Sunday, June 19, 2011

Tour Divide Day 8.

140km (including food diversion). Basin to Reservoir.
Total time: 12 hours


I woke up to the sound of rain on the tin roof of the motel that I stayed at. I'm not ready for that, yet. Back to sleep for 20 minutes.

I decided to get a semi-early start on the ride, rather than take breakfast at the motel, which the others were planning to do. In addition to Dan, Luke and John, there were two riders, Jackie and Greg, who had arrived around 11pm last night. Descending Fleecer in the dark must have been an adventure!

I liked the idea of a hot meal and a chance to ride with people, but something inside me fears being left behind and I wanted to make sure that I could get some distance so that I would not be alone at the end of the day. I figured that I would clear the first climb, then take hot lunch in Polaris and then figure out an end goal for the day and maybe the others would catch me at that time.

The road to Polaris was paved and beautiful and not busy at all. Beautiful riding up a nice lush valley, a valley that is probably even nicer when it is sunny. Very few cars. The road followed along the Wise River (shown in pic), which was headed in the opposite direction as me. I wondered if it knows something that I don't.

The descent was a dream; long and fast and smooth, clean pavement. It was the kind where you can totally just let the brakes go and carve through the switchbacks and take in the fresh air and scenery. Motley Crue showed up for a surprise concert in my mental amphitheatre.

...(something-something-something) doctor FEELGOOD!
He's the one that makes you feel ALRIGHT!...

Now, *this* is what I'm talking about.

I rolled into Polaris, only to find that there was nothing. So, I back tracked about 6km to the Grasshopper Inn, which was the only sign of life that I'd come across so far. I needed a meal and some supplies and I knew that it could be a while before the next services. I parked my bike out front so that the others would see it as they rode by and sat down for my meal.

A group rode by and didn't stop. I couldn't tell if it was all of them, but I was surprised that they had what they needed for the day. Oh well. As I ate lunch, I sat there looking at the map, looking at the time, thinking about how long it took me to cover very short distances so far. How far could I get today? How far *should* I get today? I called all three of the lodges listed on the ACA map between Polaris and Lima, but no answer. My waitress said that she thought they were all closed for the season. There was a full on civil war in my head.
'If you hurry, you could press on to Lima today'
'You won't make it and you'll end up camping alone in the cold on the mountain'
'This is a holiday'
'This is a race'
'There are mountain lions near lima, you shouldn't ride alone'
'You should take a gamble that one of the lodges along the way will be open'
'You should be camping'

Luke rolled up, eventually. Turns out that he'd been dropped on the climb because his achilles are swollen and giving him grief. He was talking about staying around Polaris for the night to heal up and then carry on tomorrow. Instead, he carried on with me. I had no plan. It just seemed to early to stop.

Luke reminds me of Gabe from the Tour d'Afrique. Warm, chatty, funny. Works at a bike shop. Rides a green Fargo in the biggest size that they come!

Luke and I eventually came across the bikes of the four others (John, Dan, Jackie and Greg) at Cross Ranch (one of the lodges marked on the map but which does not actually operate as a lodge). We walked around but couldn't find them. Instead we found a rancher who told us that they had borrowed his car and driven up ahead on the route for a bite to eat at the reservoir. Wow, talk about hospitality. Four sweaty strangers show up on your property in search of food, and you lend them your car to take to a restaurant? Unreal.

Luke and I carried on with no plan. When we got close to the reservoir, we decided to take a detour and get dinner at the restaurant there. Beats surviving the next 24 hours on gummy bears and beef jerky. We took a hot meal and then found a spot to camp at the reservoir.

Nice camp site. Surrounded by sage. A rather short day, but sleeping low at the reservoir seemed a better alternative to finding something at higher elevation.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network


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