Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tour Divide Day 16.

172km. Stagecoach Park to Silverthorne.
Total time: 14 hours.

Bivying is becoming more pleasant as the weather continues to warm up, though, without my poles, condensation continues to be a issue.

Every day brings something epic; snow, climbing, winds, distance, cold rain, rough descents. Today it was the flooding. After clearing Lynx Pass, I encountered a stream that had become a river (see pic). This is where I caught up with my bivy-mates from last night; John, Dan, Luke and Markley. They had found a 'shallow' path to safely cross; shallow meaning high enough to get my chamois wet! It was an adventure getting across while keeping my 50+ pound rig out of the raging current.

Today brought a lot of sunshine and great views. But for a little hiccup with my hydration, it was a spectacular ride; a good mix of hard and fun.

As each day passes, this journey south is becoming more enjoyable. I don't know if it is the improvement in the weather, the fact the I am no longer feeling socially isolated, being past the half way mark (and on the countdown!), or something else.

That 'something else' might be finding my pace. I've never taken part in a race like this. That is, one in which the clock never stops. It really plays with my head, even as I try to resist it. I think every day about how fast and long I should go. I must make a choice between going as far as I can and going as far as I should. For me, these are not the same thing. Balancing physical exertion and mental exertion is really hard, especially when there are factors outside of my control (weather, terrain, availability of services, etc). Maintaining motivation is so important and pushing too hard wears on the mind and my motivation. Finishing the day with energy left leaves me feeling guilty. I feel like holding back a bit can extend my reach on this trip, but that requires resisting the temptation to push my physical limits and it requires coaching myself not to feel guilty about 'having something left'.

I also struggle with my attachment to the group that I have found myself with over the past week. I may be riding alone for almost the entire day, but the company in the morning, at stops and at night has made such a difference for me and helped me to rebuild my mental strength. But this is supposed to be a solo trip, right? Or maybe having friends along the way is one of the perks of taking part in the Grand Depart? Other than giving me some emotional support, how is this social opportunity affecting my performance in the race? Am I clinging to the social opportunities at the expense of my potential? Or do I owe my performance to the social support?

Tonight I have taken a hotel in Silverthorne; I need to wash and rest well as tomorrow is another big day (I guess that they all are). I have taken a different hotel than my recently acquired friends. I am considering taking off on my own early tomorrow morning...earlier than I think that the other riders will leave. I want break free and get some answers to my questions. I'm scared that I will fall into the tough times that I had during the first week of the trip; before I picked up these friends. But I think that it is the right thing to do. Perhaps we will still end up at the same place at the end of the day. It will be interesting to see.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

6 Comments:

Blogger martin_h said...

Love reading for blog. A true insight into what it takes to race the TD.

Good luck with breaking free

June 26, 2011 at 12:38:00 AM MDT  
Anonymous JP's Dad said...

Hello from California, Tori. There is a wonderful freedom to being alone....and at the same time....as in the distance....knowing that we are not.

June 26, 2011 at 1:23:00 AM MDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, that's my dad! Our whole family has been reading your blog as we track JP and Tom. Your insights into all the things going on in your head and how you are trying to balance them are so compelling and you write about them so beautifully. Quite the feat when so much of your energy has to be spent on the ride. I saw the photos of you from Brush Mountain Lodge - that must be one magical place as everyone who passes through there looks so energized when Kirsten catches them on camera. You were glowing!
-Cathy

June 26, 2011 at 12:50:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Big Bad Wolf said...

Go for it Tori. From a Belgian follower.

June 26, 2011 at 1:50:00 PM MDT  
Blogger BikingBakke said...

It also might be that 20 years later you won't even remember how many days it took, but that you'd remember the faces and the camps and stories. I know it's a race but even for me saying fast is fun most of the time, I'm not sure feeling the gun to the head 24/7 on this one is what it's all about.

June 26, 2011 at 2:26:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Jill Homer said...

Hi Tori,

I've been following your trip since I discovered your blog. I'm amazed at the depth and coherence of your posts. I remember in the later days of the 2009 Tour Divide, I felt abnormally intelligent when I was still able to string full sentences together at the end of the day.

In 2009, I wrestled with many of the same desires that you're processing. I too really wanted the open reflection of a solo ride but also found myself at times unbearably lonely and wishing for company. I was lucky to find a friend to ride with for the first week through Montana, and I was alone the rest of the race. Now, two years later, I find myself valuing my solo time the most, especially the times where I was really forced to face my weaknesses and fears. I think you'll find what you're looking for. And thanks for the pictures/blog. This is a fantastic record.

June 27, 2011 at 11:11:00 AM MDT  

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