Since I last posted I have wrapped up my 2015 racing efforts with a local mtb race (sandbagged a 1st place in the old man cat 3 class) and a 9hr/28 min Ring-the-Peak run. I have also gained my usual layer of winter fat , have done miles and miles of this:
Anyway before I totally forget my 2105 TDR ....onwards....
Day 7, 4:30am to 12:00pm, 141 miles
Overall I didn’t get much sleep, on Trackleaders there is no 4 hour tent dot…..but I didn’t feel overly tired on the morning of my 7th day. Maybe it was because I knew I would soon get some good resupply in Lima MT. Also I knew the route between Lima and Island Park was basically flat. Shortly after I got rolling, right on top the small 8000 ft pass, the one with the historical old Bannack Road sign I rode past Eddie Clark’s red truck. He was still sleeping in the back so no photo op for this morning…..
After some pleasant early morning ‘cruising’ with a soft peddle stroke to save the knees I reached Lima at 9:30am. I did some maintenance on bike and body and had one of my few sit down meals at Jan’s Café. I ordered a big breakfast and asked for double order of bacon. When my food arrived I realized an order for double bacon was way too much. I decided to have the leftovers wrapped up to go in some tinfoil. I got on my way around 11:00am, a very time consuming stop but I probably needed it.
Now while riding my bike thru bear territory I wouldn’t normally pack a bunch of freshly fried bacon but the upcoming route wouldn’t be an issue and boy was that the best snacking, best for the entire TDR!! I had bacon grease all over my face and hands as I poked along towards Island Park. Soon after Lima Andres caught up to me, we had been in Lima at the same time but didn’t quite cross paths. He was on a mission and after a few words was soon out of sight. As he disappeared into the distance I really began to realize what a mistake it was to be running a 1X11 with a 32 tooth chainring. Not that I could have hung with Andres’s pace but up till now it hadn’t truly set in just how much of a disadvantage I had put myself in with my gearing choice. On the hills and climbs I was fine but on the flats or downhill sections I could only go fast if it was smooth enough to stay firmly seated and spin, and even then this took a bit extra focused energy to spin hard and fast. Most of the route this combination of smooth + high energy wasn’t going to happen but on day 7 it was truly beginning to be noticed.
Shortly after Andres vanished my knees started to bother me (psychological? probably…). The Achillies was also hurting and slowly getting worse. Time for more ice therapy soaking in ditches and streams. I would ride till I couldn’t stand it and then start watching for a good soaking spot. I was now in a pattern, wake up, soft pedal for about 8 hours and then for the rest of the day stop every 2 to 3 hours for a 10-20 min ice water soak. This probably cost me 1-2 hours of forward progress per day, say 10 to 20 miles but in retrospect allowed me to keep going.
Later in the day, while soaking away in a road side stream crossing it occurred to me that I needed to reach Island Park ‘before’ the store closed if I want to have an effective resupply for day 8. Having done the TDR before I was pretty much winging my daily navigation and mile count. So it took a while to figure out how may miles I had left to reach the store, how much time I had left till closing and what level of pace I would need to maintain to reach said store before closing. Humm, seems I need to time trial the next 30 miles at my best pace and ‘maybe’ I can reach the store by 9:00pm. And of course I did not know exactly when the store closed - 8, 9, 10 or something in between? All I knew was I really needed to make it if I wanted a seamless resupply. Can you say adrenalin rush? At this point, after 7 days of hard effort, even a little uptick in adrenalin felt like a double red bull. Game on…..
The next few hours flew by and luckily I walked into the store at 8:50pm and learned the store closed at 9:00pm. Wow was I pleased with myself. With only a few minutes to select my resupply, plus a ‘right now’ meal, plus a meal for ‘end of day’ I felt sort of dazed and confused. I grabbed a hand basket and just walked up and down each aisle (this store is a small grocery store as well as ‘convenience’ store and has a bit of everything) I was basically tossing in this and that. Right at 9:00 I place my overflowing basket on the checkout, not really sure what I had in it but knew it was more than enough. I could hardly wait till I paid and got outside, I wanted to rip into ten different goodies drink or cram the contents into my mouth……
two plastic bags full of goodies on the seat to the right--and you may notice I started with some Aleve pills and a bottle of chocolate milk
While stuffing my face outside the store I watched at least 15 would be customers were turned away at the just locked doors, boy was I smug. Also while I sat there eating a local police car pulled up next me, hum wonder were this is going… Turns out the officer had noticed I didn’t seem to have much light, I was using a miniature head lamp, and he asked if I would be ok riding in the dark. I explained I had lots of riding lights and would soon be moving on down the trail—it was a nice polite way for him to investigate the dirty biker with food items spread all over a table under some trees. Just as I was finishing up my meal and trying to figure out where to stuff all the now extra food I saw two bike lights approaching. It was Rob Davidson and I think Aaron Gardner. What a downer to be caught like that, I had taken two hours when I could have easily taken just 30-40 min and accomplished the same thing. Once again I was losing time and positions and didn’t like it but felt powerless to stop it. Anyway they went off in search of food and I headed on down the trail looking for a likely camp spot.