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.

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