I am not a biker by any stretch of the imagination, but I love biking anyway. You can find me and my family firmly in front of the television watching The Tour de France every July, and one of my big dreams to be able to someday follow the Tour in person.
But because biking is not a mainstream sport, whenever it is shown on television or broadcast anywhere, it's usually the men that are highlighted. Why further marginalize a sport by highlighting (gasp!) women?
That's why I love the blog Up in Alaska. Written by Alaskan journalist, Jill Homer, Up in Alaska is a blog that showcases Jill's biking expeditions throughout Alaska. Written in a journal type format, beautiful pictures punctuate almost daily updates about what it's like to be a biker out in the middle of snow dominated terrain.
I had a really good, strong ride today, according to the "sweat test." I usually feel I can't base the progress of winter rides on distance or speed, because trail and road conditions are so variable (and generally marginal at best, necessitating a lot of work to go pretty dang slow.) So I base my winter progress on the amount of sweat I generate. I always check the weather forecast and current temperature before I go. Since neither varies much in Juneau, I have pretty much down pat exactly what I need to stay warm but not overheat in the most common temperature/precipitation combinations (between 10 degrees and 40 degrees dry or wet I have down pat. Beyond those I have much less experience.) So, if I look at the temperature, and dress exactly how I think I need to, then head out and still sweat a ton and have to shed layers, then I know I've had a good, strong ride.
Although when I see things like Jill's over all monthly mileage rates (Januaray=810.5 Miles) I get a little intimidated (more like astounded and awed), Jill's more personal writing style often makes me think that she's sharing secrets with me. Letting me know that with a little training and some determination, I too, could be out in the mountains of Alaska riding through glorious sunsets.
I do some times wonder at how Jill's extreme sporting experiences (losing the desire to eat, for example) might be interpreted by young girls and women with eating disorders--but at the same time, I think Jill is very clear about the fact that she is a professional (she is training for the Iditarod right now) and losing the desire to eat does not mean that she doesn't eat.
It's an amazing blog and Jill Homer is an amazing writer--and I strongly encourage you to get over to her blog and offer her encouragement as she trains!