Biked this year again, but with a twist. Unsupported. That means no entering any of the check-points. Still have to stop and report in, but no food or drink supplied.
I normally don't stop at the first check-point at mile 37 or so anyway when biking. Things pretty much went as expected to the mid-way point. Then it started to get cold....I wasn't too worried as I had been eating and drinking well. My body heat was keeping the bladder in my camelback from freezing. I had a 2nd bladder being carried on the inside large flap pocket of my jacket which I had went to first as it was more prone to freezing.
The only thing that concerned me were my toes. I had to dropout of the ARU a few years ago at the 2nd check-point in -30 temps due to mild frostbite. This year I had purchased a set of vapor barriers replacing my home-made setup of plastic bags. I also had a new pair of boots. The Salomon Toundra's were a little better rated boots than my Keens. I purchased the largest ones they had, but they still felt just a bit tight even though they have a larger toe box than most.
At the 2nd check-point buddy Christopher was there....I think he offered me some food, which would have disqualified me! We ended up riding together at some point, but he was stronger than me so he took off. Chris has really upped his game and has become a strong rider. Great to see.
I kept mental track of my feet, always making sure I could feel my toes and move them, Walking up some of the large hills reinforced my feeling that things were fine.
I got to the last check point it real good shape, catching a few guys that had been ahead of me most of the race but whom I had rode with at a high rate of speed earlier in the day. They were cold and wet while I wasn't so I forced down a few guu's and water and figuring I had taken in enough calories to finish, took off to tackle the last 25 miles.
With 15 or so miles to go I realized I didn't have enough energy to finish. I was having a tough time keeping a straight line and even toppled over a couple of times so I stopped and got some solid energy in me and finished off the water.
In a few minutes I could feel some strength returning and was riding much better but not with much speed. The three guys from the last check-point caught and passed me.
I started to run on fumes again but I was within 5-7 miles so I just pushed on. Soon I knew I was close and turned the corner to ride the last incline to the finish....I was so smoked I actually quit pedaling a couple of feet before the finish and had to actually pick the bike back up and walk over the line.
They asked if I wanted a picture and I declined, just asking to get me in the building as I was getting very cold as my furnace hadn't burned any fuel for quite a while and with the finish I was losing my mental capability to keep it together.
Sometime about this time Lynn had come out to meet me and we walked in together. We got to the staging area and they wanted to do an equipment check and I had to ask to do it later as I has having a hard time standing. Was getting very dizzy. They agreed and I went up to recover.
I took my boots off and was a bit surprised that both my little toes were black and a 4th on the right foot as well.
I was very concerned until I had a nurse friend looked them over for me. She said it looked like compression frostbite, toes too tight in the boots, and that they should be fine. She was right, even though they got a bit ugly for a couple of weeks.
I had a good race...5th Unsupported category, 12th over-all.
Chris and Helen also did bike unsupported and both got the coveted a' Trois award as well.
A little family time.