Sunday, 16 October 2016

Tour Divide 2016: Day 12

Outskirts of Clark, CO to Williams Fork Reservoir, CO
Mileage: 171.7 km (106.7 mi)
Riding Time: 15h 41m
Standing: 15th place

Day 12 Map

I woke up to the odd car driving by on the highway.  I was on the road by the usual 5am or so and continued on to Steamboat Springs.  Lots of pavement and it was nice.  The resupply at the gas station right on the route was quick and uneventful.  I was getting into a bit of a routine.  I would go in and get some food to eat immediately.  I would come back out to the bike and check my food supply while I ate.  A call to Kristin would usually happen here too (not this morning though).  I would finish my meal, then go back in and buy the necessary food to last to the next stop.  I usually had an extra day’s worth of food in case something unexpected happened.   On my map at major towns, I had cut and taped on how far it was to the next stop and I wrote an “R” if resupply was available.  That way I knew how many kms it was until the next resupply.  I would estimate 1 item about every 10-20kms. With this system, I may have carried too much at times, but I never ran out of food. 

Map Notes

I got some food and rode past Orange Peel bikes.  They were closed, but I didn’t need anything.  I was concerned about my chain, but it wasn’t giving me any trouble.  It was nice following a bike trail through the city.  Reminded me of my daily commute passing other people riding and jogging along the river. The road travelled along by some farms, fishing spots, and lodges. 

Green fields dotted with farms

Then the sleep monster set in again.  I tried to stay awake as I wobbled along half awake.   Like the terrain of the day, this is where I experienced big highs and big lows.  Tried to take naps on the side of the road, but kept getting interrupted by drivers thinking I was in some kind of distress.  I started to lose some of the joy of riding through this amazing countryside when all I was trying to do was stay conscious on the bike.  I was starting to hallucinate and really feel low at times.  The times of feeling awake and alert were beginning to be few and far between.  After ascending to Lynx Pass, the elevation profile seemed to show a relatively flat grade with some gentle ups and downs. 

Hot day at Lynx Pass

It was overall the same grade, but there were many steep descents into small creeks and steep ascents up the other side.  With the single speed, I was walking up many of the ascents.   At one spot around Gore Pass, I ran into a couple of guys on motorcycles.  They were crossing a creek and one of them tipped over.  They gave me some advice on where to ford the creek.  I followed their advice but the water was too deep to ride and I walked across.  I almost fell over too, but managed to stay upright.  It was a hot day so wet feet were no big deal.

One of the steep ascents out of a creek

It was in this area that I started to get auditory hallucinations as well as visual.  Seeing rocks move when they shouldn’t be moving, and hearing muffled music and beeping sounds (none of my gear beeped regularly) while stumbling along half asleep was not fun. Big low.  I got to the top of the valley over Radium and was blown away by the beauty and expansiveness of the view.  The descent was a blast!  Big high. 

At top of the descent over Radium

After going through Radium there was the ascent up to Inspiration Point and Watershed Divide.  I started to feel tired again.  Nodding off on the bike and feeling pretty low again.  I had to walk a long stretch of the paved ascent and was too tired to appreciate the view at Inspiration Point.  Being feasted on by mosquitos and getting passed by David Stowe didn’t help the morale either.  Another big low.  After getting to the top and descending to the other side, I stopped at the intersection to Kremmling. I had a decision to make:  keep riding with less sleep to attempt keeping my position in the race, or slow down a bit, enjoy myself a little more, and not worry so much about keeping my position.  After talking to Kristin and getting some much needed moral support at the side of the busy highway, I decided to slow down.  Instead of riding to my usual 11pm, I was going to stop at about 9pm at the Williams Lake Reservoir Campground.  Once I went to sleep, I wasn’t going to get up until about 6am.  Once I made that decision, I was on another big high.  My coach told me to continue to reassess things as the race progresses and keep the final goal fluid.   The number one goal was to finish and everything else is gravy. 

Rainbow in the distance above Williams Lake Reservoir

Sunset at camp

I stuck the head of my bivy into a bush in case rain fell and called Kristin as I munched on a nut roll.  She was happy I was stopping and felt good about slowing down a bit.  I went to sleep for a good long while.

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