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Alaska Woman Preps for 350 Miles of Winter Cycling

Jill Homer, of Juneau, Alaska, is training to ride her bicycle in the Iditarod Trail International — 350 miles of wintry pedaling over tough terrain. The course follows the route used by dog teams and mushers in the famous sledding race.

Her training for the human-powered Iditarod includes midnight rides, part of conditioning her mind and body for five days of pedaling through the wilderness in February. Last year, she rode Alaska's 100-mile Susitna race in 25 hours. In 2007, she shaved more than four hours off her time.

Homer admits that endurance racing is perhaps a mad pursuit, but says she does it for the most sublime of reasons. She'll report on her training for the Iditarod Trail International weekly, right up until the Feb. 24 start. As she writes on the Bryant Park blog, she's not just following a trail. She's following her heart.

"I've been building strength, trying to eat well, and it's time to really start putting in the miles," she says. That means spending two hours a day on the bike — or, as she reports, sometimes two hours a night.

Jill Homer blogs at arcticglass.blogspot.com.

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