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Showing posts from March, 2016

Some Iditarod photos from others

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One of the more positive aspects of social media is the proliferation of images that allow us to see our experiences through another lens. Although I still have hundreds of my own photos to sort through, I wanted to post some of the photos that turned up on Facebook while I was away — for my own archives more than anything. This post is also an excuse to tell a few trail stories. I've already decided that I don't want to hammer out a 20-part post that's doomed to fade into the over-stuffed jumble that is this blog. I'd rather spend some time crafting a focused narrative, and if it seems good for a book, great.

The above photo is a favorite, taken by Mike as he and I traversed the sea ice of the Norton Sound amid a stout windstorm. When we left Shaktoolik, the village weather station was recording a north wind of 28 mph with gusts to 43 mph, and temperatures forecast from -10 to 0F. It took us two days to make the 48-mile crossing: A moving time of 21 hours and a purp…

Lingering at the end

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One week passed between my and Beat's arrivals in Nome, and I spent that time in a kind of limbo — not yet removed from the Iditarod Trail, and yet not out there anymore. I had close to zero Internet access, only the possessions I carried from Anchorage and a separate set of clothing I'd mailed to Nome, and a somewhat worn-down body and bike for transportation. Through the winner of the bike race, Phil — an audiologist and hospital administrator who lives in Nome — I was able to connect with a physician named Roxy who invited me to stay at her apartment and then included me in a swirl of nights on the town — crab bake birthday party, dancing at Breakers Bar, salmon dinner, and the lavish Iditarod Sled Dog Race awards banquet that's as long and meandering as the trail itself.

Although it may take some time, I have no doubt I'll eventually write down many words about my journey. The story of my last day on the trail deserves more than a summarizing paragraph, but much o…

Nome

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With a lot of joy, a little hardship and a healthy helping of luck, I pedaled and pushed a bike from Knik Lake to Nome, Alaska, in 17 days, 3 hours and 46 minutes. I finished on Wednesday, March 16, and I'm still in disbelief that all of it happened. There were some real struggles, but every day was filled with beauty and enjoyment, and I was genuinely sad as I pedaled the final 20 miles into Nome and realized it was all going to come to an end soon.

As it turns out, the time it took me fell 2.5 hours under the women's record for the 1,000-mile ride to Nome. I honestly had no idea. Setting out from Knik, I would have told anyone that my chances of leaving McGrath were probably less than 1 in 5. I just wanted to get myself through each day without any self-imposed pressure. Every day I felt strong and healthy would lead to another, and I was grateful each morning when I woke up breathing freely and feeling excited (or terrified) for what lay ahead. Racing against a clock was t…