Friday, April 27, 2012

Here goes nothing

Right now it's 38 degrees and clear in Idyllwild, California. I arrived in town this afternoon after visiting my sister in Huntington Beach. Less than two hours of driving through traffic-choked Orange County sprawl and into the mountains landed me in this awesome little mountain town at 6,000 feet, with wisps of new-fallen snow on the ridgeline just above our heads. By Saturday afternoon it's supposed to be close to 100 degrees in the low-lying desert just a few miles south.

I spent the evening with my friends Sharon and Michael, who flew all the way out here from Anchorage to escape Alaska breakup and soak up a little Cali sunshine. I'm splitting a hotel room with Eszter, the supa-fast mountain bike goddess who is gearing up to crush my Tour Divide record this summer. The Stagecoach is just another training ride for her. Interestingly, we spent most of the evening talking about Alaska.

I head into this ride with an open mind and a lot of food (really, I have a lot this time. I checked.) My hope is to put as many miles across the brutal desert tomorrow before the heat really returns, and then see how my body holds up for the following days. The race is starting a bit late because of tracking issues, around 10 a.m., which is fine with me. Now I have time for one more meal with Sharon and Michael. I was fretting about my perceived physical state earlier, but I've mostly let those fears fade into the background. This is bikepacking, after all. After the first day, it all hurts the same.

You can follow my progress on the Stagecoach 400 tracking page, I'll probably be plodding up a mountain, or dripping sweat on the soft sand of a desert wash, lecturing my legs to stop hurting and singing catchy pop music to myself like AWOLNATION:

I say ya kill your heroes 
and fly, fly, baby don't cry. 
No need to worry cuz everybody will die. 
Every day we just go, go, baby don't go.
Don't you worry we love you more than you know.


  1. Good luck Jill, enjoy the ride!

  2. Very excited for you Jill. I wish you well on your journey and hope you make it to the finish safely and in good health. Good luck!!!

  3. Good luck, Jill! I hope the heat is okay.

  4. Just saw the map - you are completely in our neck of the woods from Penasquitos Canyon to Ocean Beach and Point Loma. We'll be stalking you more than usual! Good luck!

  5. I usually modify this song to several different conditions while I ride. It makes me laugh and keeps the mind focused.

    The tune of Smokey and the Bandit:
    East bound and down
    Loaded up and trucking
    She's gonna do what they say can't be done
    She's got a long way to go
    and a short time to get there.
    Pedal hard and watch ol Horner run.

  6. May the wind be at your back and the universe on your side! You got this!

  7. Jill it was such an honor to see you and get to ride a few minutes with you this morning. You are such an inspiration. Whenever I think something is difficult I think of your adventures and I have it easy. Wish I was 40 years younger and could do what you do.

  8. Good luck Jill! Have a great race!

  9. Have fun out there... And kick it good

  10. We're watching from across the globe on deployment. Good luck and can't wait to read your write up of the race.

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  12. Nicely done!! I followed your Ididerod race and never said anything. Just waned to say that I'm sure you inspire more people than you know. Congrats on a great race!

  13. This is a beautiful view. I never thought that it is in California. I thought this is somewhere in Asia. What's the nearest airport in Idyllwild?

  14. Wow, your life looks amazing! Sooo much adventure. I only just found this blog a couple of days ago but I am loving every minute of reading!

    Click here To go to my blog and have a read!

    Good luck Jill, can't wait for your next post!

  15. You should add a +1 button to your blog so Google+ users can easily share your blog with their circles.

  16. Just saw on your tracker that you've finished. Congrats and a big ole Aussie "Good On Ya Mate!"

  17. Congrats, Jill! Can't wait to read your race report!


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