When is a week off from training not a week off from training? When you decide to take a vacation to go visit your daughter in Juneau, Alaska. Hannah happens to be a naturalist guide for the Gastineau Guiding Company and leads whale watch trips that sometimes double as scientific research missions, and hikes to glaciers and through Juneau’s rainforest trails. This is the same daughter that talked me into trekking through the Himalayas of Nepal for 2 weeks when she was living in Thailand several years ago.
Other than long travel days on either end of the trip, my original concern about suspending my preseason cyclocross training schedule for a week was entirely unfounded. This time of year, Juneau gets about 20 hours of daylight a day. Hannah’s philosophy, as she has said to me several times in the past is “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” It’s really tough to go to sleep when it’s light out and it’s even tougher to stay in bed in the wee morning hours, especially when there is so much to do.
Day 1 was a 5 hour hike up to an alpine lake and meadow. Day 2 was a slightly shorter hike to a glacier and waterfall. Day 3 was another long hike to the same glacier, different side, but this time we went underneath it into an ice cave formed by a small stream (other than standing at the top of the Larkya La pass in Nepal, this was easily one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been) and a 2.5 hour bike ride on Douglas Island. Day 4 was spent sea kayaking from the Amalga Cove. Day 5 was a 5+ hour bike ride north of the city (with these 2 rides, I think I covered 90% of the paved roads in the greater Juneau area) and then a short hike to the Butt Palace (a network of salmon nets strung high up in some trees on top of some cliffs overlooking the ocean). Day 6 we took it easy and explored an in-town trail, the local salmon hatchery, and, oh yeah, took a helicopter ride up to the upper reaches of the Mendenhall Glacier to go dog sledding. On Day 7 I was allowed to tag along on one of Hannah’s whale watch trips. This was kind of like a rest day.
So I came back home, I wouldn’t say well rested but certainly energized by the experience. We did and saw some amazing things! In addition to being enormously grateful for the week that Hannah planned out for us, I was extremely proud of her confidence, professionalism and enthusiasm for life. Now it’s time to get back to the serious work of getting ready for the 2016 cyclocross season. Thanks honey!