Cry me an atmospheric river
A college friend, Craig, came to visit from Alaska. We spent the weekend in the city doing city things — tapas at a Mexican restaurant; an afternoon at the de Young Museum of fine art; getting our exercise by walking eighteen blocks from the place where we actually found parking; being coerced into buying a 100-pack of fancy jasmine tea I didn't even want because, well, someone like me really shouldn't enter shops in Chinatown; late nights with other old friends talking about the best days that were now 15 (!) years ago; and attending the lively and harmonic Sunday services at the Saint John Coltrane African Orthodox Church (Craig is a Mormon, but joked it was fun to spend one Sunday worshiping the sound of saxophones.)
I finally booked all the reservations for Fairbanks at the end of the month, and became immeasurably excited about Christmas.
Somewhere in there I remembered I needed to train a little for this 200-kilometer snow bike race in Idaho that's just a month away. After a weekend getting fat on tapas and dumplings, I lumbered outside on Monday afternoon to climb the best tear-inducingly steep roads near my home. Redwood Gulch (ouch) to Skyline (tell me that doesn't start to hurt after 3,000 feet) to Montevina (2,000 more feet of !!!) The tires cut like knives into the mud as I ground the road bike over Montevina's dirt section with the fading light, then nearly burned out the rim brakes on a pitch dark, damp pavement descent down Bolman. There was a certain exhaustive quality to this four-hour ride that left me dangling on threads, but I was glad to put in some saddle time before the storm.
The storm. "Hellastorm." Also "stormaggedon" to the Twitterati. A forecast for a particularly strong flow of atmospheric moisture was played up heavily in the local media, and I'm not sure anyone thought it would live up to the hype. Everyone likes to joke about how Californians can't handle weather, even Californians. Even I shook my head and recalled past days of weathering "typical" storms in Juneau — being knocked off my feet by wind gusts on Gastineau Ridge, full days of constant rain, nearly swamping my car on inundated roads dammed by piles of slush, spending on evening on a moored boat on Juneau Harbor as 60-mph gusts rocked the vessel violently against the dock. There was no way hellastorm was going to be that bad.
However, it sort of was. Locally there was widespread flooding, flash floods, 80 mph gusts recorded on nearby peaks where I ride my bike frequently, and, as of 6 p.m., 3.93 inches of rain had been reported at the nearest weather station to my house, since midnight. I used to track weather reports religiously when I lived in Juneau, and I don't think I ever saw a 24-hour total over 2.5 inches. If 3.93 inches fell in downtown Seattle, it would be the second wettest day in recorded history for that city. (Juneau's record single-day rainfall is 17.38 inches. So yeah. There's that.)
But yes, stormaggedon made a dent. Even amid three years of exceptional drought.
Beat and I signed up for a 50K run in Woodside on Sunday, which is admittedly not a great idea since ten miles is the longest run I've completed since the Tor des Geants debacle in September. But I'm so stoked on running right now that I just can't let it go, even with that Fairbanks trip and the 200K fat bike race on the horizon. Beat expressed strong disapproval at my desire to go snowboarding in Utah, citing high-consequence injury risk, but he's surprisingly nonchalant about this 50K. Of course I don't intend to jeopardize winter plans; I'm not above quitting a 50K at the slightest tinge of knee pain. But I'm unabashedly looking forward to this Sunday run, especially since it's supposed to be nice and sunny again.