Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tour Divide Day 6.

162km. Lincoln to Basin.
14.5 hours, including 2 hours stopped.

I saw some cool abandoned mining sites and towns along the route today. Man, those guys who survived out here were tough. It is summer and I'm struggling! I had my sweater and rain jacket on all day (granted, it was partly because I sweated so much that my wet sweater was cold without the rain jacket). I am finding it constantly cold here.

I also saw some lovely views (the pic is from the second big descent). That was thanks to the monster load of climbing that I did today. I have no idea how many vertical metres that I covered (because I don't know how to use my gps), but it was a lot!

Side note: it turns out that duct tape is good for a lot of things. As a substitute for a blister bandaid is not one of them.

As I was having lunch in Helena, I felt inertia building. It is the biggest commercial center that I've been through since starting this journey. I felt the town's gravitational pull and it got me thinking about social isolation.

Social isolation is a topic that has come up a few times as I have talked to people about this race; before starting and then also now. I think of it as something that I do well; I am sociable, but I also isolate myself a lot. Part of the reason that I felt compelled and prepared to do this race now was because of the awkwardness that I felt being in the city after coming back from Africa.

But, until today, I don't know that I *really* thought about what social isolation meant and what it means to me in the context of an event like this.

At the surface, I see social isolation as needed private time to process thoughts and listen to oneself. The price that I pay for this is not having someone there to distract me through the tough parts of a ride like this or someone there to help me regain perspective when I inevitably get myself in a rut. I was prepared for that trade off.

And then I was thinking about how some of the riders buy supplies at the grocery store or the convenience store and then eat on the go. Sometimes I eat on the go. But, when I can, I sit in a restaurant where I can get served by a person. And I can see their face and their body language and I can smile and they smile back. And it affects my mood. And I realised how much energy that I draw from people.

And then, at lunch, I was seeing the little thumbnails of pictures that my friend Mike just uploaded to facebook. They were pictures of a big group dinner that we had in Windhoek. And, in many of the pictures, I was laughing. Laughing hard. And, it got me thinking that I wanted to feel that way right *now*.


But I can't.

There are certain things that I can only experience in the company of people. Warm hugs. Gut busting laughs. Intelligent discussion. This is social isolation. It is the absence of certain emotions that make life more complete. It has been only 6 days and I miss these things so much.

I am so glad that I have my blackberry. The support from people by blog, facebook, email has been so meaningful. Mom and Dad, Meriah, Ali and Salima, Carrie, Ruth, Kate, Dallas, Erik, Five Stroke, Timmy, Fred, Bow Cycle, Steve, Cathy, Elizabeth, JP and the Gang, Horst. I may not be responding directly right now, but I'm listening and it is touching me and you can't imagine how much it means to me. Thank you.

Changing the topic, my elevation profiles for the reroutes are totally wrong. Part of me doesn't care because it doesn't change the fact that I have a big hill to climb. But the part of me that is out there pushing my bike for hours up an unexpected and steep pass while calculating and recalculating what time I might arrive in my target destination of Butte.

In time for dinner...

Just before sunset...

Just after sunset...

In the dark...


In the end, there was a town called Basin, about 30km before Butte. The Silver Saddle was just closing when I rolled in (around 9pm), but the chef fried me up some chicken fingers and fries. Definitely a GDMBR friendly town. The waitress noted that I looked cold and mentioned that there was a bed and breakfast a few doors down. So, I am holing up at a bed and breakfast here. Turns out that Paul was here two nights ago, which is cool.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network


Blogger kmaher said...

Tori, I'm a friend following JP on the tour. Elizabeth shared this site and I'm so glad she did. what a terrific blog - you're so open about your experiences and sharing the unique perspective of a woman taking on this epic journey.

love reading about your days and the decisions you're making along the way. I hope you've regained strength after a good nights rest and are ready to attack the trail today.

interesting post on isoloation... I supose experiencing a taste of solitude will make the reunions with friends and family all the richer! Enjoy the peace and serenity of your time in such amazingly beautiful country.

have a great ride today!

June 16, 2011 at 7:35:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Kate Aardal said...

You continue to amaze me with your strength. I recall control points and road crossing as the highlights of my days in Portugal (it usually ment a few exchanges of words with other humans!) needed for my mental health. I can't even start to imagine the kind of isolation u are experiencing and few can, but we try to live it through you and you are so good at painting a picture in our minds. Back home we wimper and cry over the continous rain on the few hours of training rides, we need your positive outlook and energy he he, if we all had your strength !!! Happy riding :)

June 16, 2011 at 4:01:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Bow Cycle said...

Thank you for sharing your adventure and inspiring us to find our own.

June 16, 2011 at 5:24:00 PM MDT  
Anonymous Amy said...

Hi Tori. I'm JP's sister, Amy (also sister to Cathy and Elizabeth's sister-in-law). My sister Gail is Tom's girlfriend (in case Gail has posted a comment, but I didn't notice). Oh, and Fred E's daughter. You sure have a fan base in the Evans family. I always check on your spot along with JP and Tom. You are such an inspiration. I love reading your posts. They are so cool to read. You capture the picture we're hoping to see, and I can live my adventurous side through you. Keep on keepin' on. We're all with you!

June 16, 2011 at 6:59:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Jennifer Joss said...

Tori - Reading your adventures have not only kept me entertained while I ride my desk for a good 7.25 hours each day (government time) but it has inspired me to have the courage to try scary things, to not want to take the easiest route and to turn off the t.v. and think about why I am doing the things I am doing.

P.S. Once you're finished, do come back to civilization, it misses you!

June 16, 2011 at 10:04:00 PM MDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ms. Fahey you never cease to amaze and inspire me - remember "cherish you own emotions and never undervalue them"… some french guy (Robert Henri) Geri G

June 17, 2011 at 9:59:00 AM MDT  
Anonymous Fred E. said...

Been missing you today, Tori. And watching your Tracker, too. Hope all's well over there by the Lake. (JP's Dad, and Cathy's and Amy's an Gail's too...besides Johnny Vince, who may well be watching you from Minnesota now and again.)

June 17, 2011 at 8:30:00 PM MDT  
Anonymous Elizabeth Evans said...

Tori, you're doing great and the whole Evans clan is cheering for you! So glad that JP's sister Gail found your blog, it really helps me understand what JP is experiencing. You have a way of painting a picture with words that makes it REAL. Thank you for taking the time to type updates, your fans are here for you.

Hope you have nice weather and smooth travels tomorrow!


June 17, 2011 at 9:39:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Cindy said...

You are really putting the miles. I saw Crazy Larry the other day. He was talking about you. He is so proud of you. We all are. I love reading your blogs. They are so interesting!! really really interesting.
Hope the days get easier and more comfortable for you. It must be nice to be spending so much time in the mountains.
I hope you meet up with some people you can ride with. If you are faster than them you can always blast ahead and wait for them on the side of the road until you spot them coming around the corner, hop on and speed er up. I mean, that's cool no?
Thinking about you Tori!

June 17, 2011 at 10:04:00 PM MDT  

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