Friday, February 18, 2011

Su, Su scared

Well, this week has been surprisingly busy and I never got around to writing the pre-race post I was hoping to write. We made it to Anchorage with smidgens of optimism about the Susitna 100, only to have our hubris dashed by nearly a foot of new snow on Friday (such are the reports from my friends in the Mat-Su Valley.) New snow is just a set-back, not a deterrent, but it does mean softer, more strenuous and possibly impassable conditions even for people on foot. No use worrying about it. Since this is my first 100-mile ultramarathon, I feel happy to just try my best and if that's not good enough, well — either way, it will be a memorable experience. I actually get a little excited, even giddy, when I think about the ways the trail conditions might be insanely hard, even for a 100-mile foot race, which already seemed insanely hard. I tell Beat this, and he just shakes his head and says, "You're in for a rude awakening."

Steve, Beat and I all arrived in Seattle from different airports and shared a row on the way to Anchorage, where most of the time was spent nervously updating weather reports on in-flight wireless and gazing longingly out the window at the incredible landscape disappearing below us.

It's rare to see a clear day in Southeast Alaska. This is the volcano near Sitka, Mount Edgecombe.

Chugach! As we flew over the mountains Beat said, "Why don't we just go there instead?"

The Cook Inlet. Just across this icy strait lies the key to our demise.

The first thing we did when we arrived in Anchorage was turn the home where we are staying into a veritable gear tornado. (Sorry Kate.)

Brooks, the Susitna 100 race director, was all about spreading the pessimism. I guess there's something to be said about keeping people mentally prepared, but I for one would rather hear subtle words of encouragement than blatant gloom and doom.

Weighing the gear to ensures it weighs the mandatory 15 pounds. My gear weighed in at 19.9 pounds. My complete kit, including the sled, all of my food (around 8,000 calories including 3,000 emergency calories), and two liters of water weighed 30.8 pounds. Not terrible.

Enjoying pre-race carbo-loading at Romanos with fellow racers. Yeah, it was technically two nights before the race, but you really can't get enough carbs for something like this.

Testing out the completely packed sleds.

Posing with the sleds with Steve, Danni and Beat. Steve has a humorous post about our different sleds on his blog. We're as ready as we can be, which is to say, not much. I'll be dragging my SPOT along on this slog. You can check out the tracking page at this link. Also visit www.susitna100.com for race updates. By grace go I ...

My SPOT tracking page
Danni's SPOT tracking page
Steve's SPOT tracking page