Tracey, our dogz (Rippin and Chillin), and I just came back from a road trip where we incorporated an event, The Stagecoach 400. For us this IS a lifestyle, all of our time off is revolved around some kind of bike infused trip. This particular trip was something I been looking forward to for a few reasons. Tracey and I live pretty busy lives and it is nice just to hang out without all the other surrounding distractions. It was also the first time we took the boyz on a extended road trip and they did awesome. For Tracey it was a trip that was going to help her prepare as she is getting ready for the Tour Divide. And for me it was a trip to get through some withdraw I have been going through, craving alone time, in a bike packing race, on a new trail, in a new place. So the trip to Cali was a blast and I am some what satisfied for a while, a little while... So, how did the race go?
The race went well. Sure, I was the first one to cross the finish line in just under 50 hours with no sleep but I don't really measure my success/experince by placement. I rather reflect and think about how I felt physically, mentally, how I actually played the game, and what can I learn from it. I look at this type of racing as a game because it is not the fittest person that is going to win, it's how you play and make decisions on every other aspect of multi day trail life. When, Where, What to eat? When, where to stop/rest? How to manage your sleep? Navigation? How and what to do to keep the maintenance up on not only your bike but your body. There are other things too and all these decisions will effect the outcome. I also believe these decisions are made best from previous experiences.
What did I think about the route? I thought the route was awesome. There was so much varying terrain. Mountains, desert, city, urban, suburban, 2-track, surprising amount of single track, little bit of pavement, some hike-a-bike, did I miss something...The route is much different then most other bike packing routes out there and the other nice thing was each section of trail was just long enough before you got sick of it and before you knew it you would be in new landscape on a different type of trail. It seems as if I got to do all the great parts in the night, like all the single track out of the Stagecoach RV Park to Alpine.
Route finding - Had a GPS track that seemed to be spot on and had some cue sheets that I would reference and then confuse me at times. There were tons of turns and I would often over shoot them. I had one incident where I was getting confused between the track and the notes. It was on route 79, looking for a left hand turn. I went up and down this crazy traffic sketchy pass more then numerous times, all the way up and all the way back down. I easily wasted up to 3 hours! I will blame this on my clarity of thinking, it was the second night of no sleep. This was the same time I found myself in a fruit orchard, not where I was suppose to be, and ended up with a short length of stick and 3 pricks in my front tire. I shook my head broke the stick from the pricks and rallied on with the pricks in the tire. Never ended up with a flat!
Another note to the route was a re-route that never effected me. At the start, as I was leading I was approaching a man mumbling something to the effect of "private property", I somewhat gave him the hand and kept saying "what, what" and flew by him. Others gave him the time of day and stopped and ended up with some re-route. And since I didnt really know about it and it was the same trail we had to return on I think it is funny that I went up that same private road and never encountered a problem. My wife wasnt so lucky...
|Hmmm, private property....|
Speaking of SPOT's. Here is a little opinion I have. I think it is awesome to carry SPOT devices to help keep the honest, honest, and for some home entertainment. What I don't think is awesome is when the riders are carrying I-Phones and looking at Trackleaders to see where there nearest competitor is. Shame, shame on you guys. We should all be making decisions on are own intuition and unknowns not making decisions through technology. As a leader never looking back I could have easily taken a nap knowing the next competitor was 50 miles back but I had no idea. So, I am glad my SPOT did not work the last day cause if the others would of seen me floundering around that night they might have seen how close they really got.
The gear I brought. No secrets here, just a bit of clothing which at night I wore absolutely everything I had and some personal hygiene stuff along with a repair kit. I have learned to bring rain gear, both jacket and pants, on every single trip I do. This is what I rely on when I get cold, I think of rain gear as a functional bivy sak. If need be I could take a short sleep before becoming uncomfortable, which means it's time to go anyway.
|These guys were hammering, for a little while, and I thank them!|
|Very, very distracting to me....|
|It was a beautiful morning of climbing!|
Watching the sun come up on the second morning was truly amazing and a time remembered. Peddling back through some familiar terrain was a welcoming sight as I reflected on the blur of the last 48 hours. As a paranoid leader I kept looking back but to see nobody, I stopped at one last little store for some microwave meals which was enough to recharge me for the last 24 miles. The rush of energy I got from being so close to the finish combined with the sugar rush I was able to pretty much stand up and power through the last climbs like it was the first day. It was an awesome way to finish and I was very happy with my performance and the way my body held up.
|Just finished. Thanks Hub Cycles, Brendan and Mary.|