Sunday, December 11, 2016

Week 8

 I admit that discouragement about my fitness continues. But I don't really want to write about that anymore. So this week's training log includes my favorite moments from each day.

 Monday: Mountain bike, 3:39, 28.5 miles, 3,748 feet climbing. I was pedaling through Salina, a small community that was devastated during the 2013 floods. Fat flakes of snow pummeled my face as I churned through a thin veneer of powder atop patchy ice. I hadn't expected snowfall, and was riding my mountain bike with studless tires. Although I was slipping and skidding up the steep road, I paid more attention to the buildings — some relics from mining days, some boarded up, some rebuilt after being knocked off their foundations during an unfathomable deluge of water. Sandbags still lined the base. I always admire the lives in these hardscrabble towns, even when I understand the proximity to urban Boulder.

Just as I was recovering from a particularly awkward slip, I looked up at an older man walking down the road. "You sure are intrepid," he said.

"What to you mean?" I asked, assuming this was a veiled insult about the stupidity of riding a bike on this icy mess of a road.

"Just biking in the snow, that's tough," he said.

"Oh, it's not so bad," I replied.

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: Fat bike, 3:33, 13.7 miles, 2,372 feet climbing. Temperatures were in the single digits, and I surfed an untrammeled blanket of snow down to the shoreline of South Boulder Creek. It felt frigid in the canyon, at least ten degrees colder, and I stopped to pull a buff over my face. This spot was exquisitely quiet. I could hear distant squeaking — deer, perhaps — and the creek burbled in a hushed echo of springtime torrents. Sunlight cast a patchwork of glittering snow and blue shadows. I felt content, understanding that winter's beauty will always outshine my meek efforts.

 Thursday: Run, 1:38, 5.7 miles, 1,394 feet climbing.  Weightlifting, 0:45. I intended this to be a gym-only day, but the morning was so beautiful that I just had to go outside before my trip to town. I gauged the weather by stepping outside, and warm sunlight increased my excitement. So I hurried to put on a hat, mittens, tights, a long-sleeve shirt, and my "brand new" Icebug shoes that I bought in 2015 but haven't yet tried. Also in my excitement, I failed to check the temperature, which was a mistake. It wasn't nearly as warm as I guessed — 16 degrees, not exactly "no jacket" weather. But I ran so hard that I didn't really notice the chill until I was crawling up the west ridge of Bear Peak, which was still pristine more than 36 hours after the storm. I lost the trail and wandered into the steeper rocks. It was here, clinging to burned tree trunks while kicking "steps" into the powdery snow, that I realized I was quite cold, and started to shiver. I still had to pick my way carefully down the mountain, losing feeling in my fingers and toes. Once I'd returned to the flatter trail, I ran as hard as I could to generate heat. It actually worked, and I was comfortable (but very thirsty) by the time I made it it home.

 Friday: Fat bike, 3:41, 26.7 miles, 3,160 feet climbing. I recently made acquaintance with another fat-biking endurance cyclist here in Boulder, and she and I met up for a ride on Friday morning. We kept a good conversational pace up Fourmile Canyon, but once we reached the snowy Switzerland Trail, Cheryl put on the high-burners. I kept stopping to let air out of my tires — to make it easier on myself — as she powered through the crusty snow. On the wind-swept ridge, we stopped to have a snack. Gazing out at rolling, forested slopes, I thought this place reminded me of a spot I used to ride to in California, a lookout over Big Basin State Park. I've been haunted by my own nostalgia lately, for reasons I don't understand, but it incites sadness at the most unlikely times.

"I always love to come here," Cheryl said, and her voice brought me back to the present.

"It is a beautiful place," I agreed, and refocused on horizon. Suddenly I felt completely at home.

Saturday: Fat bike, 3:59, 22.5 miles, 3,045 feet climbing. Beat and I joined friends for a night at a cabin near Rollinsville. They were dragging sleds in the vicinity, and Beat and I set out for a ride on forest roads. Temps were on the warm side — 35 degrees — and it was snowing. I was struggling and doing everything I could to pretend I wasn't struggling, but it felt like I was slowly melting into the ground. The best moment came toward the end, when I was quite nauseated, and we stopped at a store on the highway. I sat outside in the swirling snow to quell this feeling of dizziness. Five minutes later, Beat emerged with a Pepsi for me. He's very sweet like that.

Sunday: Rest. I had another four-hour ride planned for this day, but we woke up to 8 inches of new snow, and I backed out. I don't have an excuse. I'm not tired, sick, or injured. Discouragement is really all I can claim. I recognize I need to either get over this, or embrace it. Ultimately I think it was a good idea to hit the reset button on this physically taxing week.

Total: 17:17, 5.7 miles run, 91.5 miles ride, 13,718 feet climbing. 


  1. You are getting there! One day at a time, Jill.

  2. Used to live in Wall Street in the 70's, a mile up from Salina. Walked that road in the dark many times, worrying about bears. That Switzerland Trail loop sure is a great ride.

  3. 17 hour work out week is a big week. You are doing great. I would totally not want to bike with 8 inches of new snow. So taking a rest day is a good thing, not a bad thing. Don't get burned out! And send some of that snow our way!


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