Thursday, February 21, 2013

Alaska talk

I was so late completing my PTL race report that I haven't had time to write anything about Alaska and now I am about to hope on a plane for "places north" tomorrow morning. I will try to write a few more things if I get a chance before Sunday, but the vitals for the race can be found below. This is a race across the Alaskan wilderness. While there are checkpoints including some at lodges, they are few and remote. Updates will be sporadic at best.

Iditarod Trail Invitational

As always seems to be the case with these winter events, I feel woefully under-prepared. I'm not quite sure how prepared any first timer could be for an attempt to drag 40+ pounds of gear on a sled across 350 miles of frozen tundra. However, I haven't done any long events beyond a few 50K races in the past couple months. My time on the snow has been limited to one trip to Tahoe and a couple visits to Yosemite high country. I only really got my sled and other gear dialed in last weekend. Yet, as always, I must somehow convince myself that I can finish this thing because belief is as important a component of these events as any other preparation.

My basic thought is that preparation for this event really constitutes more than just the last few weeks or  even couple months of training. I expect to be drawing on experiences covering the span of years including my two long winter races (Susitna 100 and Arrowhead 135), the multi-day, multi-hundred mile events I have done in the Alps (PTL and TDG) and, of course, the 20-some-odd 100 mile runs I've done. I've gravitated more and more towards these sort of self-sufficient events. They seem to me to be less about training and quickness, more about preparation and the will to endure.

For me, the mantra is always strength over speed, toughness over talent, mental perseverance over physical endurance.

OK, this post has officially turned into a a self-pep-talk that was probably best left as an internal conversation. So, here are some photos of our last training trip to Yosemite where we slept on top of Sentinal Dome (8000ft). This was actually our second trip up there. Jill has some even better photos from our first trip on her blog.

Photos with captions

Obligatory "all-geared-up" shot to start the day 
The first 9 miles are along the Glacier Point road which is a groomed XC-ski and snowshoe path in winter
Amazing views abound

Things didn't look good during the final approach to the dome
It was completely sopped in
Then it started to break...
...and WOW!
Beat -- all smiles
It was relatively cold dipping into the teens as the day drew to a close
Morning brought a whole new scene
Looking across to Half Dome
Yosemite Falls just starting to thaw as the sun hits it
El Capitan and the central valley in the far distance
Heading off the dome
and into the woods.
See you in Alaska! (mountain man beard in full effect)


M said...

whoa. gorgeous views. just gorgeous. kick butt in Alaska. And come back with all your fingers and toes intact. :) Have fun. ~Miki

Danni said...

Good luck! I can't wait to hear all about it. I might sign up for next year.

Chris said...

Hi Steve; just checked your website today after quite a while. Glad to see you finished the PTL reports. Will need to read them in detail. Good luck on your next adventure! Chris

Olga King said...

These are so beautiful views. Live large, brother.