Thursday, May 27, 2010

Gorgeous week ahead

4:51 sunrise
23:04 sunset

I posted one of these forcasts from last summer, but I can't help doing it again. I love summer in the Yukon!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

11 Weeks

4:55 sunrise
23:00 sunset

It's manic season alright. Sunrise before 5 am (and light throughout the night) and sunset at 11pm. Fabulous. I love it, even as it kills me with exhaustion.

This long weeked I was pretty focused on getting in three repeated longish days on my bike. Actually, I rode 7 days in a row but left the long days for the end. Overall it went really well and I was really happy that yesterday's long ride with Sierra was not only fun, but I also felt pretty good for most of it, especially the climb up Grey Mountain. That said, my thighs are killing me today and I have never been so happy for a rest day. I might even take two.

Here's how the weekend played out:

On Saturday Ben and I rode our bicycles out to Lake Laberge. It was a sunny, gorgeous day out and it was a nice ride. Unfortunately I have started to develop the dreaded bike leg tan, but I don't think I am going to be able to do much about that. Maybe I could bike more in the trees and less on the exposed highway. I took this photo at the turn-around point: pee break, snack, photo-op. The usuals :)

I was tired on Sunday and didn't really want to do any serious hill climbing, so Ben and I muddled our way out of Hillcrest and through Copper Ridge to the Copper Haul Road (Mine Haul Road on the map below). We toodled up and down the wide open dirt road over to Haeckel Hill where we climbed just a few switchbacks on this steep ascent before I had enough.

I was worried that I was going to feel like hell on Monday, but I actually felt less tired when I woke up than I had on Sunday morning. Sierra and I had a really fun 4 hour ride up Grey Mountain, down SFD, Girlfriend, Juicy, Yukon River Trail, Magnussen Red and Green, and then One Foot Trail back to her place. My legs were definitely feeling it by the end and I walked up some hills, but my mental alertness was good and I felt like I could have ridden more...albeit I didn't want to go up anything else.

I don't have any photos from Monday because Ben had the camera. Our Vancouver friend Charles treated us to an unexpected visit and he and Ben headed out to ride Boogaloo. Best part of the afternoon is that while Sierra and I watched dark clouds circle Grey Mountain and we felt the cool wind of coming rain, we didn't actually suffer a single drop. Somehow the storm avoided us. But I know where it went...

I'm hoping I bring that same karma to Alberta in August.

So, this week looked like:
Date: May 18-24, 2010
Distance: 100km road, no idea mountain
Time: 17.5 hours

Counting down to the August 8th start date, we've got 11 weeks to go until TransRockies.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Biking in the land of the midnight sun

4:59 sunrise
22:55 sunset

If any of my readers (all 3 of you) are actually interested in reading about the reasons why I fell in love with mountain biking here in the Yukon, you must check out this article that appeared in Saturday's Globe and Mail. From the article: "About 800 kilometres of steep downhill chutes, fast-flowing single-track and epic cross-country trails whip and wend through the Whitehorse wilderness, with seldom another rider in sight."

I'm heading up for a ride on Grey Mountain tomorrow!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Comfortable

5:12 sunrise
22:41 sunset

Today the Fat Cyclist blogged about comfort rides - trails with which he is familiar rather than new routes. I've been thinking about that myself this week since TransRockies will be nothing but newness for me: newer distances (longer), newer time period (a week of nothing but riding my bike), and completely new to me trails. I really like exploring new terrain and new places on my bike, but Fatty makes some solid points about why riding the same trails over and over again makes them better.

His first point: the better you know a route, the better you are at riding it. For the most part, I agree with this. This did not, however, hold true this past weekend when I crashed no fewer than three times riding B&S whereas last year I could generally make it down the trail in one piece. I'm actually kind of afraid of it now, but I keep telling myself it's only May and I have lots of time to build that confidence back up again.

But his main point (and the one I agree completely with) is that rides you've been on before start to collect memories. Now, I haven't been riding mountain bikes for a very long time (this will be my 4th summer) but I love the feeling of being back on familar trails, especially when I don't see them all winter (most of them anyway).

There's Blue's Brother - Aside from plunking around my backyard, I think this is the very first trail I ever rode in Whitehorse and it might be the one I have ridden most often, too. It's the trail that made me fall in love with the smell of the trees and the views of the lakes around Riverdale. For my first summer here, it was the go-to trail for rides with friends and even now, each time I am on it, I think of Tony cranking ahead, showing us the way, and Antonio and Alicia grinding along on their downhill bikes behind him.

Both of these photos are from 2007 on that trail.


And then there's Downtown Boogaloo, a trail which I had conveniently forgotten about until this past weekend when Sierra and I rode it in order to extend our long Saturday ride by another hour. I tried to forget this trail because the only other time I rode it was back in 2008 when we were saying farewell to Julie. Paul took us up....and up....and up...and kept promising that we were done the climb and then we'd round another corner and it just kept on going. That Friday night two years ago left me hungry and whiny and spawned Sierra's nickname: crank-o-saurus. I didn't ride this trail once last year. But, last Saturday, for some unbeknownst reason, Sierra and I decided to tackle it again. I know others would disagree, but I still say the climb's not worth the descent. And all I could see in my mind's eye while I was pushing (yes, pushing) my bike up the final hill was Paul, 30 feet in front of me, telling me that "that was it - that's the end of the climb." And, even though I wasn't having fun this week, I still smiled at that memory.

I feel like I have a story to tell about every trail I've been on. And I love that. It's part of what makes me excited about getting out there each summer. And I have a feeling that this year I'm going to have lots of new stories to add.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Always Awake

5:20 sunrise
22:33 sunset

Claire - this is for you. View from my bathroom, 11pm.

And the buds have come out on the trees this week. I swear I can see more green each day. I love manic season.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Whitehorse Morning

5:22 sunrise
22:31 sunset

At 9am on this Thursday morning I looked out of my 3rd floor office window to watch a man vomit on the street corner, cross the street, stop and vomit again in the middle of the road while his two friends watched and laughed, and then finish crossing the street.

I can't decide which emotion is stronger at the moment: revulsion or sadness.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

It's My Birfday

5:38 sunrise
22:16 sunset

I had a ridiculously good birthday. I am way too tired and it is way too late to go into details, but I wanted to add this awesome birthday photo from my friend Paul. It made me laugh out loud at work this aft.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Spring Snow

5:49 sunrise
22:05 sunset

Apparently Whitehorse has, on average, 87 frost-free days per year. So I suppose I shouldn't be irritated by what greeted me when I got out of bed this morning:



Sunday, May 2, 2010

House Update

5:52 sunrise
22:03 sunset

The house really has been coming along the last few weeks. This is good news, because I am rapidly learning that I need to spend a lot of time on my bicycle in order to be even somewhat prepared for our bike race this summer. Ben has done TONS of work on the trim and we even put up light fixtures last week! The fireplace tiles have been cut and we just have to muster up enough courage to actually stick tiles to thinset. Then, it will be a matter of hanging some things on the walls and voilĂ  - the interior work will be done for the summer. Yes, yes, there's a kitchen to work on, a stairwell to paint and an upstairs office to fix up, but for the time being - the inside stuff will be done in (fingers crossed) one week!

Here are some recent pics:

Patio stones cast by Ben:

Ben working his concrete magic in the backyard (not our canoe):

Light fixtures installed! The cactus and crocus are from Ursula; the black line is from Schoolhouse Electric in Portland.