So where did it all go wrong? Several have asked what happened, why did I drop, what gear did or did not work etc etc. Good questions, ones that I have pondered deeply over for the last month or so.
I am going to break down what went wrong into sections; they are not necessarily in order of magnitude.
Rain Gear, clothing:
1: ¾ length rain pants—Fail
May seem minor but this was actually a big deal. With all the rain (and even a bit of snow) on day 1 within 2 hours of the start I was stopping and pouring cold icy water out of my water proof socks. Why? Well the rain would run off my ¾ length rain pants down my calf and right into the tops of my waterproof sock. Then the sock would soon fill up with water. ‘Best’ would have been full length rain pants. I bought some trash bags at Elkford and with some trial and error learned how to make them work quite well. But the damage was done by the end of day one. Such a simple thing but it lead directly to a late arrival into a now much needed hotel room, 20 miles short of plan. Note: the Gore-Tex brand pants worked fine—the problem was simply my choice of ¾ length vs full length
2: Light weight arm and knee warmers--Fail.
I ran with very light weight arm and knee warmers. Again minor items but the constant rain on my extended arms made them cold. My rain jacket worked fine and kept the rain off but with a bit of perspiration on the inside and cold constant rain on the outside my arms were noticeably cold. The legs were not so noticeably cold but I am sure warmer legs would have meant better overall body temps. For this particular year ‘best’ would have been thicker wool arm warmers and probably full length leg warmers.
3: Mountain Hardware waterproof gloves using OutDry®---Fail
Not only did these overgloves wet out before the end of day one, by day 4 the inner liner had literally ripped apart. In the end I was using convenience store work gloves and plastic baggies to keep my hands in the game. ‘Best’ would have been simple trash bag pogies and a spare set of ‘camp’ gloves.
Scott, day 3
I rode the first 3 days with Scott Williams--Fail. In the end trying to ride with Scott was a major mistake on my part. Our individual, natural paces-comfort zones were just not compatible. I kept trying to force a workable solution to an unsolvable dilemma. By the end of 3 days, accommodating each other’s non compatible paces has cost us both massive amounts of lost time, sleep and significant mental stress. In the end ‘best’ would have been to just go ahead and naturally drift apart the first time we deviated in pace. My heart felt apologies Scott, I feel I screwed up both of our attempts big time…………..
By Basin my rear hub was shot from all the submersion/water and my crank and bottom bracket had also failed. I tried to have them repaired in Butte, but without the proper parts the Outdoorsman bike shop was helpless. They tried to rebuild one of the bearings but in the end, without parts, there was little they could do. By Wise River my crank was wobbling so badly I was concerned it would totally fail on the way to Steamboat. Note: The crank shaft was so worn I wound up throwing it away when I got home.
Yes yes I could have spent several hundred dollars and had parts sent in, but why? Just to ride the rest to the route again, just to finish again?
Frankly a mediocre finish time was not enough to keep me going. And on top of that negative mental state an open and growing saddle sore (been there done that thank you very much) was the last straw.
So to summarize, between wet feet, hands and cold arms and legs I found it difficult to just ride. For 4 long days, in the back of my mind, I was constantly worried about hypothermia and twice got to the point where I dug out my down jacket while riding. As most know using down as a under layer in cold wet sweaty conditions is a very short term ‘stop-gap/emergency’ way to add body warmth. The mere fact I felt the need to do so tells all one needs to know about my mental state and how close to the edge of hypothermia I was those two times.
But in the end the real damage was not the wet and cold so much; I dealt with it as needed. No the real damage was what all the lost time did to my mental outlook. I couldn’t stand how much time I saw slipping away each day. And how much recovery time I gave up trying to get back on a legitimate race pace. And later on the mechanicals added on top of a now open saddle sore were too much.
At Wise River I gladly tossed in the towel. I could clearly see I was not going to accomplish my goals and I would be better off scratching.
And---towel picked up off the floor for 2015. Yup, before I was home I was planning for 2015. Have ordered a new frame, just about new everything bike wise etc etc (pictures will be coming)
So, work/vacation request permitting I will be back in 2015.