Thursday, June 12, 2008

Back on Track, almost

Well, I won't deny that an extra week to prepare would suit me down to the ground, but things are kinda back on track.
A couple of days ago I did a 45 min timetrial to confirm there's still some speed in my legs. That was on the road and a 30 kph average was just fine. The bike was loaded with camping gear and a clothes bag.
Yesterday was a much longer Dale Ball singletrack ride with Sarah during which we both actually enjoyed ourselves. The afternoon was filled with much more gear tinkering and a trip to the post office to send out some Red Cross parcels to tiny towns without shops along the route.
Today I drove out to Abiquiu, a wee oasis at 6,400 feet altitude, on one of the most brutal parts of the course. Two Great Divide racers ended up in hospital here with dehydration last year. I wanted to test my gear, trial my navigation skills with cue cards, and gain a little confidence.
At 10:30 am it was off uphill, through the dry scrub-land of an Indian Reservation and eventually into some rather pretty National Forest (see pic). After a couple of thousand feet of climbing it was a pleasant 20 degrees C. The climb was broken by a 400 foot descent to a small cattle ranch, but when it resumed the track deteriorated fast. I only did 20 miles - the last few were all on sand and bedrock - and then ran out of time to reach the 10,300 foot hilltop. About face; downhill and with a reasonable tailwind - I was feeling pretty damn slick : )
Then my bivvy bag jumped ship during a rough stretch. Lesson learnt. Better now than mid-Montana. The ride was 3:4o all up, and the general store in Abiquiu came up trumps with a tasty turkey and swiss cheese sandwich.
Turns out the higher passes in Montana and Colorado are still under a fair bit of snow. Apparently, we can expect many stretches of a few miles of hike-a-bike. Making the first cut-off at 6 days is going to be very interesting.


Project Rameka said...

Yee-ha. Good to hear you're on the road to recovery, Simon. Keep it up, and you'll be through that race lickety-split!

sifter said...

Great! I've been hoping for a post like this :) :) :) Not long to wait now!

Hyphen Tandem Team said...

Sounding good Simon! Try to have some fun & grins in this big adventure, eh. Jim & I also are expecting some snow at the high elevations in Park City, Utah next week. The day time temps may be warm for race pace - it will chilly each night. I bet you'll end up wearing a layer of clothes to bed; did you bring a cloche (hat?) You are absolutely inspiring. Awesome adventure. -Cathy & Jim from California

Bill B said...

I am in awe of your undertaking already, Simon. It's a great effort to make the start line, but it will be so much more rewarding to achieve your goal. I know you can do that. Will watch your race with a mix of admiration, awe and respect for what you are about to experience. Nihil illegitimos carborundum!