Kluane to Chilkat Here We Come
A week from today we'll be driving up to Haines Junction, Yukon to camp overnight before joining about a thousand other cyclists in a race to Haines. The Kluane to Chilkat International Bike Relay is a about 160 miles long and may be done solo or in 2,4 & 8 person teams, with each member riding consecutive legs (in other words a two person team means one rider has the first half of the race and the other the second, no hop-scotching for twenty mile sections or whatever.) The first year the race was held Chip and I did a two person team, but since then we've been on a four person team, but I've even ridden on a few eights the years I was recovering from injury or had been away in the spring on book tours. But this year, 21 years later, we are riding as a two person team again. He has the first 80 or so miles. I have the second 80. Actually, I think it is 83 but who's counting? Last time we did this we were young marathoners. Now we are youngish grandparents (53 &56) which means we've had to train a lot harder than we used to. It's been challenging, enlightening, fun, hard, thrilling and exhausting and pretty rewarding just to do it, you know?-- Ice, hail, snow, rain, wind and all. After my accident I didn't think I could get in this kind of shape again-- so it's nice to know. It's also a lesson that anyone can, you just have to put your time in doing whatever sport you do-- running, skiing, cycling-- also, as we age, eating right, sleeping well, and especially core work and stretching are key. I couldn't have pedaled so many miles without the Morning Muscles base and lots of yoga classes. Really, with so much to be grateful for, and so much accomplished already, why even race? Well, because that's the goal after all, and it's inspiring to be around all those cyclists when we've been pedaling alone for months. Also, a race is a contest, not so much with other riders, but to see how well you can do something, and by competing your hardest, you help the athletes around you to have their best ride as well. I am curious to see just how much I can push myself. I know a race does that in a way that a training ride can't. So yes, we are ready, or as ready we'll ever be. But if you aren't, and if you are on a team (registration is closed) you still have a little time. I would advise riding Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Take Monday off, ride Tuesday, then rest until the relay. That's if you are on a two or four person team. Your butt will be sore, but at least you'll know you can survive an hour or two and how to work the gears on your bike. If you plan to ride solo or as a duo and haven't ridden farther than the post office that's another story. If I were you I would drop a flower pot on my foot and volunteer at one of the checkpoints instead.