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Monday, October 20, 2008

Alaska, in general, seems to be a transient sort of place. People are always shuffling and moving around. Nome is a rather harsh environment and I have seen a lot of friends (and not-so-friends) come and go over the years. Last week 4 friends left town with their kids to move to Anchorage and Talkeetna. I suppose the constant rotation brings fresh (or not-so-fresh) new (and recurring) faces and makes a small town seem larger than it is but it's always sad to see good folks leave. So here's a little tribute, my favorite picture of Wayne, Owen and the kids.

Since returning from NY the temperatures have steadily been 15 – 25 with practically no precipitation. The ice base is forming really well, I wonder if this will be more of a snowless winter unlike Anchorage which has been hit with a few bouts of snow. It’s a little early to tell. I put away my boats for the year and have been eyeing up my snowbike and snow machine, biding my time for a creative excursion. The waterways are frozen which opens up some interesting options. I don't think any recent pictures are worth adding so here's what I'll miss about the Nome summer....

And here's what I look forward to...

The only outside activity I’ve done recently is driving down to the beach cutting wood for the stove. I have about 5-6 face cords- or 1.5 full cord- and am a little frantic to get a few more before the snow flies. I put the saw aside for a half hour the other day and managed a 4 mile run on the sand before getting back to it. Otherwise the training focus has been building my core strength through swimming. I have an hour to swim in the morning and started at 2 km workouts and on my way to 3 km. The 5:30 am wakeup has been getting easier and easier (especially since Hahnah has been training us to wake up at 3am).

There are two races I would (ideally) like to do in 2009, the 350 Ultrasport bike in March and the Yukon 1000 kayak in June/July. The 350 would be a training run to see if my body will adapt a little better to the bike this year for another go at the 1,000 mile to Nome the following year. I really should have done the 350 last year and the 1000 this year instead of vice versa but, hey, hindsight is always 20/20. The words, "don't get injured", will be plastered in my mind. I'm hoping it will activate as a flashing neon sign before the "don't be a wussy" sign starts in on me.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Home in Nome

The streets and highways of NY were an endless monotony of vehicles without faces, droning to a destination as fast as possible. The car in front was not Wayne the nurse from down the street with two kids or Nora who fought and beat down her leukemia or even someone who would wave back. I couldn't shake that feeling of a sheep following the herd and it happens everytime I head out of Alaska. It is the black void. At times welcome, but mostly a sinking feeling. Nothing like a good music jam to uplift the spirits and get the Nome feeling back, especially as the darkness and cold set in.

It's the turn of a new season here that starts the flow of potentially exciting outings. Lately it's been every few months where I actually wonder what is it that drives that drive? It has been building more, tougher to suppress and the daily activities don't quite fit the bill. That insatiable need to tweak myself ever so slightly further and further. Over the years opportunities came...those solo cold ocean kayak crossings in terrible conditions.... that ride outside Namibia to skydive... the edgy snow machine rides to Nome from Unalakleet alone at 30 below... So why not try the ultrasport again this year... oops did I really say that? Well, maybe just the 350.