Sunday morning I got out for what I call my 'Final Ride', the last training ride for the ITI. The morning was perfect, WeatherBug said -11.8 degrees, but it sure didn't feel that cold, probably closer to a comfortable -5. After many dark and cold mornings this Winter, the internal thermostat is getting pretty accurate. I didn't get out of the house until almost 6:30 AM, and now the sunlight is already noticeable. The snomo trails were freshly groomed, hard packed and squeaky. After a million adjustments to gear and clothing over the Winter, no changes have been made in the last week or two. My Alaska-ready load comes in at just under 60 lbs, food for the first 2 days included. I was warm, the bike felt balanced. I rode for 2 1/2 hours, pushed some hills, practiced a bivy in the cold/snow, but safety of my back yard. The Winter went by fast. I thought I'd be sick of biking by now, but just the opposite. I can't believe it's Race Week.
I crashed last weekend and have a sore hip. I had a terrible head cold last week which I'm recovering from slowly. I'm a bundle of fear and nerves about riding 350 miles, possible blizzards and exposure, -40 temps. I lie awake at night thinking of gear and what ifs, and when I do sleep I'm plagued by snowy cold nightmares. Packing my bike and gear in a cardboard box to send down the luggage chute at the airport gave me fits. The logistics and $ have been stressful. But a week of rest, getting to and thru the airport, building the bike back up, sitting thru the pre-race meeting, and finally 2PM next Sunday departing the Knik Road House will surely solve all that.