I have to admit it seemed the alarm went off to soon on the morning of the fourth day. I was camped out at the base of Richmond Peak and knew I had a long slow climb to start the day. I have been over this pass three times now. The first time it was truly dangerous with the snow forcing a real exposure factor. The second time the snow was just a minor hindrance with no real exposure. This time there was no snow whatsoever and once on top it was just a rather fun section of single track. No snow or rain also meant the descent was relatively warm and fast.
I rolled into Ovando just after 11:00 am, got the mandatory picture plus the warm welcome and information that I was running in the top 10.
coming into OvandoFrankly I didn’t believe that was possible and had very mixed emotions about it. I was quite pleased that I was that far up the ladder but knew with my knee there was only disappointment waiting for me. Funny but this bit of ‘good’ news had quite a negative impact on me. But at least even with my relatively minor knee issues I was still in the game, Connor O'Leary was sitting outside in the sun and explained how his knee unexpectedly blew out while just pedaling along. Blew out as in he felt it ‘pop’ as something inside broke lose. I wonder if he will be back next year?
One of the reasons I didn’t have a clue as to where I was in terms of other racers was my hub driven recharging system was down and out for the count. My hub driven handlebar light was good to go but I could not re-charge my helmet light or smartphone. Later on I stopped for a while outside of Lincoln and tested different ideas in the hopes of fixing it but soon gave up on the idea.
Shortly after Lincoln the inevitable began to happen, on the first long climb I was caught and passed by stronger riders. I think the first three were Joe Fox leading Greg Galway and his apparently eternal TDR team mate Evan.
They were faster up the climbs and also down the descents. Ha, and to top it off they stopped for the night at my pre-planned camp spot. I rode on past just a few miles before I called it a day as I figured four racers together were no longer quite ‘stealth’.
Basically from Ovando on, almost all the way to New Mexico, every time someone would catch and pass me I would get down on myself. Sort of silly in hindsight but at the time I was just so totally frustrated that I could no longer give it 100%. Actually if I am honest with myself I am still frustrated about it. Overall I had a pretty good run but there were so many little things that kept nagging away at me. I didn’t handle it nearly as well as I could have then and I still get upset if I think too much about it.