Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tour Divide Day 23.

122km. Pie Town to Elk Springs.
Total time: 11.5 hours.

Waking up on a piece of cardboard in a room that I don't know, this is the first morning that I'm not immediately and keenly aware of where I am and what I am doing there. The confusion quickly disappears as Rob, another Divider, rustles about in the next room mustering something about Uncle Fester, a saddle sore that has plagued him on this journey. Smile. This guy is a character.

I quickly gather my things and head over to the pie shop for breakfast. Pie a la mode, first thing in the morning. Now *there's* something to look forward to. I'm still waiting for the Pussy Wagon to role up, but I settle for an older dude in a big blue tow truck. I'm still not entirely convinced that this place is real and not the setting of Kill Bill 3.

Pie town is like the Yukon of the south. It seems like the place where people go if they don't want to be part of the system. Not in the Montana way, where people go there when they don't want to be part of *any* system. More like...they just have a different idea about how life should be and have set up their own system. I can appreciate that; I haven't exactly been a devout follower of the system.

I'm preoccupied now with preparing for the day(s) ahead. If yesterday was any indication, it is going to be stinking hot out there. I should have left a couple of hours ago to get some distance in before the furnace turns on, but I need food for the next unserviced stretch of mayhem and the pie shop, which didn't open until 730am, is my load up point. Service here is friendly, but not exactly operating at a race pace.

JP and the gang show up, just as I am heading out. Right on.

It will be 176 miles until the next service point. Loading up on water and food for a stretch of this length is tough. I try to remind myself to convert to kilometres in order to avoid underestimating my needs. Miles are handy for keeping the numbers, but they are deceiving if you are used to operating in kilometres.

Do you know how much food and water you need for 270 kilometres in the New Mexico desert during a heat wave?

Me neither.

I take everything that I can fit on my bike, which isn't as much as I would like. I try to think of how to make more space, but the fact is that there is not much space and I need and use everything that I am carrying on a daily basis. I jam calories and water in every nook that I can find.

I'm slow today. My legs are tired from the last couple of big days (make that the last 22 big days) and I've noticed some blood in my urine, the probable cause of which is causing me some grief on the washboarded dirt road.

My situation is further complicated as my front derailleur seizes up, leaving me with the use of only my granny ring. I try to access my tools to do a fix, but the zipper on my tool pouch is stuffed, trapping my tools inside. I contemplate cutting it open with my leatherman, which is (fortunately) in a separate bag, but I decide to leave it for now as my legs are not putting out enough power to use my bigger gears, anyway. The fast guys are doing this on single speeds anyway...maybe this will make me faster!

I'm taking in water like a sponge. No rationing. I come across one of the two reliable water sources on this stretch and refill with some spring water. I have a mix of fascination and fear with natural water sources. I think of the places that boast the healing powers of spring water. Maybe it will be magic. Then I see some cows and I think of the gastrointestinal trauma that I experienced in Africa. I can treat it, but I am never quite confident with that. Magic or misery, I can't afford to go along without water. I take as much as I can.

By late afternoon, I'm already thinking about how this water will last until the next water source, which will probably come some time early tomorrow. I encounter some Jehovah's Witnesses and graciously accept some water and some gospel from them.

I stopped with much less distance than I'd hoped, but I went until the light ran out and simultaneously happened upon a great camp spot. My bike is fixed now (mostly).

My stomach is unsatisfied as I go to bed tonight and I'm running through the inventory of calories remaining in my arsenal. It is not a good situation. How did I think that I had enough? Shit. Even skimping on dinner tonight, I don't have enough to get me through a full day tomorrow in the best of scenarios. I will need to go off course tomorrow to restock. Just making it to the restock could be a challenge.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network


Blogger kcab20 said...

Are you kidding about the Jehovah's witnesses or were you maybe having hallucinations? What were they doing in the middle of the Gila??? Did anyone else see them???

CONGRATS on an AMAZING finish!!! I guess it's weird that I am still reading this even though I know you are finished - but I like hearing your version of the story! Hope you are getting some AWESOME rest!!!

July 5, 2011 at 7:32:00 PM MDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm feeling a lot better about you running low on food knowing that you finished...and had a crew there to meet you! Looking forward with just a little suspense to the next report!

July 5, 2011 at 8:59:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Big Bad Wolf said...

Just heard from G.Evans that you finished the race. Awesome !

July 6, 2011 at 2:00:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Andybmg said...

tory - i just discovered your blog - god i miss you and INSEAD trips in some random order :) - i am leaving for a boring holiday (compared to your life) in South of Spain
talk soon

July 6, 2011 at 3:09:00 AM MDT  

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