Thursday, November 17, 2011
I focused on going out hard when I did go ride and even spent 5 days in the mountains of Pisgah forest working on getting stronger. In conversations with Eddie O'dea regarding his Stellar superhuman run of the TNGA, he mentioned he spent alot of time doing LONG FAST MILES, and I decided that sounded like the right Idea.
The Days leading up to the CFiTT had me waking up on a Monday Morning and almost falling due to extreme dizziness and then Later going to Urgent Care to try and figure out what was going on.
On top of it all the week was full of emails and phone calls as I buttoned up all that the racers needed for the event and I completed my responsibilities for the race.
Takes a HUGE amount of effort to not only prepare for this event but to organize it, route it, plan it and coordinate as well makes for a crazy few hours leading up to the race.
I helped Dave Muse, Derek Bently and Jesse Durrance get to the start. Edith out of the kindness of her heart let them crash in the spare room so we could help them complete their trial.
That morning with only a few hours of sleep I got up excited and anxious.
I had every intention to go out this year and ride as hard as I could putting in my best effort hoping that I could establish the winning time for the event. I thought about it long and hard and figured the key to my success would be to follow my own pace and not get caught up chasing or being chased.
After the riders meeting and the instructions we started at 7am exactly and I at the last moment forgot to put on my good luck necklace that my Mom likes me to wear and got delayed a little bit at the start. On top of that, once I did take off I made a wrong turn that sent me off course for a few minutes. I got back on course and passed Mike Rittenhouse, but still managed to make a few more mistakes as I made my way up the gradual ascent to Tucker Hill.
I did my best to stay at my pace, slightly frustrated thinking that I would never see another person again.
It was cold. My fingers were aching from the temps. I told myself the sun would warm things up and focused on keeping my cold knees turning the pedals in a steady manner.
Up and down I meandered through Croom Forest not seeing a single soul, not seeing anything but the Occasional wide arching track of a washed out tire.
When I came out of Croom and hit Nobleton Road I was upset that it had taken me so long to complete that section. I let it go fast and focused instead on the next 18 miles to the caboose. My plan was to lean into my Freddies as I made my way up the gradual rail road grade climb to Inverness.
After what seemed like a long time I saw a rider weaving off the trail and moving over to a dirt road parallel to the rail trail.
I was closing in fast and then as the Rider made his way back on to the rail trail I noticed that It was Jesse. Again I didn't even expect to catch anyone and felt motivated that I had caught up to Jesse.
Then I noticed another shadow on the horizon. I focused on my tempo and before I knew It I was passing Dave Muse. Interesting.
Kept the pressure on. Got to the Caboose and found two more riders, Scott and Luis. I kept going, telling them I wanted to catch Team FSU and Off I went.
On the road I closed the gap on Derek and then on the dirt road as we turned into Potts Preserve, we rode side by side for a long bit.
We hopped the Barb wire fence, and continued onto the Grassy Levee and he was with me. We hopped the fence at the Levee (although I hear it had a gate) and then when I got to 200 I looked back and didn't see him anymore. I stopped and knockers and kept going thinking that on the singletrack I could close the gap to Chris, Jeff and Jack who I figured may have been riding together.
I made my way thru Haltapa and the next checkpoint, kept the tempo the best I could and had to stop a few time for horse riders.
On ward and forward the soft sand not even slowing me I hit the pavement and rode Through Ross Prarie Trailhead where I finally refilled my two bottles and continued into the singletrack.
Ern and Burn was a lot funner in this direction and I was finding the flow with Ease and again before I knew it I crossed the road into Nayl's. Somewhere along the trail I find Chris Riding towards me and he tells me that somehow he missed a turn, something about he didn't go through the trailhead.
I had ear phones on so I think I told him the best way to get back on track but honestly I don't know if I told him right or not. I had provided maps and a gpx file for that section and you know if you stop to check the route its not impossible to follow it through there.
I realized now that I was in third place and kept going. Got to the trail head and saw Team FSU was there. I told them they had been caught in a teasing voice and preceded to get my restocks done so I could get on the road.
This had been a huge victory for me.
Jeff is a fast rider. Jack is a fast rider. For me an up and coming B rider to catch up and close the gap was a huge victory and breakthrough for me. I could only imagine that If I dedicate more time and train my body harder I could do better in the future.
It was interesting seeing the mood of the Greenway Cycles Checkpoint change as I pulled in. All the Relaxation left the room as they both started buckling and filling and paying and hurrying to get out.
Jack left a minute before me, and Jeff and I left together. We chatted for a bit and we hit a new section of grassy mossy track. Jeff started pedaling away and I decided I would let him go knowing that we had another 40 miles of singletrack at the end and I could close the gap again.
Plus my tummy was hurting I needed to drink and try to get some food down, it was becoming difficult.
As I pedaled and drank and ate, I felt that my plan was fool proof and all I needed to do was to keep the tempo steady.
Flew through most everything, till I crossed 40 and started heading to Mill Dam and decided by the mail box would be a good spot to stop and try to eat the chips I had been kind of eating for about 30 miles now.
Ate the chips drank a bottle and left, again trying to stay moving, decided I would skip a water reload at the Mill dam guard house.
Onward I went. The night started getting cold. I was not enthusiastic about how loose the road had become, only a couple of weeks back it was hard packed and fast. No matter, I know I am faster then the Tomassettis in the sand and faster on the singletrack, I saw it as an advantage for me.
As I got close to Lake Eaton I could see tires with foot tracks showing me where some of the other riders were force to dismount and I was not.
Then there I see what looks like a red blinky. In retrospec since Jeff told me he never turned his on, it had to of been Jack leaving Lake Eaton, since his pics showed him still there for dusk and I had just finished my descent into the sinkhole a few minutes after dark.
I stopped to force food down, take a pic, drink a bottle and finish my soda, as well as strap on my helmet light. Figure the roads were loose enough that moonlight or my princeton tec alone would not afford the fastest speed, line choice and best vision was going to be critical the rest of the way.
As I got to the last checkpoint and heard a voice and was surprised to see Chris.
He was so nice and cordial and I was all Robot like asking, How the heck did you get by me. He told me he went right instead of Left, and I realized since I didn't specify I could not make a big deal out of it. Future Racers will be told the route goes LEFT, LOL. I still was surprised that he had caught up. My math had him an hour back cause of his navigational mistake, guess my Math was wrong.
I decided if I wanted to defend third it was time to break one of the first agreements I made that day.
I had made a personal agreement to only use the big ring on pavement and only use the middle on dirt. Purpose being to save some power for the final singletrack push where I would go all out.
I had to lean into the Fred's and pound out the 44.
Hopkins seemed to move away from me for what seemed like an Eternity. I looked back and saw no light as I turned onto the singletrack to cross to OLD 10. And then out of what seemed like Nowhere on 10 I saw Chris Catching up and then as we turned south towards 40, we rode for a bit fairly close since he was having to dismount on some of the climbs and my expert ninja sand skills still kept me in the saddle.
I was a little mystified by being caught, but I figured, in the Next 40 miles of singletrack I wont make any mistakes I know the trail I will close the gap.
Then the strangest thing happened. Aside from some stomach discomfort, I had been steady and strong all day. But as I closed in on 40 it seemed like my vision was fading, then my handling became unreasonably sloppy and the world seemed to be spinning as if I was on a tea cup ride at Disney World.
I stopped for a second, and let it subside, but got to Juniper feeling OFF. I didn't like it.
A monkey wrench was officially stuck in my perfectly functioning 'haul ass sprockets' and immediately made a plan B to just drink a Dr. Pepper and drink lots of fluid and wait for it to subside.
Stopping moving proved to chill me more then I wanted too and the luxury of waiting seemed to be out of reach. I had not packed hardly a thing, I had no intention of camping. In fact I had bought all my food for the race the night before the start. I put my money in the machine and it didn't spit out my soda.
Here I am, cold, dizzy and frustrated.
For a long while I thought and as my teeth started to chatter I decided that there was no immediate solution and called for a pick up.
Eventually Scott pulled in, and we talked for a minute and then he left.
Then Luis came in, telling me that there were more machines inside, which frustrated me more, cause I had it in my head that somehow that soda was going to save me, which in fact it didnt as I spent all Sunday handling dizzy spells. Before Luis rolled on he bought me a soda and waited for my girl to show up, such a good friend and competitor. By the time she came I was full on body shivering and teeth shattering, not the prettiest look to be rocking out in the middle of nowhere.
Months of hardwork, and tons of effort for the day had been dashed by the vertigo that started out of nowhere nearly a week earlier. O well.
The next 24 hours I did my best to put it all in perspective.
I rode the fastest and longest I had ever ridden in my short Ultra Career to date. Proving to myself that with a little more prep, training and no silly health complications I can actually be as competitive as some of the faster riders.
Not only did the event go smooth without any horrible incidents. Not only had I finally nailed a route that I thought neared perfection, but I had raced it hard and fast and came short only because of something that was out of my control.
New Records were set by a lot of people that day, not only the by the person who crossed the finish line just short of 18 hours, but by me and everyone, it was a day and event filled with personal accomplishments and victories.
In the end, even with the Failure of not finishing my own route, I found I had accomplished something I thought I could only do in my dreams. I'm all the more motivated now to push on to train hard for the Huracan and then conquer the TD in the summer.
Let's see what shakes eh, either way, its gonna be one heck of an adventure.
The NaKeD InDiaN
Saturday, October 29, 2011
A Post about my feelings.....
Seems like Serendipity tails me in my life. As soon as some rarely heard phrase, idea or concept enters my mind, the same day shortly there after this one thing I had never heard off suddenly presents itself again.
I was born in the right time my friends. The Technology and gadgetry is not poorly timed for me but perfect. Over the years, the engaged pursuit of my passions has rewarded me so much that it is truly a blessing.
The things I have accomplished at once seemed like dreams under my eye lids. All my ideas and concepts started out that way. Just something I thought about and dreamt up as I pedaled across the land, and then not even a year after, gave life to it.
Like an Antenna or a satellite dish I am receptive to the messages of one and all and then I feel nothing but freedom in combining the ideas and the feedback I get with my own.
All I have done and continue to do has brought a lot of reward in my life. Jeffrey Tomassetti, emailed me one day, telling me he was planning on riding the Montana portion of the Divide with his nephew and that they were going to go out to Santos to practice.
I had wished he would of contacted me sooner cause I could have gave him a great route and when he shared pictures of his Rig, I told him they were packing way too much.
He went out that summer and took a trip and I checked on their spots and their updates.
We spoke after, Jeff and I and in the end, spoke more and more, and In the end we even toured together and In the end were just grand ole friends and Jeff is an inspiration to me.
Out of our little click that formed of people heading to the Divide, he was one of the two that made it down south and the first to cross the line. Both Rob, Cricket and I became victims of circumstance.
And I find it interesting that he came into my life and several full moons past, when I saw him again after his Grand conquering of the Great Divide Route he had a gift for me. A Gift motivated by a crossing at the Red Rock Pass.
There are only five of these paintings and I have one. I feel honored.
Thanks for being a great Friend and an inspiration!!!
The NaKeD InDiaN
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Its Odd cause I am like an Off Road Architectural Airborne Ranger. Drop me anywhere and I will find the dirt and create a route.
I think it was a Friday night at the shop. Last day of my work week and I tell Geoff and Wes that I am going to create a ride coming out of the shop. Immediately I can see stuff to ride.
I let it go at that point after just a brief fleeting glance.
Monday at work I told the boss that I was pretty sure I could organize an Urban Assault type ride with a pretty unique route.
Mark's all for it and I immediately decided to just put something together. In no time at all, I was done with a preliminary route.
I immediately called Wes and told him to bring his MTB to work on Wednesday cause we were going to test out the future Bikeworks South urban assault route.
All day we were pretty amped up and I was Happy that Wes was excited about going out for the ride. I wasn't sure if he was gonna like the things we would encounter, I didn't even know what the route would be hold, after all I had just scouted it on Satellite images and had not ridden a single foot of it.
The first part of the route was sidewalk and back road, we crossed over John Young Parkway and hung a hard right into Town Loop Blvd and went behind Hunters Creek Middle school. From the images on the computer I could tell there was boardwalk and thought it may even be to a mile long. As soon as we hit it, were going over the actual Shingle creek and everything was dark green and beautiful. Before long we make a hard right down a small set of stairs (definitely adding to the urban ride effect) and we were now on creek ridge riding singletrack. SICK!
After about 1/4 mile or less we hung a left on the main access road. Hard pack shell with a neatly carved double track. As quick as we made it onto the shell packed double, we turned a hard right and started what was called East Pine Island.
The first Section rolled smooth, but as we rounded the bend things got muddy and I had to dig into my bag of shitty terrain riding skills which put me in front of my company by a minute or so. But Wes Hung tough and we came out of there Muddy, but feeling strong.
More Hard pack ensued as we approached West Pine Island Loop I saw a water crossing and figured if the east side was wet the west side might be wetter. We continue rolling along and BAM we come up on what appears to be a pond in the middle of the trail
100 thoughts or so crossed my mind. Maybe 100 is an exaggeration. But, fairly fast I wanted to finish the route and I was not afraid to cross a pond.
But, to err on the side of safety I asked Wes to watch my back as I first just took a couple of steps into it to see how deep it was. The water was cold, I thought for sure that it must be creek overflow. Since I had my bright Stella on my helmet I could see right down to the floor. It was hard shell rock. At that point, I jump on the bike and start moving across. I glance down and to my wheels and my bottom bracket to make a mental note on how deep it is.
Hub's are not submerged, bottom bracket is skimming the surface, If I increase the speed, I can break the water better and keep all my parts free from water. I make the other side fast and call out to Wes to come across.
We pedal a little more shell and come up right on a power plant. Wes suggest we Scramble left and after a little situation where he got stuck knee deep in quicksand, we ended up on a Golf Course green, turned off our lights and started riding the cement trail carved into the Golf Course hill side.
On We go. Next thing we know were at the Entrance of the hotel. Now being unsure of the parks boundaries and limits we took pavement till we saw a Duncan Donuts and took the dirt road heading off behind the building.
Were back again under the power lines keeping steady tempo and making good time.
I had mapped to eventually break right. As the terrain got tougher I waited for Wes at the turn and we rode straight into Sandy party town central spot where it was obvious cars or trucks come fairly frequently to drink and hang out.
I decide to by pass this section, knowing full well before I got there that this was a possibility. I pulled up my droid and looked at the google earth satellite picture and got us back on hard pack clay in minutes.
After a good little roll and a feeling of relief that the return to hard pack brought, we came up on fence. We circumnavigated it fairly fast and then were back on the road for a couple of turns.
Foolish me, I wasn't smart en0ugh to notice that Osceola Parkway is a toll road(what an idiot) and then we cut back to the original by pass.
There is a water management department warning to not venture forth, but we had no choice, the paved re route would of been long and boring.
On the other side we rode Combat style, no lights front or rear. After a couple of minutes our eyes adjusted, the night got brighter. We could see the parkway to our right and the cars headlights speeding along. To the front there was a big Orange nearly full moon filling the sky. Epic view.
After a quick map check, everything looked as it did from my eye in the sky route check. Everything was rolling fast and before we knew it we were on pavement and then the bike path.
It was very well used and we passed tons of water spots and places to sit and chat. As quick as we hit the path we were on grass again and then Shell rock and then back to pavement to finish up the ride.
It was awesome. Fast, beautifully scenic and challenging, all good elements for a route.
I think I may have a little something, time to tweak it just a little bit.
the NaKeD InDiaN
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Monday, September 05, 2011
Why was this bike so spectacular?
The Scandium mixed with the Carbon seat stays really made for an extremely comfortable bike.
Now I am riding "Beast Mode", which is an awesome ride. Sure its Aluminum(poor mans titanium), but Specialized has done a fantastic job of dialing in the geometry on their 29Er's and the thing hammers and climbs and descends, just exactly what I need it to do.
BUT, its currently not as comfortable as My Mamasita was. Even though were probably talking about a total of 24 inches of Carbon from one bike to the other I have initiated operation "make it more compliant". At work I have been slowly making a list of the carbon bits that I want to swap out on my bike. I found a huge special on an S works carbon stem, A Lil longer, which is good for my wobble naught fit, and a little lower, again good for my fit.
Slapped it on my bike Wednesday. I also want to get the Carbon version of my bars for my bike and the FSA mini Carbon aero bars and either a Carbon Seat post or a moots Titanium seat post. Even considering putting on a Carbon fork for my next Tour Divide attempt, all in the realm of possibility.
So let's do the math. The 24 inches of carbon that I am missing can easily be made up by replacing all these items.
BUT, you know how things go, this is an experiment and I may be wrong, LOL.
Friday at Work a customer came in that's new to mountain biking and a regular. RaFa really wants to do a ride with me. He does not know who I am, meaning, the blog, or the accomplishments or lack there of, or the Singletrack Samurai Productions thing, but he still wanted to ride.
I had planned a ride with Mike Rittenhouse, a Lil resistance training, since he has been putting in the pavement miles in prep for the CFiTT and now wants to incorporate the dirt. He also told me about his "hill workout" so I decided to take him on the Hilliest West Volusia Mix ride available.
BUT, my life is not ever so simple. If anything, the new job leaves me more time to have fun and be social and I have been taking full advantage of that. So this weekend was booked solid.
Still I invited Mike and RaFa to ride early in the a.m. The early a.m.
Here is what the schedule looked like:
Saturday, 7am ride, then back to the house to clean, prep for race, prep for Kai's birthday, visit my mother and brother and nephews and then off to my girlfriends mother's house to Celebrate Sarina's Twentieth Birthday. Phew.
The ride started late.
RaFa showed up behind schedule.
And as we made pace on pavement and Dirt, we hit the hilliest section of the route, and they both were pleasantly surprised with lumped throats as to just how hilly Deltona Florida is.
To me, its not so hilly any longer, but the new position on the bike, even though were talking just degrees and millimeters, but it was requiring me to engage slightly different muscles then I was used too, by rides end, I was a Lil sore.
The rest of the day as busy as it was went smooth and I ended my evening trying to go to bed early to make my way to Trevor Busby's house early in the a.m. 630am to be exact, Sunday was going to be my first Lap race in a long time. I told Trev I was available to help if needed, and I was called upon when a team mate backed out at the last minute.
Lately I have been going through some physical transitions as I mentioned in my last post and although I was excited to be with the team, riding as fast as I can for 10 miles at a time is not what I am used to doing. I am used to riding hard with a 70% to 80% effort over 100 or more miles. This kind of racing requires you to go hard at 80% to 90% effort over a short distance, something I have not done in about 3 years.
Regardless, it was nice to joke and hang out with my team and make new friends and see people I have not seen in awhile. Being a part of the MTB community for 11 years, you end up knowing a lot of people and the list gets longer every year.
My new Team Mate Aaron was up first. And he put in the best work he could considering he has never had to sprint and jump on a bike before. Then Trevor who's on the road to recovery, turned out an amazing first lap, and then there was me.
I took off standing, pushing and pulling the pedals, amazed by how much that first grassy climb sucked. Amazed by how Sandy and worn in the corners were. Exposed roots, I seem to remember San Felasco being so pristine, not the case at the moment. I was having to taper back and be cautious in the corners to avoid over shooting or crashing. As it stands I am still trying to learn the side knobs of my renegades and didn't want to lose time on a crash.
Eventually I hit a grassy straight and I see a gone riding arrow and a brown sign that said turtle something and instead of going straight it somehow caused confusion in my brain and I went about 1000 feet or so up a trail to discover I had made a wrong turn.
"Awesome I thought" , upset I made my way back on course and started seeing riders on course. Slowly I made a game of stalking and passing and attacking, all the while thinking that I was going way too hard and my stomach was in my throat. But still, on I pushed, up and over, attacking the flats and the climbs trying to keep my effort under control. Eventually, as I overtook my last rider in the final mile, I was overtaken just a second before the line and I overhear Dave Burger say over the PA system that Orange Cycle and Bikeworks Orlando were locked in a battle?
I did my hand off and the race continued.
I tried to eat sensibly and supplement sensibly as I waited my turn. All the while hoping it would rain to pack down the dusty loose conditions. But it never happened.
My turn came again and I watched as team 590 took off ahead and the same guy who passed me before lap ones end was stuck waiting on the line.
Before we finished the Grassy first energy sucking climb I ate 590 alive.
My plan was to run, run, run. I knew 579 was faster than me and my only hope was to go as fast as I could and hope I could make the lap before being caught.
There I was, really leaning the corners. Really letting go of the brakes, being a Lil less cautious now that I had time to memorize the course.
Then right around 3 miles from laps end, the wind from my sails failed. I was struggling, trying to keep my momentum, but eventually, 590 caught me, then 579 came around and I just did the best I could and made the line to hand off to my team mate. Feeling drained, but happy to be done and off he went.
Luckily my effort to still keep going even though I was bonking and their effort to push fast we closed the gaps and passed 579 and 590.
I stood on the line, after recovering, ready to take the baton one more time for a 9th team lap, and Trevor B who rode a blazing lap, missed it by a minute.
At least we got them back. You have no idea how much I was beating myself up in my head while the bonk was going on. I was echoing in my head, feeling awful how I let my team down. I still didn't stop, I still stood up to climb and I rode till I fell down on the ground after handing off the baton.
The rest of the day was spent congratulating my other team mates who managed a beastly 5th place and other riders I had met that day who had outstanding rides.
It was fun, eating, and laughing and talking to the people that I have met knew and known for so long.
The NaKeD InDiaN
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Truthfully, the Divide was a life changing experience. And when I came back from my failed attempt, I came back with my sights set on changing certain things in my life. One of the major things I realized as I went through all my ordeals in New Mexico that I have worked pretty much full time since I was 17 and I honestly didn't have much to show for it. Let me clarify, I do have beautiful children, and great friends and family and loved ones, but I have no great accumulated wealth, in fact I have great accumulated debt and stress instead.
I read an article somewhere along my travels. It was about interviews they did with individuals who were on their "death beds". And they made a list of the top ten things that they wish they could have done differently. And I cant remember the nine other things they said or better yet I don't have them readily available in my mind, but I can remember one of the things. AND all of them said they wished they would have worked less and played more.
Now some of you look at my past 7 years or so of blogging and think that I Play enough, but in reality what I have done is tried to play as much as I could around my busy single parenting schedule and my ridiculous work schedule. 12 hour days at the minimum every day for 5 days a week adds up and really, in the past 6 years or so I have done that career of cable installing at some points it progressed in a positive direction, but all it has done is gotten more expensive with less rewards.
The time was ripe.
As I got extracted from the Gila by my sandwich, gun toting, GPS having, Mountain bike touring loving friend Lloyd. I began the process of turning the wheels in my head on how I was going to make that change. As we meandered up and down the same route that I had just spent a day and a half trying to conquer I thought about how much easier it would have been to come from the north into this route vs the path I took. Mental notes were made and then and there it was decided that this life long dream of touring/racing the divide would come true and it would be immediate.
I spent the rest of my travel hanging out with Lloyd's family then taking a bus then a train and then finally in My girls arms home catching up and attempting to piece my life together.
Once my vacation was over, the plan was to get a job working with the Bike shop that I have raced with for the past 11 years hoping to do that work in the mean time till I find something I would love more or keep that and find ways to supplement that income using the skills I have acquired as an athlete and ultra racer.
And the ball did go in motion and I got the job and I like it. I really enjoy talking about bikes and helping to keep people rolling and helping people forage into the a new sport.
And I have been riding more. Took the dragons out a couple of times for HTFU rides. Lots of long rides with LIL'r NI, lots of conquering new sections of forest I have wanted to conquer. Rides with Friends, scouting sections of the Upcoming November 12Th CFiTT and adding new sections.
Lil mini tours I was able to exploit at the end of summer involving working and hotel stays and then hilly rides across Apopka to Zellwood to Mount Dora and then buggy nights in the Seminole forest. Triumphant Ocala National Forest Crossing and visits to the Paisley wagon trail and the Ghost Town of St. Francis with no GPS file used, just my memory of the route.
So things have been good but there have been some obstacles. Somehow my thyroid medicine slipped and there was a bit of a medical bump that I have had to deal with. The slip in my thyroid which controls my metabolism caused me to gain some weight and affected my energy levels and I have been slowly crawling my way back from that and trying to get my body back to the way it was, it has been a challenging little road, but like everything I run head long into it.
This past week I capitalized on an opportunity to travel To Georgia and ride in the mountains on some new trails with some friends that I have only had the chance with to ride in Florida and never out of state. Had a great two days of riding in the mountains about 70 miles and saw old friends like Eddie and Dave at the Fools gold before I rode myself into the worst leg cramp lock up that I have ever had and was forced to pull out at mile 42 or 44 depending on who you ask. Someone told me wholeheartedly at sag 3 that we had 14 miles left and after covering 8 painful miles walking and riding when I could cause of my thigh bone crushing cramps, I got to that sag and they told me we had 8 miles left which made no sense. I pulled out there, cause I could barely walk and I could not even bend my knees cause the muscles above them were so locked up.
I rode some long home from work miles and did research on my cramps and nutrition and like all, even though I been doing this for awhile if I can avoid that happening again I will. As it stands I have a rematch scheduled with the Fools gold, not a particularly difficult event compared to the things I have done in the past, but if you go out too hard you can sure raise the challenge level.
On Thursday I had a chance to go see the Red Bull Mini Drome event with my Girlfriend and some folks from work. I was so envious that I didn't have my fixie pieced together to race the event, but I saw some old friends and some great action!
Now, I believe I have caught you all up, sans some details, I have now regained my balance and will go back to the regular posting that I enjoy.
Stay tuned if you like,
The NaKeD InDiaN
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
The Canyon was warm the first part of the night, but suddenly in the middle of the night the temps dropped dramatically.
Another point during the night through my eyelids I saw a bright light, only to peak out of my bivy and see the moon was bright in the night sky.
I would sleep on my one side till I felt sore, and then move to the other when I got tired.
The pillow riddle continued to elude me and swore if I ever spent that much time sleeping on the ground again I would bring an inflatable.
Eventually I opened my eyes and noticed that daylight had finally come.
I got up and it was freezing cold. Immediately changed into warm clothes finally putting on my knicker bibs that I had brought.
As I packed up I was impressed by how efficient I had become with the process and choked down more food. I took inventory of my water count knowing full well that I would have to pray and hope that Black Canyon creek was flowing cause that is as far as I would be able to make it with the water I currently had.
I completed my morning ritual and rolled out. Once again the trail kicked up. I thought to myself, why didn't I camp on top of a climb, but then remembered how cold the canyon had become over the night and it would have been way colder at the top of a peak. Before long I was in my granny gear churning along wondering if it was going to be 8 miles or 4 miles to black canyon.
I could see fresh bear tracks all over the road. That's funny I thought, they were going uphill coming from the canyon I had been sleeping in. Interesting. The next thought that crossed my mind was that I didn't think there were bears in New Mexico, guess I was mistaken.
Onward and upward, till I was forced to walk. The going was slow and my feelings of illness returned. Nausea, exhaustion. I took breaks and did my best to keep moving.
I was trying to eat, trying to keep my motivation up, but all that had happened up to this point had put a harsh crack in my resolve. I could feel my desire for wanting to be out there all alone in the middle of now where feeling ill, slipping fast.
I'm hunched over my top tube after spending what seemed like another straight hour going uphill. I think finally all my ill feelings have reached a peak and I am about to expel a symphonic technicolor yawn.
Just the I notice a truck ascending up the road. A man who is clearly a Fellow Native mature and seasoned stops and ask me if I was OK.
I had to tell the truth of course.
He offered to shuttle me ahead as far as he could, told me he had work to do in the Gila and that was how he could help me out. So I accepted.
My race was finished the instant I started moving forward on the route under powered assistance.
There was nothing I could say. I was not feeling well and mentally the ordeal had hurt me. I was in a different event but got caught in circumstance. I had spent what felt like almost two entire days averaging 3 miles per hour. Mentally I disqualified myself for moving too freaking slow.
And Jorge, eventually turned off the main road to take care of his business and I was back on my own. I felt better. I don't know why. But I did. I changed my clothes, Put on regular shorts put away arm warmers and such, and started rolling again. Started the sacred Gila mountain dance that had me hiking and biking up mountains and down when the downs did come.
I saw signs talking about this being part of the Geronimo trail. I remember when I was a sales coach in one of my past careers I would talk about how much of a bad ass Geronimo was. I didn't think it was any coincidence that I was on the same path of a warrior that I had spoke of so highly so many times.
I passed a resort, counting down the remaining miles to Beaverhead work center.
I finally arrive tired, walking. I see a soda machine and an Old school pay phone in the front of the place. I also see an out of order sign. Ya, a soda would have been too much of a reward...pfft..
There are your typical compose bathrooms with a fresh water pump. Behind the main building was the garages that housed all the equipment these gentleman would use to fight the fires.
I am naive I freely admit, and It seems after spending some time observing the Firefighters that there are two types. The firefighters we know off rush into homes and use hoses to fight urban death traps in an effort to save life. These firefighters were more like Fire Horticulturist experts in chocking a fire to death by digging, using heavy machinery cutting, whatever it took.
The firefighter in charge responsible for caring for all the extra fighters that had come down to assist with the wildfire crisis, fed me, gave me drink and let me make several calls.
Lloyd said he would come get me. Told me things would have been different had I had not such a rough start. And that he would be there in the morning, would I be alright.
I told him of course.
So I cleaned my clothes, ate my food, observed my surroundings and the people around. Spend the day reading Jill Homer books on my kindle. Almost wishing I had started reading the book sooner than that day feeling that reading about her adverse moments made me feel a lot stronger than when I had arrived in my weak mental state.
The night was beautiful. Comfortable. The sky, full of stars. I even saw what I would call a slow burning shooting star. It was a moment of beauty after all the suffering.
Before I drifted off to sleep I even figured out the pillow riddle, stuffing my spare clothes in the stuff sack of my Bivy. Worked perfect.
The NaKeD InDiaN
Thursday, July 14, 2011
I am not used to sleeping on the floor, repeated nights in a row. The biggest issue I was having was a pillow. The smarter man would of probably purchased an inflatable version and brought it along, but I thought I could make do. For a moment I wondered if there was some ingenious way I could with my current kit solve the Pillow Riddle.
I added layers and packed up then sat on my tyvek groundcloth and put down some chocolate calories, knowing that if all went well and I made it over the CDT as planned I would be heading into the Infamous Gila forest.
I was not intimidated by what I had heard about the Gila. It would be the first serious off road climbing of the route, but after the TNGA and the rumored Appalachian type nature of the climbs in the Gila I felt it would not be a problem.
Again the day started on a climb.
As I made my way off the mountain I tried to look at the scenery and not obsess on the approaching turn off pavement I could see on the GPS taking me towards the CDT.
Finally I see dirt and I make my way.
Immediately the track turns upward into a wicked 4 x 4 jeep crawler type track. I'm loving it, enter the 22 ring!
I'm pedaling along, enjoying the jagged off road track thanking god that I was riding something that was more a kin to my preferences. Up and over I go, and then, something I didn't expect happens.. I peak out to a mountain top and I am way off track. I think for a second that maybe it was like the TNGA and the green track was not 100% accurate on skinny trail, but after some back tracking, I top out again, descend and then spend some more time searching and searching, this time trusting the green track instead of doubting it.
AND finally, I find the entrance to the CDT!!!!
Excited I jump right in, ascending and riding narrow track with exposed side cuts that punished you severely for any margin of error.
Up and down, a hike a bike here and pedal there I was in Singletrack Nirvana.
I stop to layer down and prepare for the heat of the day that was rapidly approaching. The sun launches into the sky fast in the desert. Amazingly fast.
I continue on the track, enjoying the views and snapping pics watching the green line and seeing where this fun will end, Singletrack is HARD to come by on the Tour Divide.
Eventually the fun does end and the track dumps out into a group campground. I had planned an off route detour to re stock on water. I had intentionally metered how much water I took up and over signal peak CDT to avoid carrying extra weight.
Every pump I checked was not ready, or working. So on I moved and I continued with my original plan. The heat was beaming off the pavement. But it was mostly downhill as I made my way to a section that the map called Lake Roberts. Interesting enough.
I had ridden a couple of miles and was starting to wonder if I would see this ranger station. Just as I wonder I notice a cafe to my left. I approach the door and although its not open it says to ring bell.
I press the button and a bell goes off in the house on my left.
A lady rushes out and ask me what I needed and I ask if I could purchase some soda. She is nice and conversational, and after going through the usual particulars that I usually get about what I am doing and where I am going she ask me how much water I am carrying.
She apparently is very familiar with the direction I am heading and she tells me I don't have enough water. She gets me an extra container and offers me Ice and water for all my bottles, my bladder and the extra empty bottle she just gifted me.
I had a moment of clarity and asked her if she would sell me a sandwich. Frances handed me the menu and told me to order whatever I wanted. Indeed this was a cafe, but business had been slow, but she was more then eager to help out a fellow traveler and adventurer.
Frances was a marketing professor from Chicago who decided she wanted to change her life and come live out there in New Mexico. A better life. She told me stories about other people who she had to save who were bike touring and did very poor planning.
It was the best cheeseburger I had ever had. I ate and we talked, I used the bathroom, paid and left.
Before leaving I soaked my Specialized Sun arm protectors in water, my under shirt and the bandanna I was wearing under my helmet. I put this all on.
For years I have done lots of studying on how to survive and thrive in various conditions and I knew that in the Dry desert moisture gets sucked out of everything so even though it was hot, I was putting on as much layers as I would wear if the weather was cold.
I made my way towards the Forest road that would start my Trek across the Gila. After several miles I turn off the pavement and begin the climb up to the plateau. And just then I hear a familiar sound as my phone starts chiming from receiving voice mails and sounding off from receiving text messages. The symphony of sounds eventually subsided, for the first time in a day and half I had cell signal so I took a moment to respond to messages and make a few calls.
I was already feeling not so good. Was I still suffering from sleep deficit? Had I ate too much to late in the day??? No matter I persevered.
I got up on the plateau thinking the trail would flatten out, but no. I kept climbing. Once the climbing subsided, I then started hitting the absolute worst washboards I had ever encountered.
My motivation was low. My arms were experiencing fatigue similar to ripping out repeated push ups to muscle failure. I got into my aero bars but the position was hard to maintain in the washboards and it was just not as comfortable as I remembered or preferred.
I resorted to weaving left and right across the road trying to find the less washboarded spot. Tried to surf the very edge where the road was smooth, but they sharply graded the roads on the edges to form a drainage and I slipped and fell into the ditch.
This continued for several hours and my feelings of exhaustion persisted. I took breaks. Thoughts of quitting came into my mind and I would eat gummy worms and they would go away, and then I would repeat. I feared my arm fatigue would mean me slipping my grip and hitting my face on the bars.
The day persisted. I would spend hours going up only to finish the rewarding downhill in less than 3 minutes. I kept thinking how much easier this would be coming from the other way, how much more downhill I would have.
It was hard to gauge my progress and where I was on the map. I was really beating myself up cause my progress was miserably slow. Although my pace had been fine at the beginning I had really lost some serious forward momentum this past day and a half.
Its funny how the your own mind will kick your own ass. And I was in full on ass kicking mode. Just beating myself up about it all.
After what seemed like an eternity I was descending when I spotted a campground and a sign that said Rocky Canyon. Along with that sign I saw a car of all things.
I spoke to the campers. Chit Chatting mostly. I asked them how far Black Canyon was and he said 4 miles and she said 8 miles. I looked at the elevation profile sheet and felt at my exhaustion level it was better to just camp. This spot had a picnic table and a porta pottie, why not.
Thinking strategy I felt it best to go to bed early again and see if more rest would make me feel better. I felt so defeated, so tired, that continuing the race was mentally in serious jeopardy.
I had no appetite. I did my best to choke something down and then when I laid down, It took all my concentration to not throw up what I had just ate.
More to come.
The NaKeD InDiaN
Saturday, July 09, 2011
Jamie is a former Tour Divide finisher, owner of the bike house and city council man and bicycle advocate.
I felt feverish. I looked at my droid, I had slept four hours. I had hoped to sleep alot more but that's what I got and I needed to get going. The plan for the evening was to camp somewhere up on signal peak as I made my way across the new CDT addition to the Great Divide Mountain Bike route.
Before I left town though I had a list of things I wanted to do. Grab an espresso, grab something hot for dinner, grab about 2 days worth of food. The little things.
Everything went perfectly smooth, but I found it so hard to buy 2 days worth of junk food and then carry it all. Eventually I sorted out all my kit and got going out of town, up and up into Palos Altos.
By the time I made the town of Palos Altos darkness had firmly planted itself for the night. I could not located the rumoured spicket. I was feeling incredibly tired still. Just out of gas. Had my Coyote run the night before been too much of a sacrifice after sitting around for two weeks and doing nothing? Would I be able to recover from this? These are the games my mind was playing with me.
I was conflicted I had just spent what seemed like a lifeless trip up the mountain into the Palos Altos and now I didn't much feel like going forward. My clock was all messed up too, technically at 6pm at night I had started day two, LOL. Hilarious.
SO, instead of going forward I followed my own sage advice, listened to my body and pulled into the Buckhorn allegedly the oldest Saloon in the universe. I sat outside for a minute, reflecting. Trying to figure out why I felt so crappy? Was it sleep deprivation?
Just as I am sitting contemplating my lack of well being, three intoxicated gentlemen stumbled out of the saloon, one drunker than the next.
Noticing a guy in cycling clothes with a fully loaded bike always inspires a million and one questions.
So there we are, I'm pulling out maps, I'm letting them lift the bike, I practically laid out my kit for them to look at. One of the guys was worried about my safety and spent a good 30 minutes warning me about fires which I assured him if they were in my path that I would be re routed.
Two more people came out, one of them a cook, and feeling hungry I asked if they were still serving dinner, I figured I was out of energy, at a pit stop, I might as well, eat and have some drinks and enjoy this tour as much as possible.
BUT, much to my disappointment they had stopped serving. I had picked up a Giant Burrito before leaving Silver and I asked if I could eat go inside drink some beer and eat my food. They said of course and I pulled out my jacket and went in and sat and ate and drank and listened to them converse.
I like people watching, I'm an anthropologist so its something that I do often not only as a citizen of this planet, but as a social scientist. And the best way to people watch is for me to blend in the room and be seemingly invisible. As weird as that may sound considering everyone in the place was dressed to be hanging out in a bar and socializing and me all decked out in cycling attire.
It seemed like they were starting to close up and the guy asked if I wanted another drink. I declined and paid my fair, got layered up cause the night had become chilly and went off on my way.
Feeling a Lil buzz of beer, I quickly discovered that the town of Palos Altos was the peak of profile and I went downhill Immediately after leaving the saloon. Then a Lil rise and even more downhill. The moonlight was revealing a forest. TREES actual TREES I hadn't seen TREES in weeks.
I kept rolling on, and then started seeing people who were camping at the Roadside available sites. Kept my pace going and when the road started turning uphill the fatigue started to return. I zoomed out on the GPS and I saw where the turn off was for the CDT. As tired as I was feeling I had to think about the long haul. This was not a 300 mile race this was a nearly 3000 mile epic and I needed to conserve, invest and think about the future.
SO, I decided to try and spot a bivy spot. Kept my eyes open and noticed a spot to set up camp. I hiked across a dry creek to a nice wide open spot next to a rocky out cropping. For the first time I was using the inflatable mattress that Jeff Tomassetti's nephew had been nice enough to lend me. Usually whilst bikepacking in Florida I either use a hammock or hobo camp on benches, I had never used the mattress. Even the first night I bivied at Soldiers Retreat I didn't use a pad, I just laid up on the sand. Thankfully it was very user friendly and after some adjustments and trying to figure out what to use for a pillow I fell fast asleep hoping that some healing rest would re energize me and give me strength for the next day.
To be continued,
The NaKeD InDiaN
Tuesday, July 05, 2011
Looked around and could see nothing but desert sand in all directions, speckled with cacti and mountains.
It had been 2 hours since I had fallen asleep and I immediately packed my things and did what I had to do to get on my way.
My clothes were covered in salt as was my face. Considering I had been riding all night in what I thought were tame conditions I felt filthy as if I had been wallowing in a sand box at the local playground.
I took a second to soak it all in.
The crisp chill in the air.
But didn't linger long before I was up and pedaling.
Although I had only slept for two hours I felt very rested, and immediately dug into my top bags for food.
The chocolate was still in a hard state as I pedaled along wondering when this sandy section would end, secretly cursing myself for not doing better route study. Time was just hard to find as my busy life wash drain spiraled into this event.
I continued on and before long I saw a street sign of all things in the middle of nowhere. AN animal that was long like a goat but ran like a deer, two of them tearing off after they spotted me. Climbed some big climbs and then dropped down a sweet canyon before I finally started seeing actual trees.
Some bigger climbs came along followed by some white knuckle rutted dirt road downhills that were bringing a smile to my face, leaving me thinking that finally I was seeing some variety from the previous hours efforts.
Finally I found the end of the dirt and hit pavement once again. I took a bit of time to eat a little more food before my chocolate returned to a melted state and drank some water before riding the pavement section all the way into Silver City.
AS I made my way down the pavement I started to feel fatigued. I didn't know if it was the fact that the temperature had gone from cool to hot so fast or the fact that in the past 30 hours I had only slept two, but I was hurting. It bothered me that I was hurting so much so early into this 20 plus day epic.
I was contemplating all this in my head when a car sped by and quickly stopped. I wondered if I was already being SPoT Stalked, but that wasn't the case at all as I saw Lloyd's familiar face emerge from the car.
He gave me a run down of everything I had done in the past 14 hours, which I smiled at, and asked me if I was OK, before he jumped back in his car on his way to complete the errands him and his wife were performing.
I cant say enough about Lloyd, truly a superstar. A Former Sheriff for the entire area, Judge, etc, this guy was all around Bad to the Bone.
The climbs were long riding into Silver City. I kept thinking wow, this would all be downhill if I was coming from the north. But I kept the cranks turning and geared down intently looking at my GPS and that way point that let me know I was getting closer to my goal.
Here I was climbing what seemed to be the longest climb of all stretching for what seemed an eternity. When I got to the top I felt dazed and dizzy, dismounted from the bike and literally sat there on the hot pavement with my eyes closed hiding behind my bike since it was the only form of shade for miles and miles.
I couldn't understand why I felt like warmed over crap so early in the race. I was hungry but couldn't eat, thirsty but tired of drinking so I chalked it up to sleep deprivation.
After a few moments I commanded myself to get up and go forward. And just like that I crested the hill and off in the distance maybe a mile or more away I could see a gas station/convenience store. The only thing I could think about was getting a DR. Pepper. Yes, sugar and caffeine that's what I needed to recharge my body.
I got to the store ran in and bought a giant Dr. Pepper. I asked the lady behind the counter how far was Silver City and she said, its right at the bottom of the hill. Wow, I was not even a mile away and it was all downhill.
I rolled into Silver City at 1030am, turning left towards the Gila Hike and Bike shop to have my Rear Derailleur adjusted. That took no time at all, and I backtracked to where I had turned off to sit down and eat a gigantic burrito and drink even more sugary laced caffeinated beverage.
One advantage to having been stranded in Silver City, I knew exactly where I wanted to go and after my meal I pedaled toward the hostel, greeted and chatted with the people inside as I washed my clothes and took a shower before laying down to rest a little more.
It had been a LONG night, and although I was not 100% satisfied with my effort it was time to attempt to recover from the pain I had experienced on my way into town.....
Part 3 Tomorrow,
The NaKeD InDiaN
Monday, July 04, 2011
UPS won, and my Cargo Net showed up first.
Fed Ex second and I Installed my pedals and finally after 4 full days of waiting I had finally put my bike back together, although with a set of borrowed pedals and a lent front wheel.
As I rode around the parking lot the Aer0 bars just didn't feel right. They felt off center or a little too low, I really couldn't nail down what adjustment I needed to make to make them feel as sweet as they once felt when I had them installed on My Mamasita. As it was I didn't have much time to tinker with it either as I needed to make sure I had my last hot meal for what till I made my way back from the border to Silver City.
Circumstance is a funny happenstance, and be things as they made, the week before I left I tapered off the bike and then, little did I know I would get another full on rest week before I could roll out. I was happy nonetheless cause I finally got my bike and I was feeling so foolish and so sad about everything that had happened.
Those first few days I spent waiting where an endurance test all of their own. I would spend all day and all night listening for the bus' breaks and then sprinting from my hotel room to the Grayhound out back, with my heart full of hope, only to be let down when I discovered I was still bike less.
Eventually I got so so tired of that process of let downs after let downs that I left Lordsburg and decided to put all my faith in the hands of the universe and see what dreams may come. My time table was tight, and my patience was gone.
So, regardless that the adjustment could not be made to my liking I ran across the way an scored a big meal of nuggets and fries and sat and ate and chatted with a guy who wanted to do the same ride I was doing but on a motorcycle, access permitting of course. Either way, whether motor powered or not the route would be nice to do.
He was a gold miner of all things. AND eventually he wished me luck and was on his way and Lloyd showed up to give me a ride to the border.
I was all a ball of Nervous anxiety but I tried to keep my cool. I did my best to not think how horrible things had gone up to this point. Did my best to dismiss the feelings filling my head wondering why after so much dreaming and preparation the Universe would feel fit to throw me such a huge curve ball minutes before embarking on lifetime stroll I had long desired.
Lloyd and his clan are truly the salt of the earth. Enthusiastic about the route, he probably day dreams more about it more than I do, but alas, as I have the actual ability and chance to out and do it, He admitted to me that he did not. Sure he may be able to ride some of the flatter sections, but his health would not allow him to ever complete the route as its laid out from either north or south.
Before long we were on the stretch of pavement that last a good 65 miles and takes you to the border. Seemed like every five minutes we were passing Border patrol agents of all types. AND as I counted down the mile markers and listened as Lloyd imparted his detailed knowledge about that part of the world, I saw in the distance Antelope Wells, rapidly approaching, knowing full well that I would finally, after all I had been through, get to start the adventure I had longed for.
Once we arrived I packed up my calories consisting of chocolate candy bars, I looked at the time and saw that I could easily start at 6pm, there was simply no way I was going to sit at the border for 2 hours to wait for my advertised 8pm start time. So I went with it, got ready, got saddled up, had Lloyd take my pic and I was on my way, finally rolling north.
Immediately the first thing I noticed was that it was damn freaking hot and this cross wind from the west was already dragging me down. My legs who had not put in any real efforts in two weeks were sending messages of complaints, but I kept the pedals going.
Instantly my chocolate melted, not something I had planned at all, but still, I did consume a good 1200 calories so I had plenty of food in my stomach to last me at least a good 50 miles and if needed I had plenty of body fat built up on purpose to push farther without food. Not all my calories were chocolate either and after a few hours I opened up the bags of gummy worms I had and began consuming those bit by bit.
When I was traveling perfectly north, my pace would be massively impacted by the winds raking across the flat desert plain. But when I would go north east, my speed would be equally increased by the deflecting crosswind.
Quickly I watched as the sun started descending to my left and to my right I could see that the moon, a full one at that was starting to climb over the summits of the tallest peaks. I didn't even know it was going to be a full moon that night and was pleasantly surprised and full of child like joy that I would get to ride in the full moon light.
It seemed like every 15 minutes I would have to stop to speak to a border agent and explain what the hell I was doing out that late and where I was from, etc, etc. BUT I felt safe knowing they were out there watching and doing there job.
There were cows everywhere. Bats, flying their crooked sacred dances in the sky all around, the biggest I had ever seen. Jack Rabbits with tall sail like ears sprinting in every direction, and my progress was quick, and my energy was high.
Its funny how sometimes I have these great moments of clarity. I had over 1000 calories of melted chocolate, but the night air was cooling down exponentially fast. So I decided to zip open both bags hoping the chill of the night would reconstitute my food, an activity I named "leaving the fridge door open".
I was stopped by a border patrol agent once again and asked him if he knew of any publicly accessible water spickets in Hachita. He said NO, but then said, here and handed me a cold Gatorade from his cooler. I attempted to refuse the offer, explaining the race rules, to which he responded that I didn't know he would be there and that he would offer this cold drink to anyone he would see along the desert, so no rules were being broken.
In Hachita I did a hard target search and found no public water sources available at the time I was crossing. I had decided long ago, that I wanted to get going the first chance I got and it just so happened that the first chance I got was at night. In contemplating that I only saw positives, as crossing that hot wide desert plain in the middle of the day without taking the necessary precautions could prove to be a painful experience.
There was a grocer that would open early, but I had plenty of supplies to get to Separ and beyond if needed. I had been careful to plan enough food for the trip to Silver City and only needed one water top off in the 125 mile distance.
I found a remote electrical source, but NO water source and quickly made my way further north to Separ. I was sure that the Continental Divide store would have supplies.
Finally after 60 miles my tires were crunching dirt as I made my way onto the Service that ran parallel to Interstate 10.
Not long after I rolled into Separ. The parking lot was full of Semi Trucks parked for the night. I found the water pump on the side of the building and let the cold water run for a bit before filling all my bottles and my bladder. I ate chocolate and watched cars roll by, thinking that this bench would be a good place to sleep till first light. BUT no, that was not the plan, the plan was to pedal all the way to Silver City.
I rolled out again finally on Dirt and no longer on pavement for a good long while.
The Tall Palmetto pointy trees that lined the dirt road looked like Conquistadors holding lances. On the Horizon, several times I thought I saw, Ceremonial Adobe round houses. But all were mirages, my mind playing tricks on me. I was a little surprised that I would be seeing such things, but maybe these were the circumstances that Desert riding facilitated and a necessary part of the experience.
I was a man on a mission, big ringing everything since I started at 6pm, and attacking every small rise that came across my path.
Up and down, more riding into the distance that seemed to have no end. It all reminded me of riding the Ocala National Forest in some strange way, and it brought back memories of riding the Lake Okeechobee scenic trail. I thought of my friends, I thought of my family, thought of Rob and things from the past. And then I noticed I was weaving all over the road. At some point I had become dazed and had reached a point that I felt the only choice I had was to sleep for a bit and not risk a silly crash.
On my way to the start, Lloyd had told me to watch for goat heads and thorns if I needed to get off the road, I scouted a clean spot, threw down my Tyvek Ground cloth, rolled out my bivy and instantly fell asleep.
Part two tomorrow,
The NaKeD InDiaN
Monday, June 13, 2011
These fellas are not related to Harriett Tubman, nor is this an Underground Railroad. From what I hear, they are pretty awful people, but personally I have never met a Coyote.
BUT, I am the Naked Indian, the Singletrack Samurai, to me a Coyote means something else all together.
To me there is a lot of spiritual power in the medicine of the Coyote. To me it symbolizes the spiritual energy of the first leg of my journey.
And my Journey did not start with an ill fated bus ride. IN fact, if my journey begins at 1, then the bus ride is negative 10 all leading up to these unfortunate turn of events.
Monday, after calling greyhound to check on my tracer they said, its best I fill out a claim as they know nothing. I called the Local Office, just grasping at straws, and found out that my bike had showed. Minus the front wheel.
I updated the world, calls, texts, status updates and then took off like a bullet for the bike shop. At the bike shop they put me in Contact with Jeff Reese who not only loaned me a wheel to use, but also re Stans it and gave me a ride to the Corre Camino Bus service that gave me a lift back to Lordsburg for $2.50.
In Lordsburg I recovered my bike, began putting it together, only to discover that I was missing a pedal. It must have fallen out of the box. So crisis not adverted. Its awesome to be a part of such a supportive cycling community.
That morning I had received an email Greg Houston, owner, operator and creative mastermind behind f3-designs.com , who offered me an entire bikepacking kit, bags, everything to get going. This is the kind of community I am a part of, a complete stranger, who came of knowing of my existence through this Blog, wanted to help. Amazing.
After trying to contact the person who Jeff had set up for me to stay in Lordsburg, I was unsuccessful and needed a physical address as matters where time sensitive so I broke down and got another Hotel Room at the Comfort Inn.
As it stands, Edith sent me the cargo net I was missing. Chris Plesko sent me the pedals I needed. I called Lloyd, local Antelope Wells Shuttle runner, and he will be taking me to the start today, around 5pm, with an 8pm expected start time.
Like the Coyote, I will ride into the night. Eluding the Sun, finding the cool weather, and riding all night long, right into Silver City, where I will camp, restock, then Roll again towards Pie Town, chipping away at New Mexico, until finally its behind me. O, when will be that be, Hopefully before the end of the weekend.
I will post when I can, and update you from the trail as much as possible. If your not my friend on facebook, just look for me, facebook.com/singletracksamurai.
The NaKeD InDiaN
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Saturday, June 11, 2011
For those that don't know, somehow my Greyhound experience has turned into a nightmarish ordeal when I arrived in Lordsburg New Mexico and my bike that was boxed along with my bikepacking essentials and my front wheel did not.
I honestly didn't even think that in the entire realm of possibility that this was possible. Thus I didn't have a contingency plan nor did I engage in 'hawk eye' observance of my luggage handling. I believe I took it for granted that this company could deliver me and my property safely to another location.
I indeed was wrong.
In retrospect it was a poor choice I guess to have chosen them and expected them to do what they are paid to do.
At this point, I pretty much am done crying about it ( I cried, not gonna lie) and I am in the process of initiating plan b.
I do have a back up kit, albeit not as refined and not as perfected as my original it should do well enough. I will have to ride a little harder and move a little faster to stay in front of any dangerous weather. Basically whereas in my previous kit I could handle serious rain and weather down into the 20's, with this kit, its more like down into the 40's. I guess maybe I can supplement that with good ole fashion news paper and plastic bags which I am not opposed to doing.
Greyhound will have to pay for this big time. There is no way that I am going to let their little policies and procedures dictate how I will be repaid if my bike and my essentials never appear.
I don't care what they say on the phone, I will get an attorney if I have too. It took me years of day dreaming, years of practice and years of experiences to culminate to this point in my life. Only to have my dream significantly handicapped by this company. It is a disgrace that they cannot do their job well enough with such a large Item, that I am inconvenienced in such a devastating fashion and nothing has been done on their part to assist a person that only has the clothes on his back and is for all purposes Stranded. They will pay, no matter how long it takes, war will be confirmed to be declared if my items never show and the this harsh mishap on their part will not go unpunished or unpaid.
So I am waiting for a Nice Gentleman that Matt Lee referred to me to take me to Silver City.
Once in Silver City I will make a couple of more calls to salvage my Plan A and if that does not manifest then I will fire off plan b and have a back up kit, a bag and a bike that is kinda broken, shipped to me so that I can finally and hopefully start pedaling towards Canada either Friday or Saturday.
Will I get to do the entire route all depends on the fact, that after I am done with Daddy Play time I have a family to support and bills to pay. My measly vacation pay was minimum wage for two weeks and the budget is tight and now it has grown even tighter.
Once In Silver City I will stay in a Hostel that Matt referred me too and slowly compile a back up kit, and slowly take off on the adventure of my life with the plan to ride as far as I can OR, if I decide to just suffer for a couple of weeks without money, finish this beast.
I Never would of thought this would have been possible. The transportation of me was fine, I trust Greyhound to transport a person, but never trust them with something you really need that you cant physically handle the entire time yourself. Lesson Learned, but they will still have to pay.
Ok, well I figured y'all wanted an update,
Not a happy post, but the show must go on, I am all dressed up and I need to do something with all the sacrifices and planning I made.
The NaKeD InDiaN
Monday, June 06, 2011
Everyone should have one.
We round here have one we call PiMBar.
Its a bike race, adventure race, fun race.
Its a hell of a day on the bike, fun in so many ways.
For several Years, Mucaro MTB dot blog spot dot com and I have wanted to have what we would both call a good showing and for years it has alluded us.
First cause I was not well, then him, then me, then this year, not even a day before my PiMbar departure, I was feeling ill.
The whole way up to the race, I was a mess.
"Again" I thought.
I hung in there though.
I just had to deal with what I had to deal with, in fact I was more concerned with my kit for the day.
I went with no backpack, putting all my emergency gear in a rear Carousel Seat bag.
I decided on Two bottles in the Feedbags and two bottles in the frame, no frame bag.
The bike was light and at 27lbs I thought I had done a great job with my kit for the days race.
When Rob and I got to Pisgah Forest Late that evening, I was feeling a little better, but was caught off guard by how cold it was.
So cold in fact that I decided not to put up my hammock and just car camp so I could get the most rest possible.
The best way to treat or prevent a cold is with adequate and replenishing rest.
The next morning I woke up, took some Day quil, ate my food and got ready to go out and have a spectacular day in the forest.
The TNGA was the last time I did any real climbing, admittedly I was nervous.
I had done the TNGA with only 18 gears and I had the opportunity on this day to finally test the BEAST in the mountains and try 30 gears on the climbs.
The morning went smooth. The registration fast. Was nice to see all the people I had not seen in a year. I really like them folks, gives the event an 'home away from home' vibe.
Eric and Erinna are an inspiration in what they have done for the Mountain Biking community and I fully admit, I was motivated by his skills and effort into doing what I do down here with Singletrack Samurai Productions.
Before long maps were handed off and even faster the start gun went off and we were told to read the passport before leaving the parking lot.
We did, and it paid off, big time.
Luis is a smart guy and tons of fun to be partners with. Usually I let him pick the route. And I am cool with whatever he comes up with. This year I recommended we hear what the other guys wanna do and shadow them. Less thinking for us, more fun to just ride, we went with it and it worked out well.
All was going smooth, in a matter of moments we were at checkpoint one. My climbing was going well, and I was pretty happy with it. As the day went on, I realized that it didn't take long to remind my legs of them 368 miles I did across Northern Georgia in the mountains.
When we were almost at Checkpoint 3 we came across some familiar faces, Rob Roberts and Mike Kanning, PiMbar aliases, BLACK OPS.
Rob had a furrowed brow with a look of concern, but was happy to see us as well, whereas Mike Looked frustrated. It wasn't long before they revealed to us that they had not read the passport and had not turned in the required Wooden Nickel before leaving the lot instantly getting a 2 hour penalty. Their race, was in essence a done deal, unless they pulled something BIG off.
We completed the checkpoint and continued onto 3 when I noticed that my head set would not stop klunking.
I stopped to make a repair and noticed that my star fangled nut had folded sideways inside. Luckily with help from Mucaro Mtb dot blog spot dot com and Rob from zero Horsepower, we were able to make a repair and it was literally good as new. I had my tour divide repair kit with me and luckily I did, cause the pliers on my squirt leatherman turned out to be the key item to a successful non bike damaging repair.
Black Ops decided to join the party wagon as it rolled across the beautiful landscape of pisgah forest. For once I actually took the time to site see as I whittled away the miles. For once I actually enjoyed the repeated cool creek crossings, and the conversation and the laughter. I was having a blast.
We popped out on the road, finishing our team trek as Black Ops took off for a potable water refuel and a compost porta potty assisted nature break. We finished off our break and rolled on. It was nice to be on a gravel road and my reawakened TNGA legs were just chomping up the terrain in such a pleasant fashion, that I was once again, caught up in the beauty of my surroundings and sounds of the bike as it crunched away gravel undertire.
As we emerged from a climb there was a respite on the hill, grilled cheese sandwiches and cokes, but by the time I arrived, there was no coke for me, and miffed I insisted we push on.
A screaming fun, team downhill later and Black Ops continued to their business and we split off with Rob and Rich up and up to the next checkpoint.
Again my pace was relentless and persistent and it was sheer pleasure. You have them days where everything just comes together, and I was having one of them days. Sure I wasn't on any kind of level that would of won us the race, but there were small victories going on with me, moment by moment.
Back up we went after another nice downhill... I cant remember what the name of the road is. But I knew it was not a long climb and my rhythm was right. I got my 22 ring up front and started putting in a perfectly balanced tempo. Not too hard, not too soft. Legs moving just right, not spinning, not mashing and started picking up speed.
I Pass Team Rob and Rich. Pass by Mucaro MTB dot blogspot dot com and spend the rest of the climb, with my team mate close behind passing riders all the way up. I have to say, the moment was exquisite for me.
This time when I got to the Grilled cheese spot, I was so hungry that I ate a ton of potato chips and drank lots of water.
We took off to conquer the 7 mile trek up the mountain to pilot rock.
Again, I was really enjoying the climb, gradual enough that I found the perfect tempo in my 22 ring and just flew up there till we got to the point that we had to do an ' all in your face' hike a bike the final 1000 feet.
When we got to the top we scored our fourth checkpoint, and contemplated briefly with the thought of waiting for team Rob and Rich. But I was against it, I know how much effort it took for us to get up there an Rob had been slowing down all day. I wanted to be done before dark, so onward we pushed.
The descent down the treacherous pilot rock took a long time as I carefully picked my way through the technical boulder rock strewn mountainside. Sharp tight, heavily penalizing switchbacks and super long 500 foot rock gardens. How quaint.
I made it to the bottom and without a break I was in the big ring attacking the course. It was time to chase who we could chase an beat who we could beat.
AND the attack was merciless.......
Till I ran out of food and water,........
And then it was a painful slog up pressley gap. Then a slog to the top of black mountain for the final descent. I was so starved all the sudden I was having to take the downhill slow cause I was having trouble focusing my eyes on the terrain.
And then, either my system found a good pocket of body fat to burn or that last bit of peanut m and m's I ate before descending clawhammer took hold, cause I started feeling myself again and was able to really attack the downhill.'
Down to the finish we were chasing team downs, completing our final passes 'Radical Rick style' on the fastest sections of lower black mountain determined to get as many spots forward as we could before the races end.
We crossed the finish line, completing our mission and finishing happy and strong and ready to eat.
That night the celebration was short.
There was more internal celebration going on as I dozed off while watching Ride the Divide on my droid, feeling like a champion for conquering the PiMbar to my level of satisfaction.
Thanks Luis for being such a heck of a team mate and competitor.
The NaKeD InDiaN