Monday, July 31, 2006

Wintry ride

Date: July 30
Mileage: 39.2
July mileage: 710.3
Temperature upon departure: 47

It's been a little while since I doubled over in the shower to claw at the searing, itchy pain of blood circulation returning to my feet. But that happened to me today.

How quickly my long-term memory fails me. I looked at the thermometer before I left and observed the 47 degrees it was. I stepped outside and felt a light drizzle hitting my skin. But I'm so inclined to routine that my mind said "July" even as February weather descended outside. I thought little of my cotton T-shirt and light rain jacket, the only layers that stood between me and a soggy refrigerator.

I froze. It wouldn't have been all that bad, except for I stopped to wait for Geoff at the fishing hole. And waited. And waited. I was already drenched from a two-hour ride and standing still beneath a narrow balcony for a half hour nearly put me into convulsions. I was shivering profusely by the time I realized the pain I was in for if I didn't get moving. So instead of fishing like I had planned to do, I biked 9 miles home in a state that ranged between shivery annoyance and mild distress. I could have stopped at a number of businesses along the way, but at that point all I could think about was a hot shower. If staving off hypothermia in July isn't bad enough, the worst irony was that hot shower. Wincing through the prickly warming of my numb extremities was by far the most unpleasant experience of the day.

Geoff called me a few minutes later to urge me to come back to town, but it was too late. I was spent. The task of staying warm can be so much more exhausting than riding in the sun. As cold rain continued to pound the roof, I settled in with some hot tea and read an article about the Badwater Ultramarathon. Ah. I love Alaska.
Sunday, July 30, 2006

Lazy Saturday

Date: July 29
Mileage: 26.3
July mileage: 671.1
Temperature upon departure: 62

I have here a picture of Geoff modeling the latest in Homer summer fashion. I promised him I wouldn't put it on my blog.

Geoff's dad and brother-in-law are in town soaking up all things Alaska. The brother-in-law toiled through a three-day backpacking trip and hasn't seen a grizzly bear yet, but now that there's a clamming trip planned, I think his vacation's looking up.

I should have spent some time packing today, but I didn't. At this point, I'm pretty much just planning on combing the house the day before I leave and cramming stuff into my car in descending order of importance until it's full. Why are you laughing? Honestly, I can't think of a more efficient way to pack. It's like preparing for an evacuation as a wildfire rages closer. Only in these moments of heightened urgency can you decide what's truly important to you.

OK. You got me. I just hate packing. And I hate moving. Which most who know me don't expect since I uproot on average about once a year. On the plus side, despite a 25 mph west wind, I did get out today for a great road ride. I rode a double loop that took me up the strenuous East Hill climb twice, sweating out the smoky remnants of a beach bonfire that dragged on until 3 a.m. Friday night and burning off about a half pound of flame-broiled marshmallow smores. It's funny because I woke up about four hours after I went to bed and felt awful all morning. But as soon as I got out on the road, I felt energized and strong. As far as cycling goes, I am actually pretty well rested. I pounded out an average speed of 14.5 mph, probably my best yet for that steep loop. And I did it twice. And I had that fierce west wind. Good ride.

That doesn't excuse me from not doing much else today, especially when I have so much to do.

But ...

That's not how I want to spend my last days.

I want to eat marshmallow smores and soak up some good spruce smoke, ride the great hills a few last times, maybe catch a halibut or some razorback clams.

If I leave the blender behind because of it, so be it.

P.S. Notice that my photo from yesterday has improved. Thanks to Mike for souping it. You think a person in my profession would have home photo editing software, but that's a fallacy. Most people in my profession can't afford home photo editing software. Now you can actually see the car. Also, Mike used the phrase "Andy Warhol Sucks a Big One" on his blog, so he officially has my deepest cinematic respect. Thanks, Mike.
Friday, July 28, 2006

Gonna miss it here

Date: July 27
Mileage: 29.5
July mileage: 644.8
Temperature upon departure: 53

A week is all I have left in the Cosmic Hamlet by the Sea.

Everything I do now is shadowed by the notion that it could be my last time.

My last time dodging erratic pedestrians on the Homer Spit;

My last time sweating up East Hill;

My last time pedaling down an abandoned road in search of an unobstructed view of the 11 p.m. sunset;

My last small town surprise - an overturned Subaru laid to final rest beside the silent shadow of Mt. Redoubt.

I know it's not the last. I know it's not yet over.

But I already miss it.