Friday, October 19, 2018

Arrowhead 2018

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.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

December 2018 Winter Breakout #1

With Tuscobia in the books and Arrowhead 4 weeks away, Lynn and I decided to hookup the trailer and head for warmer digs for a couple of weeks before Arrowhead.
I decided the fastest way to warmer temps was to head straight south so Mississippi was decided. Only thing real mtn biking looked available but a quick search using a few of the APPs I use (MTB Project by REI, Singletracks, where I've been keeping a record of all new rides, and Trailforks) showed some good potential in Huntsville, AL.
With Huntsville the main goal we started off. We wanted to travel as many miles as we could but still take in some of the local flavor. We stayed over night in Wal-Mart parking lots, waysides, truck stops, etc.

Vandalia, IL

Paducah, KY was a pleasant surprise. We rolled into town late afternoon and after heading into the heart of town, discovered a large parking lot. We parked, walked around some and had some dinner. When I asked the manager of the restaurant we ate at about parking downtown, she didn't seem to thing it would be an issue. With it being Janurary there we were about the only one parked there anyway. No issues and we were setup nicely for the morning. After breakfast in the trailer, we walked around looking at the history of the area and the city depicted on the murals that also served as the flood wall of the Ohio River. Got in some biking along the river.
We really enjoyed our short stay here.

 An example of the murals.

Lynn allowed me an hour or so ride on the Land Between the Lakes singletrack. My first ride on the new (to me) Trek FUEL EX8 that I bought from Pine Mountain Sports bike shop on Bend. No regrets!!!!
A little moist but a nice ride. A place I'd like to come back to with more time.

Then on to Nashville. We were able to park free at Nissan Stadium, Lot A, during the day and just walk over the pedestrian bridge into downtown. At night we pulled out and found a Wal-Mart or similar.

Replica of the Parthenon. Interesting building, art gallery.

 Reflection of the bridge on Shelby Ave. over the Cumberland River walking back across the pedestrian bridge.

And of course lots of music....every bar, free but tipping is allowed. ;-)

And of course cowboy boots....Lynn was in her glory.

Then on to the target...Huntsville and the Monte Sano State Park trails. It was cold and wet....temps in the teens and snow.
Rocky trails, good stuff. The trailer worked out great parked at the top of the mt.


Yes, that is the trail.

A number of brew pubs in town, as well.

Forecast was for snow and cold so  we headed south. Got to Montgomery and hung out. Lots to see and do.

Nice warm cookies for a cool day.

Hummmm......coulda stayed in WI for this.

We hung out for a couple of days in Montgomery then drove north to Grenada, MS where we camped for a couple of days on a reservoir and I looked up an old friend at the papermill I used to call on. Got in some urban biking while Lynn poked around the shops.
We found a place to store/park the trailer for a month as we headed home for the Arrowhead.