Sunday, June 12, 2011

Tour Divide Day 3

130km. Eureka to Columbia Falls.
13.5 hours total time, including a lot of stopping.

I don't like to dwell on negative feelings, but I wouldn't be painting an honest picture of my experience today if I didn't.

I really suffered today.

I woke up soaked in sweat. Resting heart rate of just over 100bpm. Chills. I painfully liberated some of the demons from my chest, then put on all of my dry clothes. Thermal socks, shoes, winter booties, double chamois, leg warmers, jersey, thick wool hoodie, rain jacket, winter gloves, hat. Still cold.

I considered a late start. Or no start. It would be more than 100km and a high passes before the next services. I wasn't sure that I could make it, but I was so cold that I decided I was better to be moving. I also figured that Whitefish would be a more suitable place to rest up, if I couldn't shake this illness.

I rolled out at first light again. Starting early would give me a higher probability of finishing. It wasn't long before Kenny Rogers' The Gambler popped into my head. Despite its rather upbeat melody, the ominous message made the song unwelcome. I searched my mental playlist for something different, but this one kept coming back.

Spending this much time alone on the bike gives one an opportunity to think about a lot of things. Maybe too much time. I had a conversation with myself about failure. Expectations and failure. Expectations kill happiness. Will I fail at this? What is failure on this ride? Why am I so weak? I want to be stronger! Why is this so hard?

Tori! Why are you crying? This is so inefficient. You need those fluids. And, anyhow, it is hard to see the road when your eyes are all welled up. Quit feeling sorry for yourself. Snap out of it.

I needed to regroup; to get my mind, my body, my heart, and my ego realigned. Hey, Ego! What are you doing here? I thought that I left you to die at the side of the road in Ethiopia. Get out of here!

I looked for peace in the beauty around me. The sound of the run off falling down the mountain. The smell of pine needles and rain soaked soil. The vibrant greens of the forest.

I finally warmed up at around hour 5 and my spirits lifted. That is about when the hike-a-bike started. This hike-a-bike can only be described as EPIC. Unrideable snow. And it just went on. And on. And on. Jesus, you cannot imagine. At least I am pretty good at pushing my bike. One foot in front of the other. Just keep moving. It took hours.

Some of the snow was like ice and required full body weight behind the bike to push it over ruts. Other parts were slushy and wet and very cold on the feet. I didn't measure the time or distance. I didn't anticipate that the reroute could have this much snow on it.

The sky couldn't decide whether it was sunny and hot or cold and rainy. I was glad that it was not just cold and rainy. And the extreme changes gave me a chance to eat and drink regularly as I changed layers.

The elevation profile that I had pasted on my cue sheet showed two passes; the second one higher than the first. I started to get nervous about my food and water supply. And daylight. The second pass would probably take even longer than the first. Could I make it today? Would I need to camp in the snow?

I just kept plugging along. Fortunately, I had pasted the wrong elevation profile and I was delighted when the snow stopped suddenly and the road just went down and down and down into Whitefish.

I rolled into Columbia Falls and decided to have a good hot meal while I decided whether to continue on to Ferndale, which would be another 30 miles or so. It felt so nice to sit and eat my first real meal of the day. Four other riders rolled in and sat with me; JP, Tom and two others whose names I cannot remember (but one is friends with Craig Stappler). JP said that the hike-a-bike was 16km and took him about 6 hours, just to give you a sense of the epicness of the thing.

I decided to be nice to my body and stay in Columbia Falls for the night. Just getting here was an achievement.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network


Blogger Emma said...

All and all the world keeps turnin'
Don't you know we got somethin' burnin'...
Somethin' burnin'
You are bound to feel it
And you won't get left behind
Something burning so deep
Through your body and mind
If I ever come this way again
I'll burn a trail to Hell and back

From me, and Kenny.

June 12, 2011 at 11:08:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Emma said...

Oh, wait, that's not Kenny's version. Still. Still.

June 12, 2011 at 11:23:00 PM MDT  
Blogger BikingBakke said...

Tori just pace as you see fit. You have a budget that adequately covers Montana hotels or truck stops or whatever. And a long way to go. Once your metabolism gets all fired up again it'll beat back a cold very effectively. One day slower might make a week more of smiles out there - perhaps not the fastest way, but fast perhaps isn't the underlying goal as much as enjoying it all.

June 13, 2011 at 8:49:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Dallas said...

" I believe that if someone starts out on a challenging activity, completely confident that they're going to succeed, why bother starting ? It's not much of a challenge. "
- Sir Edmund Hillary

June 13, 2011 at 12:32:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Kate Aardal said...

You can fight your mind and get stronger, but for strong people, like you, the body only speaks when it matters, so listen to it, it's your engine to the end but not completely without some tlc :)
You are doing amazing and thanks for letting us at home experience this epic ride through you!

June 13, 2011 at 4:24:00 PM MDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Tori! I'm JP Evans' sister Cathy and I'm enjoying your blog! The two other riders you dined with besides JP and Tom Sap were probably Ray Porter and Martin Wimpenny.

June 14, 2011 at 3:53:00 PM MDT  
Anonymous JP Evans said...

Hope you are feeling good out there Tori! The 4 of us wish you well from Butte!
Cheers! JP

June 15, 2011 at 8:17:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Cindy said...

Sounds like a tough day. I can't believe I was just complaining about how 'exhausted' I was from sitting in front of a computer working on my office body.
Keep churning partner.. soon you will smell tacos!

June 17, 2011 at 9:39:00 PM MDT  

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