Sunday, July 19, 2009

Alaska eve.

I'm writing this from Seward, Alaska where stage 1 of the Sadlers Alaska Challenge begins tomorrow. The travel was quite the journey as I traveled from Chicago to Phoenix to Anchorage yesterday. A total of 20 hours from door to door as Katz and I arrived in AK around 2am relieved to see both bikes and bags, finally hitting the sack at 4am. This morning we to to met some of the other riders and drove the 2 hours to Seward, AK with our support vehicle.
Let me just say that Alaska is gorgeous. Even with the rainy, cloudy day, the mountains and the lakes and the green is just beautiful. The weather forecast doesn't look so hot this week but I'm hoping for 1 good day not just for the race, but for the scenery as well.

Katz and I checked into the Seward Lodge and went to our nightly logistics meeting. TOmorrow is both a time trial and a criterium, both which will be a first for me. The time trial is 14 miles starting at 9:10am. Katz starts a minute behind me at 9:11. Then the criterium is 20 .67 laps around the city of Seward starting at 2pm. It will be interesting just given the fact that I've never done either of them. As I've previously written, there are 5 women racers. Two of them are super fast, both Paralympic medalists and ride what's called a kneeler where they kneel as they ride. One is from Germany, the other from the Netherlands. The remaining 3 of us are all from the US and we ride longseats where we ride sitting down with our legs out front. The kneelers are typically much faster but given the experience level, I think they may be faster in either.. My goal is top 4 and for those not so hot with math, that means not last. We'll see how it goes.

Katz and I have been appropriately named Team Diva. There are 39 total racers and all are quite serious as this is a big time handcylcing race for all of us. However, Katz and I are here to have fun and really just to finish. We gave our bikes a kind of once over and called it a night while other are out there meticulously making sure everything is right. We get a good laugh out of ourselves. Makes it more fun.

Tonight at dinner we did learn how to fend off a bear. No joke. Act big and talk to it in a stern voice. "Bear, please don't eat me" Let's hope I don't have to try that.

After dinner we got to get on our bike and make sure everything was A-OK before tomorrow. So far, so good. I was a little worried as my method of traveling with my bike may be a bit, well, ghetto. Instead of a bike case, I use a big roll of saran wrap. But hey, it worked just fine. Hence the Team Diva.

I'll update as much as I can. If you want real results the website is having close to real time results. We aren't guaranteed cell phone reception and internet access everywhere but I'll do my best.

I'm can't believe Im actually here with day 1 tomorrow. I know I am ready. With all that's happened this past week I haven't been on my bike in 6 days. We'll just consider it a heavy taper... But that being said, this week is for Jimi. All 267 miles.

Well, here we go... Wish me luck.

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