Made it to Del Norte. So much has happened since last update. Gonna keep it short…Quick stop in Salida (Day 15) for some “Moe Burrito” one gut bomb for dinner and one to-go. Bumped into my friend Brian Steele just outside of town. The last 12-ish miles is a awesome downhill run.Slept in the bush again about half way up Marshall Pass. Day 16 – Finished the climb and enjoyed the 18 or so miles downhill to Sargents. Had a very large breakfast at Tomichi Trading post.Got caught in a storm again but coming down a mountain off of Cochetopa Pass. Called it quits at something like 5:30, set up tent in the rain and laid down. Slept solid 8+ hrs.Back at it this morning. Knocked out Carnero Pass and made it into Del Norte. Next up is the highest Pass on the trip. Indiana Pass is a 22+ mile climb up 4314 feet. Usually gets rain/storms in the afternoon so not looking forward to that.752.4 miles to go and counting.
Sorry that it’s been a while since I’ve updated here. Frankly, this WordPress app is not that easy to use and requires an internet connection.
Anyway, been riding virtually solo since halfway thru day 6. Ride with one rider for about 3 hrs leaving Pinedale on the 10th day. Dont mind riding solo, keeps me from feeling like I have to keep up with someone else.
So far I have stayed at a hotel twice. One of those times I “washed” my kit while I showered. Multi tasking works best when in race mode.
I have wild camped at least three times where I was the only human for not less than 20 miles around. The night of the 10th day it was more like 50 miles as I was in the middle of the Wyoming Great Basin.
Today is day 12 and officially passed the half way point. I had a light day today riding only about 45 miles to Brush Mtn Lodge where I decided to take some time off for Man & Machine maintenance. Full Mani & Peddi, a massage, even got my hair done.
Actually, ate a pizza cooked in a real wood fired pizza oven. First pizza of the trip and so tasty after eatting so much junk food. Did a detailed inspection of the bike. Brakes are still good which is surprising, bringing me and my crap to a HALT after bombing down some of these mountains is no small feat. At time I can feel the heat from the front disk brake on my shin. Love the smell of hot brakes!!
Also took the opportunity to do all of my laundry too. I was getting pretty stinky having not washed clothing in over 1200 miles of peddling.
I have seen some amazing scenery. My favorite so far has been waking up at 2 am in the middle of the Basin and being able to see in detail the arm of the milkyway and the stars so bright. There was no other lights around nor on the horizon. Just my headlamp and the stars.
Never thought I’d say this but the worst part so far has been eating all the quick calorie junk food.
Butt is sore at times but so far, none of the legendary saddle sore/infection issues. Physically I am feeling pretty well. Have an issue developing in the right foot but that is fixable. I stand too much in the pedals on my right foot. Focusing on not repeating movements such as this and how I mount/dismount the bike has taken care of most of the aches and pains.
Taking the rest of today off and resting will be good for me and the bike desperately needed some love.
Off to Steamboat Springs in the morning 49.1 miles and 4415ft of climbing, that aught to get the legs warmed up.
After pushing hard and finally making it to Basin earlier in the morning (1 am) I awoke at 6am after only maybe 3 hrs of sound sleep. Packed up camp and proceeded to wait an hour for the post office to open. I had sent a package to myself with what I thought would be nice to have or needed items. Sad to say I waited for no real gain.
Grabbed a quick Breakfast at the only joint in town and hit the trail by 9am.
Today was all about dealing with the Sun, Heat, and headwinds. Oh, and the climbing.
My plan for today was to make it to Wise River a short easy 88 mile day HA!!! Nothing appears to be easy on the Divide.
Wind and heat and the lack of sleep the night before took its toll. I got behind schedule falling victim to “Town Suck” in Butte. I was going to again hit a very technical and dangerous section called Fleecers Ridge. After the extreme effort in the dark on Lava Mtn the night before I wanted to see thus in the day light.
So charging up the grade towards Fleecer Ridge I came across a nice little Nat Forest campground that had a bear box for my goodies. AND to boot, Cell service
All is well here. Man and Machine are running smooth.
Big Day yesterday. Disaster averted when Big Sky bike shop found my front axle loose. Reinvigorated I went for Basin, MT. Didn’t realize the one of the 3 mountain passes between Helena and Basin was gonna be such an ass kicker. Thre last 3-ish miles of the Lava Mountain pass was the toughest thing I have ever done. Imagine 14% grade, pushing a 60 lbs bike up over washed out jeep track strewn with boulders and the debris/remnants of fallen trees all in the dark with nothing more than a head lamp. Didn’t get any photos. Too busy pushing. Took me approx 9 hrs to cover the 38 miles and 5000+ feet of climbing.Rolled into Basin approx 1am, had trouble finding a camp spot, ended up setting camp in the easement of I-15. Got a good 4 hrs sleep. Now waiting for the post office to open to fetch my care package I had sent myself before leaving.Gonna be a big day today also. Fleecer Ridge day!!!
Hoss is currently pulling 100+ mile days – here’s a couple of pics he had time to send thru during a burger stop in Ovando. Kathy, who runs the Blackfoot Angler, keeps an eye out for Tour Dividers, and makes sure they get water and so on.
Well, I am as ready as I will ever be. Bike is loaded with gear and approx 6000 calories of food onboard. I am guessing the bike weights approx 60lbs with no water loaded yet. After the 1st 10 mile stretch there are no food options for 90-ish miles, plenty of streams to pull water from along the way so I will start with just 2 liters.
Race starts at 12:00 Mountain Time tomorrow. Hope I can get some sleep, getting very anxious to get this party started.
One thing I always had an issue with during my training rides was trying to figure out where and how I would carry my Bear Spray.
As it is a potentially important survival tool which needs to be easily and quickly accessed quickly, figuring out where to effectively carry it always gave me trouble.
At one point the handy fabric holster that the Bear Spray came with was zip-tied between two water bottle mounts where it took a good yank to have it in hand and ready to fire. I also tried wearing it on a belt around my waist, or zip-tied to one of the suspender straps to my hip pack. None of which I was confident in nor happy with how it rode.
I saw an add on Facebook for a product that a company makes that adapts the narrow Bear Spray to a water bottle diameter.
That got me thinking, I bet I can make one myself. So off to the REI in Kalispell, MT. I grabbed a sample Bear Spray canister off the shelf and then went to the bike section of the store. I tried numerous bottles until I found one that fit but just barely. Inserting the Bear Spray canister fully into the water bottle I took a measure of how much I would need to shorten the bottle. One problem I encountered was that the Bear Spray fit so well that it was vacuum locked I to the bottle. No problem, just drill a hole in the bottom of the bottle since it will no longer be an enclosed bottle.
And Walla!!! Bear Spray holder that fits conveniently in one of my 5 water bottle holders. Losing the water capacity won’t be an issue in Grizzly country. Once I get south out of Bear country I planned to dispose of the Bear Spray anyway and the regain my water carry capacity.
PS – I also made one for Paulette as well. I need to make sure my ride home from Antelope Wells is not eaten by a Bear while on her MTB bike adventure too.
Pit stop on our way to the northern border brought us to Idaho Falls. We took a little time out of the Rubicon to take advantage of the nice paths in the downtown area.
Nezt stop? Headed to Whitefish Bike Retreat for a few days.
So, one thing I did not anticipate in my preparation for this event was that some of my cold weather gear may not fit after losing 18 Lbs since March. Went for a brief ride this morning in Idaho Falls where it was a nice 53 F this morning. Quickly discovered that my leg warmers would not stay up. Solution is to wear the leg warmers tucked under the leg of my spandex bike shorts/bibs.