Wednesday, December 4, 2019

2018 Tour of Idaho Days 7, 8 and 9

After the day 6 crash that took my right knee out everything changed to; how can I finish with a torn ACL?

Day 7 was the crux day, a long day that involved tricky rocks, hopping some logs all mixed in with a bit of modestly difficult nav/trail finding.  I strapped the knee as best I could got an early start and tried to ‘just keep moving’ at a steady pace thru the day.  I crashed about 5 times; one caused by going to slow around a tight switchback where I almost lost the bike off a steep slope into a creek.  I saw my whole tour flash before my eyes before the bike barely kept from sliding off the trail into the creek 30 feet below. The other four crashes were all related to the bum knee.  I could ride fine as long as I did not need to catch my balance with my right leg.  Several times, I ‘popped’ the knee when I would instinctively dab with my right foot.  This was painful to the point of tears and eventually I would accept a tip over rather than dab.   I slowly progressed thru the day, cleared the difficult sections while making all my check points along the way. 
Once I reached the last checkpoint for the day, Scurvy Lookout, it was a long but non-technical slog down to Lochsa Lodge.  Luckily I arrived right be for everything shut down for the day so got my gas and snacks for day 8.

Day 8. That evening I had a nice warm room at Lochsa, a full tank of gas, snacks for day 8 topped off by a hot take out meal from the restaurant.  Baring a major mechanical or rider error I only needed to get thru 10 more miles of real single track and I would be home free.  Those last 10 miles of single track turned out to be the most difficult of the entire TI.  Not because they were the most technical, there was really only one short section with high consequence exposure, but because I was toast and scared to death that I would screw up so close to the end of the difficult stuff.  Also, in my mind I thought I had closer to 20 miles so when I unexpectedly reached two track I was over the moon with relieve and a huge sense of accomplishment.  I rolled into Wallace and the Ryan Hotel knowing I would be able to knock out day 9 and finish the Tour! 

As can be imagined day 9 was quite anti climatic, an easy ‘adventure type-big-bike’ route up to Sundance Mountain, the hardest part of the day was climbing the steps up to the lookout.  Snap a few pictures and back and on the bike over to Sandpoint.  Picked up the U-haul and I was done done done!

It took me two years of effort but “Tour of Idaho” complete. Overall, quite the experience, big thanks to Martin for setting up such a unique Moto challenge. 

Some huge memories in getting that finisher number #54, and being one of about 10 or 12 solo finishers.  Would love to do it again someday as a team.  Do not know I ever will but as a team and now that I have the dirt bike skills it would be an entirely different experience.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

2018 Tour of Idaho Day 6

Day 6

Early on Day 6, while riding across a meadow in deep wet grass I got the front wheel up in the air and over a ‘surprise’ angled log but just caught & slid the back tire and crashed.  As soon as I hit I knew I was in trouble as I felt my knee twist and pop on the way down.  Torn ACL was my diagnosis as I lay there on the wet ground.  Turns out, I was right, torn ACL along with a fractured, slightly compressed top of my tibia, at least that’s what my surgeon said when I got home.

 Pre crash……my Jedi knight light saber pic......

 Post crash, got out to the roads--lucky for me Day 6 was long but non-technical , note the extra gas in the bag, really the only day I really needed my gas bag.......

 Eyes starting to tell a story, much of the day I was 2 degrees from panic knowing that Day 7 & 8 had some remote, semi-technical sections. I was just moving forward according to my former plans--not sure what was coming........

 As close as I could get to this check point without crawling……..pain was'nt bad but only if I kept my knee/leg just so...........on the bike I could stand with almost no discomfort...on/off was a problem but not so bad on day 6's easy terrain

Hanging on, wondering how/what I was going to do for Day 7/8, did not want to give up my Tour but….?? Not sure no real plan yet but get to the end of the day…...

Ha, she did NOT want to have her picture taken but played along, also that is the fakest smile you will ever see on my face….

Plan was-- I bought some ace bandages and would reinforce the straps on my right knee brace (was wearing braces cause my left leg had ACL some 20 yrs ago and I am old and brittle, had I been wearing them ‘correctly’ I might have avoided all together the need for a second ACL reconstruction………then again, maybe not…..)

Anyway I had a plan, very sketchy but a plan……….

2018 Tour of Idaho Day 5

Day 5

 Early start, rode slow at 1st to keep warm, all in all a pleasant slog to the top……..

 Fire Reroute on day 5, nice single track to here then pave and road to days end, dual sport ride today…..

Sort of sad seeing this.  Anyway like I said day 5 was easy dual sport ride for the most part……..

2018 Tour of Idaho Day 4

I am back----Day 4

Nice cabin at Smiley last night, good night, met a TI enthusiast.  Up early before light and out on trail…….

 Amazing views on day 4

High point……..

During my 1st TI attempt the trail up to and down from here was intimidating, this time it was all fun……..

Day 4 almost in the bank, wow and still way early.  All in all day 4 was one of the best……..oh and I see my gas bag cap had'nt fallen off yet

Sunday, January 20, 2019

2018 Tour of Idaho Day 3

Tour Of Idaho (2018) Day 3:
Up and on the road at 4am with a plan to reach Smiley Creek before the restaurant closes and the gas pumps are shut off.  First checkpoint for the day, Beverland Pass is only a short 30 min up the road.
It’s still pitch black and not much to see but the 2 track road and some sagebrush. 

My Tour almost ends:
Heading down that backside of Beverland Pass there was a major washout.  The road was completely gone, replaced for ¼ or so mile by 4 to 10 feet deep channels.  Some just a foot or so wide, others wide enough to ride down.  In the dark I can’t see any obvious work arounds and start to slowly pick my way across and down the washouts.  I soon come to a 6-foot-deep, 2 feet wide gap and cannot see an easy way around.  I set up to power across at 90 degrees and easily reach the far side but land my front wheel 8 inches to the right, smack into a tough bit of sage brush. Forward momentum halts and I stumble off to the side of the bike—right into a deep washout.  My chest hits the far bank and my head smacks the ground, hard enough to ‘bounce’.  The speed of my little mishap was slow, ie walking speed, but the hit to my head was hard enough to displace my goggles, visor and helmet light. I could tell I just missed hitting hard enough to cause a concussion, ie I wasn’t ‘quite’ seeing stars.  All in all this was my most scary time for the whole tour.  But other than scaring the bejesus out of me all was good and I was soon past the washout. 

Easy relaxed riding on road, forest service roads and a bit of ATV trails to the next Check Point, Stewart Canyon/Corral Creek. 

Sun is up, bike is running great, miles are being racked up, all is good. 

Next Check Points are Wildhorse Look Out followed by Burnt Aspen/Kane Creek. 

Last year (2017) the loose shale rock sections near the top of the climb to Wildhorse tested my skill just a bit, this year the same rocks were well within my comfort level.
This year the Burnt Aspen switchbacks, the ones with the stupid angled logs were a non-issue, unlike last year when I lost time man-handling the bike over them.

I rolled into Ketchum at 11:26am, gassed up, ate a hot snack and was back on the route by 12:00, a 30 min pit stop!!

Just outside of Ketchum the route dives across a small river and into long sections of flowing singletrack mixed up with a few short technical sections.  Basically the rest of the day is singletrack with just a few miles of connecting roads.  Once past the last Check Point for Day 3 (Paradise Peak) you cross some intimidating but relatively easy side hill and then on into Smiley Creek.

Here is a video link of Martin’s “Side hills of Concern" coming down off the saddle at Paradise Creek/Snow Slide Viewpoint.  Not the only side hills on day 3 but one of them is pretty tall

I reached Smiley Creek Lodge at 7:15pm.  Shortly after I arrived there was a power outage so I missed getting a hot meal. 

But even with the power outage the lodge staff went out of their way to take care of me, had the cook whip up a two tuna sandwiches, and with some cold drinks and snacks I was set.

Days 4 & 5 up next....