. I don't have them on my mountain bike. And now that I am officially clipless free, I'm free to do anything I want - wear an obnoxiously big overboot over comfortable running shoes and/or sandals, place my foot anywhere that suits me, and pedal down the road.

I admit that I never became all that attached to my clipless pedals. I just didn't understand them. In most long-distance riding, emphasis is placed on relieving your pressure points. Use lots of different hand positions. Stand up and sit down in the saddle. And yet, people feel perfectly comfortable having their foot locked in one small place for hours at a time. I don't. Sometimes I ride with my heel resting on the platform. Sometimes I push down with …

First hike

Date: April 11
Mileage: 34.2
April mileage: 425.7
Temperature upon departure: 43

I finished out my monthlong membership at the gym on Friday, rode for a couple hours Saturday and got this idea in my head that I really wanted to go for a hike today. I haven't hiked since before the frostbite incident. I still have a lot of soreness in my toes and they haven't taken all that kindly to shoes yet, but I've survived a few "hike-a-bikes" OK, so I thought a bikeless hike would work fine. I even brought my hobble sticks (some people call them trekking poles. I only tend to use them when I'm injured, so they have that association for me.)

The snow on Douglas Island is in great shape right now ... too soft for biking and too wet and condensed for skiing, but just right for snowshoeing. I worked hard going up the mountain because I wanted to cover a lot of terrain and hiking, after all this time spent almost exclusively biking, felt strangely slow. Even with just a single po…