I've been quiet this week. Lots of changes since Susitna. More on that soon, but for now I thought I'd pop my head up lest my family think I've started sleeping 12 hours a day. For the record, that pretty much was my average my first two nights after I came home from Anchorage, where I doubt I slept 12 hours in five days. The cold I had before the trip of course reared its head with a vengeance, and the rest of my body decided it no longer needed to listen to me. It's interesting how one day you can feel lousy and still travel 100 miles on foot, and two days later struggle to find your way to the fridge for a glass of orange juice. I really can't say I felt that much worse than I did at times during the race, but I was firmly floored by fatigue and illness in the aftermath.

Then I popped out of it, and got on my bike. It was cold and windy in Missoula, with temperatures in the single digits and fierce windchill - not to mention heinous wind drifts across the trails and more bike pushing than my sore feet would have preferred. I didn't go hard, but it felt good to get out, even if I was annoyed by how cold it was ("Susinta is over! It's time for spring!") while being simultaneously amazed by how "warm" that kind of cold felt (8 degrees and 30 mph winds. Bah! That's nothing.") There was lots to think about. Digest. Pedal. Peace. Physically, I felt OK. A bit overtrained, but it definitely feels good to ride versus walk (push.) I'll be taking it easy for at least another week, but I'm still hoping to get in some good saddle hours before the White Mountains 100 on March 27.

I spent the weekend in Kalispell with Danni, so we could share post-Susitna indulgences such as eating freely out of Danni's leftover M&M/Reeses Pieces/Jordan Almonds "race food" feed bag, commiserating about our post-race malaise and difficulties re-integrating back in the "real world," soaking in the hot tub and riding the lifts at Big Mountain Ski Resort in Whitefish. Sunday was actually an awesome powder day, with tons of new snow and fresh pillow clouds billowing between the trees. Danni and I were quite the pair, getting vertigo together in the summit whiteout, complaining that our feet were too swollen for our boots, and moaning about our tired legs. Danni's friend Shannon was a good sport to hang out with us, and we actually had a lot of fun.

I only need to go lift-served snowboarding about once or twice a year to remember that I am an endorphin junkie, not an adrenaline junkie. Because of this, for me, ski resorts essentially take all the fun out of the activity - which of course is the climbing part. I know I could pursue backcountry skiing/splitboarding, but that's a complicated sport that requires a lot of gear, skill and risk acceptance, and still includes the less-fun part, which is the downhill part. Maybe I don't have to be ashamed to admit that when I saw a group of snowshoers slogging up the mountain while I was breezing up the lift - who were not carrying downhill devices of any kind - that I kind of envied them (although I would never snowshoe at a crowded ski hill.) All kidding aside, I had a surprisingly good day on the board given my rustiness/timidness. I was punching through powder clouds and carving semi-decent turns on black diamond runs, thank you slow snow. I love that feeling of weightlessness when you rise on top of untracked powder and weave through a maze of whitewashed trees. It is almost as awesome as riding a bike ... almost.


  1. I admire your drive in life, probably the main reason I read this blog. Keep on living life to the fullest!

  2. Durango Joe6:17 AM

    Ah, you are human after all. I wondered what happened with that cold you had mentioned a while back. From personal experience, and from having seen many colleagues suffet thru it, I know it's a tenacious so-and-so. Can't believe you competed before being fully recovered from it. That makes your result even more impressive.....

  3. I've hiked Big Mountain, board strapped to my back, 14 times since the second week of January. 14 times up; 14 runs this season. While everyone tells me I just need to buck-up and buy the damn pass, nah, what's the fun in that? No heaven without the hell. Someone even gave me a free one-day pass ... I've felt too timid to use it, the star's got to align just right. :)

    Waving at ya from below the lift,
    Jason, Whitefish

  4. That was fun, despite the residual hurty stuff and whiteout conditions. You are a great boarder.

    That's awesome Jason! I get the pass because I still need to learn to ski better and it's faster that way.

  5. I was going to mention the price as a big deterrence. Where the other sports/activity you are free to just do. That is the beauty. Plus earning a run where nobody else has been. Though avalanch are a serious deterrent as well.

  6. Hmmm....residual cough, sleeping 12 hours a day...that sounds familiar!

    I managed a bike ride on Sunday and a short run last night, but I was kinda glad not to be breathing in frozen air. Looks like you guys had a blast, though. I can totally understand the sentiment about riding the lift. I've always felt that the downhill (in any sport) is a hollow reward if you didn't make the climb under your own effort.

  7. awwww yes, only a 'biker' would know.

    "It is almost as awesome as riding a bike ... almost." <--I love that comment.

  8. Anonymous1:22 PM

    Agree with the option to bike when feet are sore (or blistered like mine get). Central Oregon had 50mph gusts yesterday that really made me a grumpy-pants!

  9. Am I too nosy to want to read more about the changes since Sustina? Anyhow, glad you are taking things a wee bit easier Jill and congrats again on completing that CRAZY race!

  10. Always leave us wanting more... also being nosy, Trep.

  11. Nothing wrong with a little lifty fun. A season for all things and whatnot.

  12. Nice site, just started my own blog and I also spent time in Alaska.

    Yours should be called Chill Outside :)

  13. Nice site. i just met a crazy guy in Truckee who told me about the Susitna Race. Look forward to reading about your adventures! Great pix. DO you know Yogesh Collin Simpson? Maybe he lives in Bozeman.

  14. Jill,
    Glad to see that you have been able to allow your body a chance to recover a bit. All of that fatigue post-race had to be expected. Wish I had learned to snowboard when I was younger!
    Thanks again for all of your efforts to share your outdoor insanity with us with your wonderful writing. Also again, hope to meet you and Beat sometime. I'll be doing some trail races in CA soon and will keep my eyes peeled for Beat (and you). Otherwise, there is a good chance that we will visit Missoula again this year and visit ACA. Have a great March! Ann

  15. very very nice, good pics and adventure! :)


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