Posts made in March, 2013

ITI Part V – Nikolai to McGrath

»Posted by on Mar 31, 2013 in Blog | 13 comments

ITI Part V – Nikolai to McGrath

There is no coming to consciousness without pain. C.G. Jung We reach Nikolai at nightfall just after 6 pm. I was a bit worried we would be circling around looking for the checkpoint as I was told it is notoriously hard to find. However, there are small ITI signs staked at intersections to guide us. John and I are thankful to not have to waste any additional energy on the search. We both immediately collapse on the Petruska’s couch upon entering their home. It feels warm inside, too warm. I shed some layers, but am still working up a sweat. I notice my face is swelling and appears puffy upon touch. My hands and feet look swollen as well. My throat is locked up in a knot. I have a dry, raspy cough. My head is pounding, my breathing is strained as if undergoing...

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ITI Part IV – Rohn to Nikolai

»Posted by on Mar 28, 2013 in Blog | 10 comments

ITI Part IV – Rohn to Nikolai

What am I doing here in this endless winter? Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis and Other Stories The Rohn checkpoint is a basic wall tent cabin, heated by a wood fire stove. A snowbank occupies one side of the shelter, covered in chopped cedar for insulation. The stove along with food supplies take up most of the other side. Eight people can fit lying side-by-side on the snowbank. As we enter, Steve (the fellow from Newcastle) is nestled on one end, while Italian couple, Ausilia and Sebastiano are on the other. They are riding all the way to Nome together. I am impressed by the scale of their undertaking, but also by the fact they are doing the race as a couple. I have travelled extensively with my wife in some pretty demanding situations all over the world. The...

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ITI Part III – Finger Lake to Rohn

»Posted by on Mar 21, 2013 in Blog | 8 comments

ITI Part III – Finger Lake to Rohn

If in normal conditions it is skill, which counts, in such extreme situations, it is the spirit, which saves. Walter Bonatti I have been told that the trail changes significantly after Finger Lake. The first 130 miles are basically a highway, being primarily on long, stretches of river, with high snowmachine traffic and frequent businesses along the way. Other than my physical limitations, the overall trail experience has been fairly tame, similar to the Susitna 100 from last year.  The prospect of what lies ahead, crossing the Alaska Range and being immersed in vast mountainscapes is exhilarating. This anticipation, along with the brilliant play of the setting sun among the trees, puts a spring in my step. I am riding an all time mental high and physically I am...

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ITI Part II – Skwentna to Finger Lake

»Posted by on Mar 19, 2013 in Blog | 17 comments

ITI Part II – Skwentna to Finger Lake

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer. Albert Camus Eyes glazed over, I stare absently at my $22 lasagna. Fuck, I think to myself, I tipped the Yenta lodge like 40%. Despite my apparent removed demeanour, my sense of what I need to accomplish at each stop is clear. I have established a mechanical routine to manage myself. I had an epiphany at Yentna that despite being completely crushed by the first 60 miles, I could and would somehow revive and go on. When I reach the checkpoint at 6 pm, I unclip my duffle from my sled and bring the bag inside. I pencil in my name on to the sign-in sheet and check on the bike race out of interest. My first priority is to order food, focusing more on what will replenish me rather...

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ITI Part I – Knik to Skwentna

»Posted by on Mar 15, 2013 in Blog | 10 comments

ITI Part I – Knik to Skwentna

What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out. Bertrand Russell A mix of tense excitement and anticipation fills the air as racers make final adjustments to their gear, exchange a few words, eat, and hydrate before the 2pm start. I remember this scene quite vividly from last year when I had accompanied Geoff to see him off on his journey. On the one hand, I am ready to get going, to start chipping away at the miles that await. On the other hand, there is no rush, no typical surge of adrenaline before the gun goes off. In fact, as I stand chatting with John Logar, I do not realize the race has started until the group of racers in front of us pulls forward. The bikers head left to connect with a longer, but more rideable road while foot racers...

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