Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tour Divide Day 24.

151km. Elk Springs to Single Track.
Total time: 15.5 hours.

I hear JP and the gang roll by around 230am. Seems like it would be nice to ride right now, but I am just not equipped for night riding on anything but pavement.

I go back to sleep and then wake up just before sunrise. I have one thing on my mind, getting to the finish. Antelope Wells.

Antelope Wells. Antelope Wells. Antelope Wells.

I can get there in two days, I know it. I'm rolling with first light. I think back to the last week of my trip across Africa and the song that started each of my last days there.

...It's the *final* countdown!...

My excitement about reaching the end helps me forget my hunger. For a while.

It is hard to spread the calories out and I'm doing the best that I can with my water situation, but I'm still worried. There is a light breeze this morning; just enough to optimize the cooling effect of my perspiration. But I'm losing precious water. I can feel a bead of sweat building ever slowly on my temple. Building. Building. Building. It begins moving almost imperceptably slowly downward. Past the corner of my eye. Over my cheekbone. Hair by hair, down my cheek. By the time that it reaches my jaw, the hot, dry air has taken it away.

Stop fixating, Tori. Just pedal.

I make it to the Beaverhead Ranger station. This is the second, and last, water source until the next services on route. They have a soda machine! It is cold and wet and sweet and it is so good. I buy as much as I can.

The heat continues to build, and now I am climbing. My lips are dry and I lick them. And then I can feel the dry air pass over them as I inhale, taking away the moisture. In two breaths, my lips are parched again. I try closing my mouth to conserve moisture, but it keeps opening in order to take in more air. I lick again. My lips dry. My water is disappearing quickly.

...Thunder bolt of lightning...
...Very very!...

Stop fixating and pedal!

I reach the turn off for a new section of the trail, the Continental Divide Trail Alternate (CDT) at around 4pm. This is a decision point. If I take the CDT, is only 40kms to Silver City. Can I make it with the resources that I have? I know there is some hike-a-bike and singletrack. It will be slow going. It is tempting to make the dash through it, but I am down to my last bottle of water, I have only one granola bar left and my stomach is empty. If something does wrong, I could be in trouble. I feel that it is too risky.

I can take a 18km round trip detour off course to Roberts Lake and hope, *hope* that the store is open so that I can get some food and water. It is Sunday and the fourth of July long weekend. Will it still be open?

I have to try.

I roll into Roberts Lake and, hallelujah, the store is open. I reload. A man named Doug at the Tree House offers me a steak.


If I ever make any suggestions about becoming a vegetarian, I want to take myself back to this moment. Steak tastes good and it is good for me. I can feel it in my blood. I chew on that juicy piece of flesh and its like I can feel it rush through my veins, penetrate my muscles and restore life to my body.

I eventually get back on track and start making my way through the CDT. I miss two turns and lose some precious daylight (despite having a cue sheet AND a GPS). I'm struggling to navigate the singletrack as the light disappears and I am now walking my bike in the dark. Every one of my toes is raw and ringing with the sting of infected friction sores that I have acquired from walking in my hot, manky shoes through the Gila.

I desperately want to make it to the main road, where I know that I can ride the rest of the way to Silver City in the dark. But I know that it will be more efficient to wait until I have daylight to finish this section. It is time to set up camp.

Today's solution becomes tomorrow's problem.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network


Anonymous Fred E. said...

Hi, Tori - I missed responding to my "Tori Fix" yesterday, but you wrote your Day 24 "Picture" so as to more than match your delicious Pie City photo of Day 23. I am glad of your safe Fourth of July finish and can't wait to read that Chapter.

July 6, 2011 at 4:59:00 PM MDT  
Blogger kmaher said...

Tori, I see on the Live Tracker that you have FINISHED!!! Congratulations on accomplishing such a tremendous feat - YOU MADE IT!!!

I can't wait to read more about the exhilaration you must have felt rolling into Antelope Wells, and about completing the Tour Divide after you've had time to reflect on the grueling journey you attacked, endured, enjoyed, and ultimately conquered.

So happy for you.

July 7, 2011 at 10:12:00 AM MDT  

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