This post-race week has been more than a bit of a blur. After I rolled into the finish I waited nearly four hours to catch a ride back to town. At first I just sat in the "heating" tent and shivered; then I finally wrestled my boots back on and schlepped the 500 frigid yards to John's wind-blasted truck to grab my winter sleeping bag. I sat in a camp chair and cocooned myself in a -40-degree down shell and completely passed out as finishing racers, Arctic winds and commotion swirled around me.
Chris and I caught a ride back to Fairbanks with Robin Beebee and her husband, and we each succeeded in catching about a two-hour nap before John arrived at home and it was time to eat a half dozen meals and swap race stories. Skiers shuffled in and out of the house all day, telling tales of the trail, showing off battle scars and trying to remember faces and names as the line between consciousness and dreams became more and more blurred. I was up chatting with Ed and company until nearly 2 a.m., and at 4:30 I was suddenly awakened by a call from a taxi driver, asking why no one answered when he knocked on the door. I was so completely fargone that I stood at the window for several seconds, wondering why this yellow car was waiting for me and where exactly I was. And then I remembered — I was supposed to be up at 4! I have a 6 a.m. flight to catch! Thank you, Mr. Taxi Driver, for not abandoning me when I slept in!
By 10 a.m. I was back in Juneau, where six inches of wet snow coated the Mendenhall Valley. My Juneau taxi driver became stuck in my driveway and I had to help push him out. I spent an hour shoveling out my car and much of the lower half of Hughes Way because my knee was locked up and there was no way I could bike commute to work, and anyway, Pugsley was already on his way to Anchorage. I finally succeeded in freeing my car and then I went to work. I've been a gimpy zombie ever since.
Actually, I've just been preoccupied with packing, sorting, showing up on time for various appointments and visiting friends. With the exception of my knee, the after-effects of the White Mountains 100 wore off quickly. The feeling came back to my fingers by Wednesday morning. I finally got a full night of sleep on Wednesday night. My shoulders felt pinched, but beyond that I had no muscle soreness — a habit from my Tour Divide days, where I tend to ride at a pace I'd feel physically comfortable sustaining for 24 days, even though it would make sense, in a one-day race, to push for a pace I might only be able to sustain for 24 hours. I'm OK with that, though. I had a super fun race and it's nice, despite the crazy travel schedule, not to emerge from it feeling fully wrecked.
My right knee, though, has a few problems. I have been very gentle with it since returning to Juneau, icing every night, applying blue goop, taking Advil, massaging and stretching. Today I finally went to the gym and tried a gentle spin on the elliptical trainer. It loosened up nicely, but I haven't yet gained back the range of motion I'd need to ride a bicycle. Gah! I genuinely thought I was out of the water with this knee, being that it survived the 24-day Tour Divide without issue. But obviously there were things I failed to do, from my limited bike training right down to the adjustments for my Pugsley (I rode the race with my seatpost low because of all the 'techy' maneuvers.)
Not much I can do about it now but recover. I've made enough improvement in the past few days that I do think I'm not in for an extended recovery. And now is really an good time to take it easy anyway. I have to move out of my apartment by March 31, which means I have three more days to figure out how to transfer all of the belongings I wish to keep into the compartment of a Geo Prism (I love this part of moving: Prioritize, simplify, and purge.) Then I'm going to float around for a few days before catching a ferry out of town on April 4. There were lots of things I wanted to accomplish before leaving Juneau, but the combination of my Angry Knee and a rather dismal weather forecast may mean a more subdued goodbye to the beautiful Southeast.
Either way, I am really going to try to soak it all in before this, too, fades to memory.