Today was a long one. I got up and was on bike at 5 then rode until 11pm. I covered about 80 miles which may not seem like much for that long in the saddle, but with a 50lb bike it wasn’t easy. Overall I am really pleased with how things are shifting. The fatigue from food poisoning has finally passed and I’m getting stronger every every. All the training I did to prepare for this event is finally starting to show. On day 2 I was feeling really demoralized thinking I’d not be able to finish, but now I can see that was just feeling bad from having not eaten for days when I was sick.
Unfortunately, today started out with mechanical issues. My tire was flat when I started out and it is no holding air for more than 30 minutes. Only option was to change the tube yet again. Luckily yesterday I ran across someone abandoning and they offered me a brand new tube. While this isn’t strictly within the rules of being self supported, I took it. I really, really want to finish this event and there is absolutely no way I can do that on a flat tire. Adding to injury, I discovered that the rear derailleur hanger was broken when I was changing the tire. I have not crashed hard on this bike once. I’m 100% sure the hanger broke when race staff were loading bikes into the trucks for travel to Talas. I saw them knock over a few bikes by mistake, mine included. Normally I wouldn’t think this a huge deal, but my bike was fully loaded with gear and water. The weight was over 50lbs so it hit really hard. My guess is that the hanger cracked and then finally gave out when I pulled off the wheel. Luckily I brought a spare hanger with me.
Today started off with a beautiful climb. I was greeted part of the way up by some horses while I was refilling my water at a creek. Then I ran into the kids I mentioned in a previous post about a little photo shoot. Once over the climb there was a long decent. I lost my down jacket on the decent and got so lucky when when another rider picked it up for me. Otherwise I would have had several miles of hiking back up to find it. The temperature extremes on this ride are crazy. Over the top of today’s climb, I needed my down jacket and gloves, but when I got to the bottom on the other side it was over 100 deg F.
From the bottom we had one more long, long 70 mile climb to do before we hit the final decent to CP1. The climb appeared to be very gradual, more of a false flat than a climb, which was good for me because I’m big and roll well on the flats. My goal today was to get to about 10,000 ft today. Then tomorrow I would finish the climb and do the long decent to CP1. I got to about 8,700ft at 11pm and called it quits for the day.
The resupply stops on this loop are typically little stores. Some are stocked with a lot of dry goods. The most common foods to get are soda, ramen, chips and snickers. Also I’ve been seeing watermelons. It was a long hot day and I split a watermelon with another rider. It wasn’t the best watermelon I’ve had here, but it was still pretty awesome.