Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Today is the Day

Well, I will be heading south on my bike this afternoon when the Alaska Airlines jet arrives.  I hope it looks a little better then than it does now.  It is 35 degrees with solid fog.  I wonder if I will even be seen on my bike as I head out.  I hope I can find the road!  But I am still at work and the conditions can be a lot better in another 12 hours.  Right now, this is what I see looking south!

Leaving Tomorrow

I'm all ready to go.  Everything is packed, stuff that needs to be mailed back home is on the way.  Things staying in my room in Deadhorse are all in my duffle.  My bike packs are packed and ready to be attached to my bike as soon as I haul it down the stairs tomorrow.  As soon as Alaska Airlines arrives on the afternoon flight with Dan, my relief, I will start down the road.  I have dreamed of doing this trip for many years, but it was the prospect of doing it to help bring about a cure for blood cancers, that really got me excited enough to actually do it.  Something that might seem overwhelming seems a lot less so when compared to the daily challenges that sufferers of devastating blood cancers have to face every day.  The bike ride is a challenge that I can win, but so many cancer victims lose their battle in the end.  But through the help of much needed research funded through worthy charities like the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society one day these diseases will be a thing of the past.  That is my dream - to live long enough to see that day.

I will be thinking of all those who suffer from cancer as I start my long trip down the highway through the wilds of Alaska.  When the going gets tough, I will remember that it is not as tough as chemo.  Maybe I didn't raise a huge amount of money for this cause, but I am so grateful for everyone who helped.  I'm hoping to speak with many people along the way, and bring awareness of the need to work towards a cancer free world.

It's quite foggy here in Deadhorse tonight, but I know as I ride south, I will be heading towards better weather, and likewise towards a better world, one without the threat of blood cancers.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Just Packing Today

I didn't workout today and will take another rest day tomorrow.  I have lots to do, making sure I have everything that I need for the long bike trip.  I have all of my work stuff already packed up to leave in my quarters here in Deadhorse.  I also mailed off one box and will mail another tomorrow, of things I brought up to use in June, but that I won't be taking along on the bike.  My computer will stay here to be picked up by friends passing through Deadhorse next week.  I won't have much Internet along the way, but when I do, my iPhone will have to do.  At least I can keep up my blog and check my E-mail once I get to Fairbanks.  That first 500 miles will be pretty desolate with no Internet or cell service.  I might like that - total peace and quiet, away from the everyday cares and worries of life for a few days anyway.  I can just worry about bears, rain, wind, rocks flying from trucks, and flat tires.  But those are more simple worries.

Just one more night of work and I will be heading south on my quest to make a difference in the fight against cancer.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Nice Ride Today

What a beautiful day it was here in Deadhorse today.  About 43 degrees with very little wind.  I had trouble sleeping today so woke up quite late.  But I did have time for a lovely 10 mile bike ride down the Dalton Highway.  I didn't have time to get in a run, but at least it was a nice day for a ride.  I saw 4 caribou along the way and a few geese and a couple of tundra swans too.  It is starting to look a little bit like summer here.  I hope this weather holds until Wednesday when I leave on my 830 mile ride home.

A couple of caribou grazing on the tundra.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Only 3 Days Left!

Wow, only three full days left before I take off on the big bike ride.  I didn't do a workout today, other than my usual bike ride over to the Flight Service Station to go to work tonight.  But I spent a bit of time gathering all of my bike gear together and making sure it was packed efficiently for my ride.  I am going as light as possible but feel that I have everything covered.  I'm ready for any weather conditions that Alaska may throw my way.  Heavy rain gear, the down parka, lots of waterproof bags.  Bear spray, mosquito spray, and of course the most important things - my camera and my journal.

I'm still hoping for more donations.  That part of my plan has not gone so well.  But at least I did bring in something for this important cause.  I will be talking to everyone I meet along the way, hoping more donations will come in.  As exciting as this 830 mile bike ride will be, it is nothing compared to the excitement of dreaming of a world that is free of cancer one day.  That's my real goal.

Please help me reach that goal - Prudhoe to Palmer

Friday, June 25, 2010

5 & 10

Today was a great day to be outdoors up here in Deadhorse.  The fog was rolling in but the temperature was 40 degrees and the wind was only 10 knots.  I rode my bike to my favorite spot again, 5 miles to the south.  Then did a nice 5 mile run back and forth on my favorite road.  Then rode the bike the 5 miles back to my hotel.  It was getting kind of cold on the way back, but not too bad. By the time I got to work tonight though, the temperature was down to 33 and the visibilty down to 1/4 mile in very dense fog.  It will be nice to ride out of here on Wednesday, knowing that warmer weather is up ahead.

I am still far below my fundraising goal so any donations large or small will really be appreciated.  Go to my Team In Training website.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bikin' and Runnin'

Finally, a day with good enough weather to get on my bike and actually go somewhere.  Too bad I woke up so late because I didn't have as much time as I would have liked.  I rode 5 miles down the Dalton Highway to my favorite little side road then did a short 3 mile run, then rode the bike back to the Prudhoe Bay Hotel.  It was a really nice day, 40 degrees with only a 10 knot wind out of the north.  With my hat under my helmet, it was warm enough when riding into the wind.  I've been terribly stressed lately, dealing with my mom down in California who needs assisted living.  So difficult trying to get her to understand.  Exercise helps me to retain my sanity through it all. 

I propped my camera up with a rock and took a photo of me with my bike, there on my little favorite road.

Please Help Support Me!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ran 10 Miles

Whoops, it's after midnight so this post is really for yesterday, June 22. 
It was another extremely windy, cold, nasty day up here.  A typical summer day in Deadhorse, or at least it has been that way almost all of June.  Too windy to do anything reasonable outdoors so I ran 10 miles on the treadmill at the Prudhoe Bay Hotel.  It was a really good workout, although it is never as enjoyable as running outside.  But sometimes you have to do what you have to do to get the workout in. 

If it is windy like this on June 30th when I leave on my bicycle, at least the wind will be at my back.  It is so consistantly from the northeast, that I'm sure it will be helping to push me towards my goal of Palmer to the south, but most of all my real goal - a cure for blood cancers.

Please help me with a donation!

Monday, June 21, 2010

5 Windy Miles!

The first day of summer started out at 29 degrees with 1/2 mile visibility in freezing fog with a 200 foot ceiling, and of course still some wind.  But by afternoon when I woke up it was up to 43 degrees and the wind was up to 20 miles an hour.  But at least it was really sunny and beautiful. It was a bit too windy for a reasonable bike workout but I did drive down to my favorite spot and did a 5 mile run.  It felt great! 

The view was lovely and wild.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Feeling Better

Yesterday any kind of workout was out of the question.  I was terribly sick.  But I am feeling much better today so managed to get in a short 3 mile run on the treadmill this afternoon.  I'm hoping to be back to normal tomorrow and finally get in a good long run and hopefully even a bike ride.  The wind is calming down and maybe tomorrow will bring reasonable bike riding weather.  I don't get a very good workout when trying to ride against a 40 mile an hour wind, in sub freezing temperatures!

I did take a nice drive down the road yesterday and took a few photos of the area.  It is still beautiful in a wild barren sort of way.

I hope to get outside tomorrow and ride my bike and run!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Another Windy Day

One more day of avoiding the Arctic blast, and running on the treadmill instead.  I'm still pretty sick with this cold and sore throat, so just did my 3 mile short run.  I could tell I was dragging a bit but at least I did get in a short workout.  I hope this weather picks up a little in the next weeks so I can get a little bike riding in.  Of course, even if I don't, I will be getting about 830 miles of bike riding in whatever obnoxious weather Alaska throws at me, starting around 4 pm on June 30.  

It's all to help stop blood cancers.

My Team In Training bike! I've had it for years and it just happens to proudly wear the Team colors of purple and green!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

5 Miles Today

Bummer!  Another day of miserable obnoxious wind.  I so wanted to ride my bike and run outdoors.  I could have but the problem is that I don't get a good workout when all of my efforts are spent fighting the wind.  So I did my 5 miles on the treadmill at the Prudhoe Bay Hotel.  I woke up with a bad sore throat so wondered if I should just rest.  But I decided that it was still best to get in a good run, even though a little shorter than I had hoped to do.

Look at this windsock, the view out my hotel room window. It tells the story, of 37 degrees and 30+ knots of wind.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Short Run Day

I was feeling pretty sluggish today and only ran 3 miles on the treadmill.  Maybe it was the nasty windy weather or just stress from my life in general.  I had hoped to run a little longer but decided to stick with my plan of alternating a short run with a longer one.  Hoping for a longer one tomorrow.  The way the wind is blowing it will probably also be on the treadmill just like today.  It just isn't the same as running outdoors, but at least I do feel like I got a good workout.  

It's in the low 30's and blowing about 40 miles an hour out there.  I think I will leave the bike here in my hotel room tonight too.  Tomorrow will be two weeks from the day that I start my bike ride to Palmer.  I hope I start out with a tailwind!  

Monday, June 14, 2010

Windy Windy Windy!

Gotta laugh at myself today.  I was so ambitious.  I saw the wind sock sticking straight out, but decided to ride the 5 miles down to my favorite running spot and then run, then ride back.  It was in the 30's and blowing some horrendous amount, so by the time I had made it 1/4 mile I turned the bike around and parked it.  That was obnoxious!  Then I drove down to my spot and managed to run for 5 miles.  I had hoped to run longer, but it was beating me down.  I did get a great workout though.  Freezing in one direction and thawing out in the other direction. 

A good run sure lifts the spirits no matter how weird the weather might be.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

5 Miles on the Haul Road

It was in the 30s today and windy as usual.  I drove down the road 22 miles and ran along the Haul Road by the pond with the sign that says Caren Pond.  My little pond!  It was sunny down there, even though probably just as cold, and certainly just as windy.  But I had a nice 5 mile run up and down the side of the road. It was a bit too nasty for biking so I will just ride back and forth to work tonight.  Maybe tomorrow the fog and cold and wind will be gone and I can do a nice long bike ride.  It is starting to dry out so the road is better for riding than the last couple of weeks. The Haul Road was in excellent condition.  I can't wait to do my bike ride home to Palmer.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Wind Dust Mud - Grit in my Teeth!

Yesterday and today have been just terrible for getting any kind of workout.  I work all night and sleep from 7 am to 2 pm.  But both days I got no sleep at all.  They weren't emergency phone calls but were important enough that I am glad I answered them.  I have been awake over 48 hours now and still have to go to work tonight!  I keep wanting to turn my phone off but with my mom just moving to assisted care, I know I need to be there if she needs me.  So I am learning to live on no sleep!

I tried to ride yesterday but they had just graded the road and the water truck had just gone by.  My poor bike nearly sank into the mud.  Today was a bit better although still tough riding.  But I did ride about 5 miles to and from the Prudhoe Bay General Store.  I needed to pick up some bear spray and some heavy duty rain gear in case on my long ride south I encounter one of the torrential downpours that like to come rolling through.  I don't want to get completely soaked, and I find that my Gortex stuff tends to fall down if it rains too hard.

It was pretty windy riding the bike today and as the trucks went by, they spattered me with a combination of dust and mud.  I have lots of grit in my teeth now!  I suppose that is good training for riding the Dalton Highway in a couple of weeks.  The conditions on that rough gravel road will likely be more challenging than the distance and hills that I will encounter.

The sun is up 24 hours these days, the clouds this morning brought a little color, even though it really was neither sunrise or sunset at 3 am.  Caught this shot with my iPhone from the window of the Flight Service Station where I work.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Great Workout

Today is what I want to do every day until my big ride from here to Palmer.  I rode my bike about 5 miles to the south to my favorite running trail.  Then I ran for 5 miles, then rode the bike back.  I got some of both running and riding into the same workout.  It was nice that the weather was good and not too windy.  There was some wind, making the ride back a little more challenging than the ride down.  But still great practice.  I love running out there on the tundra.  No cars, no trucks, no dust, and luckily - no bears either.  I have a 20 mile view in all directions there and I maintain a scan of the horizon with the same vigilance that I use scanning the sky for other traffic when I am flying my plane.  If I see a bear, I can quickly return to my bike and get out of there.  It was 51 degrees with only 11 knots of wind.  Really nice for the Arctic.

Here is a shot of my bike with the frozen lake, note the handlebar streamers blowing in the wind!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Great Ride - Great Run

Today was fantastic!  51 degrees only a 10 knot wind and bright sunny skies.  It doesn't get any better than that!  Up here on the Arctic Slope anyway.  I rode my bike about 2 hours, and stopped at the Prudhoe Bay General store for some sun block.  I bet that doesn't happen up here very often.  Then I rode around the lake and up some of the muddy side roads.  It was a great workout and I didn't even have to half freeze to death riding into the wind.

After I cooled down, I drove 4 miles down the Dalton Highway to my favorite running spot, a little side road that goes down to the Sagavanirktok River.  I ran there for just 30 minutes, about 3 miles.  I could see that it was not just MY favorite spot, but perhaps the favorite spot of someone else.  Mr. Bear.

I found these tracks by my car, but the fellow who made them was long gone.

I hope the weather stays like this so I can continue to get good workouts in the great outdoors instead of the boring old treadmill.

Help me fight cancer:

Monday, June 7, 2010

Biked Around the Lake

Finally, a day nice enough to get in some bike riding.  I rode around Colleen Lake, a nice 5 mile ride.  It was kind of perfect bike riding weather, 41 degrees, 15 knots of wind, and bright gorgeous sunshine.  For a minute there I didn't know I was still in Deadhorse.  Colleen Lake is still mostly iced over, but there are areas of open water now.  A few geese flew by as I was riding.  The road is very similar to the Dalton Highway, so it is a really good place to practice.  Lots of loose rocks and areas of soft gravel and lots of mud.  I got back covered with mud, so I knew it was just like the Dalton Highway.  I expect to be totally covered with mud by the time I get to Fairbanks in July.  I'm hoping I will be able to ride around Deadhorse a lot during the next mongh so I will be in good bike riding shape for my Prudhoe to Palmer cancer ride.

I had hoped to get in some running but unfortunately, I spent most of my awake time today making multiple phone calls to AT&T tech support because my iPhone was not receiving any of my phone calls.  I think they have finally got that fixed.  I hope to do both a run and a ride each day from now on.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Still too windy for a reasonable outdoor run.  35 knots last time I checked.  I rode my bike home from work this morning and wow, that was tough.  The strong wind made it really unstable.  It was snowing pretty hard too.  I hope summer comes to the Arctic by July 1st when I start my bike ride south.

I ran 3 miles today on the treadmill, keeping with my idea of short run followed by long runs.  Seems to be working.  I am looking forward to the day when the wind dies down enough to make it practical to ride around town for a few hours.

Friday, June 4, 2010

10 K

Did a 10 k training run on the treadmill.  It's still blowing over 30 knots outside and still only 32 degrees.  I know I will get a better workout if I keep it indoors until that wind gets a little better.

I met one of the two who are getting their bicycles ready to head south tomorrow - biking from Deadhorse to Argentina.  I am so jealous.  I wonder how long it will take them.  I think that would be the ultimate bicycle trip, but probably one I wouldn't want to do all alone.  I did feel a bit more inspired after talking to him.

I had a good run today.  I was watching some comedy movie on the TV about some goofy guy running a marathon. He crossed the finish line after 12 hours with serious injuries, just as I finished my run.  I thought that was pretty interesting timing.  It was a cute movie but I have no idea what it was called.

I saw this cute little fox today, running into the wind.  He could hardly keep his eyes open in all that wind.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Treadmill Again

Well, now the wind is up to 45 knots.  Still only 33 degrees out there.  The snow is melting and the mud is increasing.  So, I ran my short 3 mile run on the treadmill again today.  I wonder when it will improve enough to get an efficient workout outdoors.  I rode my bicycle home from work this morning and that was impressively miserable.  Right into the wind, needing to be in low gear the whole way to even move.  But it was an interesting challenge to ride against that wind.

I'm going to be a little more conservative with my workouts this month.  I probably pushed a bit too hard in the past, resulting in shin splints and all kinds of aches and pains.  I plan to do just 3 miles, like today, every other day, and increase my time on the alternate days, and see how that works.  As soon as things get at all reasonable outdoors I will be doing daily bike rides as well.  I don't want my 830 mile bike ride in July to be all the bicycle training I do!

The migratory birds are fabulous right now.  Saw the snow geese take off yesterday.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

5 Miles today on the Treadmill

I really wanted to run outdoors today so I drove about 10 miles down the haul road looking for a good place to run.  But I made the mistake of not bringing my hat and gloves.  Big mistake.  When I got out of the car, I decided to go back to the treadmill for another day.  So I had a good 5 mile run on the treadmill instead.  I'm riding my bike the short distance to work, mud or no mud.

I love running with my new iPhone.  It's great, phone, iPod, and Nike+ all wrapped into one. 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I have gotten far behind on my training.  So much going on.  Mother in the hospital, needing to make multiple trips from Alaska to California to get her situated in the nicest assisted living place I could find.  My running and biking have been totally neglected.  But now I am back at work in Prudhoe Bay so I can't go running off to California.  I will have to work extra hard for the next month to get myself back into both marathon and biking shape.

Today I just ran a short 3 miles on the treadmill to see how I felt.  I was still a bit tired from the long drive up here, so it wasn't one of my best runs.  But it certainly felt wonderful.  I rode my bike to work, although it is only a 5 minute ride.  The mud is terrible right now, snow is melting fast and there are puddles the size of lakes everywhere.  Even in my 5 minutes, I managed to get covered with mud.  A bear has been seen wandering around on the taxiway yesterday so I kept my eyes wide open for him as I was riding.  But I didn't see him. 

The migratory birds are coming back in huge flocks.  Such a lovely sight to see.  All out there seeking out the open water as it becomes available.  It's only 32 degrees but it poured rain last night.  That melted a lot of the snow.

Please help me in my fight against cancer. 
Visit my Prudhoe to Palmer website and help me with a donation, large or small.
All are greatly appreciated.