I was contemplating which day I should make a break for Southcentral Alaska when I received an e-mail from my friend Joel, inviting me on a twenty-mile ride around trails on the outskirts of Fairbanks. Joel was one of the three-way-tie winners of the Chena River to Ridge 45-mile race on Saturday. He's a fast guy. My legs said no but my heart wasn't so sure. When was I going to be back in Fairbanks again? How many chances would I ever have to ride these great trails? And if Beat can get up every day and drag his sled for forty-plus miles, then there must be something to the notion that consistent movement can delay the need for sedentary recovery. Could we make it a shorter ride? I inquired to Joel. Sure, he replied. We could shave three miles off the route by cutting out the Ballaine Road climb. Seventeen miles it was.
"Oh yeah. I've already forgotten how much it hurts."
I woke up Friday morning to bright sunshine and headed out the door in my short sleeves to start packing my sled for the Homer Epic. After about ten minutes my fingers went rigid. "What's up with that?" I wondered. "It's not that cold." I moved to go back inside and noticed the thermometer read zero degrees. Acclimation?