Thursday, January 20, 2011

It could be worse

As you may have realized, I haven't posted a blog in something like a week. Well part of that has to with me being out riding but it has more to do with the fact that Jenny and I don't have - yet - a better internet connection than our dial-up. I can't watch videos (to preview for posting) and even things as mundane as viewing pictures is so obnoxiously slow that I have not - previous to this - posted from the comfort of home.

So I have to rely on my own wit to entertain you and cannot rely on the bizarre-ities of the things one can find online to entertain you. This terrifies me because I do not consider myself funny...and have to do stuff like eat shit to keep people coming to read my blog.

Yesterday I headed out to give the Pugs a workout. The trail had been groomed and for the beginning of the ride I was leaving the first tracks on the freshly groomed trail. I got some pictures and maybe I'll post them if I can figure out how to transfer them to Jenny's infernal Mac.

So the trail had been recently groomed but unfortunately it wasn't very smooth and the bumps had frozen. But when life gives you lemons summon your "it could be worse" side and see the upside of it. I now know that my gear should stand up over 135 miles. And that my fillings are in there good and probably won't come loose during the race.

And actually it could be much, much worse. I have experienced it during the '04 Susitna 100. The course that year was kinda lollipop shaped. I forget the exact distances but the course went out something like 25 miles, did a loop of 50 miles and then came back on the same 25 miles that we had started on. It had been warm at the start (actually raining some) and so the trail had been soft. The runners (keep in mind that you can bike or run or ski - like most winter races) had left footprints in the then-soft snow. Then during the race the temperature dropped down to zero and the footprints froze in place. So between mile 75 (or so) and the finish the trail was really an icy decent into hell.

Actually the ride last night was good Arrowhead training in that the final 20 miles were pretty much flat. I'm actually not really sure why this is good training because mostly what this does is reinforce my deep hatred of riding on the flat - and freshly renews my dread of the finishing section of Arrowhead which is straight through a swamp for something like 25 miles.

But then again it could be worse.

I'll go back to the 04 Susitna 100 (it's extremely interesting that this - my first snowbike race - really got me into snowbiking at all - that I didn't just run screaming). The start (and finish) was an 8 mile stretch across lake ice. At least the icy footprints stopped but by that time I was fried and my hands were going numb from a pinched nerve and I was deeply tired and looking forward to being done with this sonofabitch race and whose idea was it for me to enter this stupid thing in the first place?

It is surprising how far one can see across a lake (frozen or not). And if your only means of locomotion is a bike that you've been riding for the better part of a day and a night the distances you can see seem to be an infinity. One could see the lights of the finish line a long ways off. I would see them, put my head down and pedal for what seemed 15 minutes only to look up again and see that my surroundings hadn't noticably changed. But it could have been worse - the cousin of the Loch Ness Monster could have busted up through the ice and chewed me up. Actually there could have been a howling headwind, cold temps (it was around zero but I had been living near Fairbanks where zero was considered balmy) or any number of things. So I really shouldn't complain - even though I have spent the last two paragraphs doing just that.

I really have no idea where I stand. Considering that I'm now sitting at a computer this is interesting. I mean that I really have no way to compare myself to other people in the race. I haven't raced at all this winter - in fact the last race I did was back in the summer and was something like 16 miles long. And have not really ridden with anyone on a serious training ride this season. So I don't know how I measure up to anyone else. I also don't have a computer (to tell me distance) or GPS on my bike or anything like that. I suppose I will find out where I stand come Jan 31 (first day of the race). And I also suppose that it could be a slap to my - possibly windburned - face or a pleasant surprise. I'm guessing that it'll be somewhere in between though. "Mediocre at best" would fairly accurately describe my accomplishments as a bike racer.

Thus concludes my desperate blog post. Desperate because I'm relying on our dial up connection.

I suppose it could be worse.

1 comment:

  1. Went biking the other day for over an hour. I haven't biked that long in probably 2 years. :)