Monday, February 28, 2011


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.