Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tour Divide 2012. Days 11 and 12. Changes in Lattitude and Guest post by Phil and Paul

Day 11 Changes in latitude, changes in attitude.

Route Day 11
I awoke before sunrise feeling just a little guilty about not finding Eszter the night before and maybe wanting some company as I hadn’t talked to anyone in quite some time while riding. I sat up and watched the sun slowly rise over the mountains. I wasn’t in a huge hurry as I thought Eszter might come over the hill sometime soon. I had camped on a high point near Middlewood Hill south of Rawlings, WY. Finally, I pulled my feet out of my sleeping bag. My socks were still on over the tape I had wrapped around my ankles in Butte. My legs had swollen over the last week and I couldn’t get my socks off so I just left them on. Many days as I started riding I could feel my shoes tighten as my feet swelled more. My posterior, as stated before, didn’t have open sores but was sore like it was bruised. My ankles and bum were particularly sore when we hit long stretches of rough road. My rear, legs and ankles also hurt considerably when I pedaled without resistance. For example, if I came up over a hill in a low gear and then coming down the other side if I didn’t shift to a gear where I could push against the pedals with resistance my ass, legs and ankles would protest with sharp pains. My ankles also hurt when trying to stand up to get my stuff packed.Waaaahhh...

My insulin regime was working well enough to keep me moving fast and keeping my blood sugar in a reasonable range of between 100 and 200. I had a 2 or maybe 3 nights on the entire ride where I would have high sugars during the night and morning—250-300 or so. It would quickly drop as I started the day. I think there were a couple of reasons for this. I had started out taking 5-10 units of long acting insulin at night and 10-5 in the morning depending on how high my sugar was at bedtime. I noticed that when I change my activities my body reacts and changes. When I first start training hard, like at the start of biking season, I have a hard time keeping my sugar high the next few days. As my body adapts I can eat less and take more insulin. So as my body adapted to riding all day, it wasn’t needing so much sugar at night. And I needed to take more insulin  at night. I had taken less the first few weeks to avoid lows while sleeping. Another possibility was that I may have eaten a sugary bar too close to bedtime and I hadn’t had enough time to “work it off” so it just went into my blood. 

I took care of business in camp and got on the bike wondering if Eszter had passed me in the early morning. Hmm no tracks. I must be ahead of her still. Eszter has a personality that if you don’t know her can put some people off and endear others. She doesn’t say much and can be taken differently by different people. She had said something that seemed really out of place while we were at the motel in Canmore. As we were getting ready to ride out to Banff, while walking down the hall all of a sudden she burst out loudly, “Someone is having really loud sex in that room.” Josh and I looked at each other and ran to see if we could hear. Nope, Eszter was too loud. We had a good laugh. Josh and I both said at the same time later that when you find out one way or the other that a girl is a screamer that you see her in a different light……

The road dropped and climbed across sage and grass covered hills covered with cows and pronghorn everywhere. Now many people don’t realize that the pronghorn are probably more dangerous than the grizzly but they just can’t see very well (Read this in the voice of the guy in the Dodge Ram truck commercials). Now as I’ve described before, these animals will race along beside you and then cut in front to the other side of the road. Little do most people know that these funny creatures are nearsighted and what they are really trying to do is turn INTO you. Then at their great rate of speed and head down they would stick their prong horns right into you and flip you over their heads. They can do this from simple physics. The 60 mph rate and a 100lb weight gives them the following;
(60miles/hr)*(5280ft/1mile)*(1hr/3600s)*100lbs = 8800 ft*lb/s of force which is equivalent to a charging elephant.*

Luckily for me they can’t judge the distance from their poor eyesight and lack of depth perception from having eyes on the sides of their heads.

As I traveled south in latitude, these menacing beasts would thin and I would not see many more along with the once plentiful snowshoe hares and white tail deer. My skin was drying considerable after leaving the rain and snow of the north. Now my lips were beginning to crack. My nose was also plugged with dried snot and it would not and could not be removed.

The cows also had a completely different attitude to those of the Wyoming basin. As you pass a cow, it will sit very still and as you get close, it will jump and turn. Sometimes it will run along the road or in the road for quite some time. The Wyoming cows jump quite violently like you are going to brand them. These cows now might just stand up and walk a little ways. I stopped at one point and the cows actually walked up to me like I was a long lost friend.

The road dropped and climbed and finally hit a section of paved highway. I passed the “Sandstone Work Center” and continued. Another problem with heading into the south (and especially this year) was that there is not as much water and towns are a long ways apart. I eventually ran out of water as I approached Slater and the turn off to the Brush Mountain Lodge and food and water. A north bound rider passed me in a few miles before and had told me of the great food ahead. I felt like a little kid asking “How much farther is it?” as I slowly climbed the road along a slowly flowing stream and kept looking at the map and my GPS far too often. I eventually decided to get some water from the stream and treat it with some chlorine tablets. Nasty tasting! Finally I got to the lodge where once again Eddie "the photographer" Clark was hanging out with Matt Lee (of the Ride the Divide documentary fame) and his wife and two kids. It was wonderful eating and hanging out (for way too long). I mentioned that I ran out of water and Matt said, “You didn’t get water at the work center?” Mental note--always stop at the work centers for water. After a couple of hours, Eszter showed up. We hung out for a while and I finally got going and started climbing the next big hill.
The road eventually dropped to the store at Clark. I grabbed some ice cream from some kids and got some different food. They had lots of Honey Stinger waffles for a change of pace and I bought a roll of Ritz crackers and a tub of humus for dinner. I also got my usual, Chocolate milk, orange juice, and Frappuccino  drink and gulped them down. The road now followed a nice valley with open grass. About 12 miles, I had to pee. I promptly started back down the highway and missed the small detour on the route. After a few miles, I looked at the GPS. Dope! Back to the dirt road that climbed a hill as it paralleled the highway and rode on to Steamboat. As I came into town and road along the bike path, I caught up to Becky, a pal that had moved there from Gunnison. She was riding the divide section through Colorado to train for the Colorado Trail race. We rode together for a while as the sun went down. After a while, she got tired and I kept going. I, however, started losing steam as I climbed towards Lynx pass and had to stop. I found a wonderfully soft bed of bark under a large pine tree and lay down with no pad and went to sleep. A short day with only about 131 miles, too much time goofing at Brush Mt Lodge!

Shifferly behind me somewhere had to stop at Steamboat with bruised feet. He has had some bad luck with the Tour Divide these last two years and I was sad to see him have to stop. On the drive up we decided his trail name was "Tiny Dancer" as it was his favorite song. So here it is for Josh who does more bike packing than anyone I know....

*I may be completely full of beans here. Fuzzy math as the politicians call it. 

Day 12 Guest post by Phil Ligget and Paul Sherwood!

Day 12 Route

Day 12 Guest post by Phil Ligget and Paul Sherwood!!

Remarkably today I had some friends call some friends and believe it or not we got Phil Ligget and Paul Sherwen of the Tour de France fame to do a guest post from the studio for this day. Enjoy.

Phil Ligget
Paul Sherwen
Phil: Well here we are on the side of the road south of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. And just let me tell you that it is just a spectacular area. 

Paul: Yes Phil, this is the home of Howelsen Hill where in 1914, Carl Howelsen built a ski jump. Today's Olympic tradition continues. 

Phil: Paul, I thought I told you not to talk so much? Common! Yes, now to recap after our 30 minute commercial break, Jarral Ryter, and let me tell you he is something else!, fell asleep under a large tree sometime in the night. He is currently behind six riders with one dropping in Steamboat and passing Eszter-the woman powerhouse yesterday. So he is in seventh place behind the great names of Serge, Adam, and Ollie to name a few. And if he can keep up his pace, he may just be able to catch a few of them.

Paul: Yes, Phil, he is remarkable. He--

Phil: Yes he is. And let me tell you he has that mountain bike background and can really descend with the best of them so he will surely make up time in the general classification. Let’s take a short commercial break…

Commercial; “What does Lance say about the Tour Divide and Jarral, a diabetic, riding it, 5 hour special tonight instead of race coverage….”

Phil: And were back and the main peloton has put on a blistering pace. Jarral has made it to Radium and is waiting for a train to pass at the Colorado River. This is just spectacular country. There is a shot from above of the huge canyon; riders must drop into and cross the Colorado River and then climb back out of. And let me tell you, it is warm down there. The river flows nearly to the Gulf of Mexico after going through the Grand Canyon. And he has crossed the river and is looking for water at a campground.

Paul: I don’t think he’s going to find any, Phil. Campgrounds don’t have water much anymore.

Phil: And right you are. It looks like he is asking some rafters if there is any water spigots. And look, they are shaking their heads but pointing to a large blue jug in their truck. Lucky to get water here Paul. And now he is on his way up a long climb. After the summit, he will come close to the town Kremling where he could resupply. Kremling has had some controversy with its fight with International Falls, MN as being designated the “icebox” of the lower forty eight states of the United States. Everybody knows Gunnison, Colorado holds that title.

Paul: And now with that long climb ahead of him he must be glad that he found some water.

Phil: It is indeed a long climb and it is a HOT climb. Now let’s take a short break to see what Lance had for breakfast this morning.

Commercial; “What does Lance say about the Paleo diet, 5 hour special tonight instead of race coverage….”

Phil: And we’re back. Jarral is climbing like a man possessed. He has climbed to the turn off to Kremling. But you have to wonder if he will pass up this short detour or try to make some time up. And yes it looks like he is going to resupply in Silverthorn on the I70 corridor and pass by Kremling in another 50 odd miles. Just look at his face. He is pure determination. If he does need food and water, his domestics on his team will likely resupply from the team car.

Paul: Phil, there are no domestics or team cars in the Tour Divide. Let’s take a short break.

Commercial break for 15 minutes.

Phil: Here we are with Jarral nearing Ute Pass. And look at Jarral’s eyes. He looks like he is cracking! They are rolling back in his head. He needs to get past the road work where they are grading and spraying magnesium chloride solution on the roads. This is common here as it packs the roads into a cement like surface. He needs to regroup before he heads up the final climb to the top of Ute pass. Oh wait he is laying down at the end of the construction. Is he, yes he’s taking a nap! He has CRACKED! He is down, but let’s see if he can recover.

Commercial break for 25 minutes.

Paul: And he is up. He’s up and pedaling. A little wobbly.

Phil: Yes when you crack you have just pushed too hard. Possibly he didn’t eat enough and or needs more water. He is really struggling over Ute Pass. But he knows if he can get over this and not let the peloton gain on him he has a long descent and then a paved road to Silverthorn. 

Phil: And now it looks like Jarral is still suffering on the road to Silverthorn. Look he is in the river! He is pouring water on his head while he stands in the river! And now it looks like he is going to fill his water from the river.

Paul: Yes he will undoubtedly treat this water.

Phil: And he is really suffering as he is finally coming to a gas station. Here he comes out. Look at him! Have you ever seen anything like that? Both hands full of food and he’s shoving it in faster than I’ve ever seen someone eat. He is really stuffing his face.

Paul: And now just look at the shot from the air of the surrounding area. The trees have just been decimated by the bark beetle. Nearly every tree is dead. 

Phil: Yes, they are. One spark and the whole place will burn. Quite the droughts they have had this year and over the past ten years. Now he must be overwhelmed as he has been riding by himself and now there are cars and people everywhere. 

Paul: And he is now on a narrow bike path for 17 miles to the resort town of Breckenridge. 

Phil: Indeed this path is crowded with recreational road cyclists and grandmas and parents with strollers. It is indeed a sad state for a cyclist to have to ride 17 miles of bike path in this congested city. Let’s take a short break and we’ll be right back.

Commercial, Another 20 minute commercial break featuring the Lance episode described previously.

Phil: And we’re back. The main rider in the field, Jarral Ryter, has been climbing the Col de Como-Boreas pass with exceptional speed as we see the sun setting over the majestic Colorado mountains. He really seems to have recovered from his difficulties earlier and has dug deep and really pushed hard to put some distance in. 

Coming down the other side he will have to contend with a single track trail that at night can be tricky with a multitude of rocks. But other than that, it should be fast as he is a very good at descending and has an excellent mountain biking background.

And now it looks like he is at the bottom and he is going right past the Como hotel and is going to camp next to the road several miles past. This is remarkable as he could have had a nice place to stay as the light was on.

This is indeed a tremendous occasion, this Tour Divide , let’s see if we can catch up with Jarral for a post stage interview.

Jarral, how do you feel about your stage win and how did it feel?

Jarral: Today's stage was a hard stage and very hot as I came to Ute Pass. I was really suffering and had run out of water and then I bonked. I rallied on the bike path and had some ice cream and a triple shot mocha latte in Breck that started me up again. I felt good coming up Boreas Pass and put the hammer down. The single track section was tough at night with packs on but I got through it. I was having some interesting visions as lights seem to come on and follow me as I got close to the town of Como. Very unnerving. I finally had enough and found a nice spot by an old ranch under some trees and went to sleep. For the day I rode about 140 miles. We'll see how tomorrow goes. We've still got another 1000 miles or so to go in the rugged mountains of southern Colorado and New Mexico followed by the heat of southern New Mexico.

Phil: Well, thanks for tuning in and we'll be back tomorrow for a 5 hour special on Lance. Did he or didn't he maybe possibly use performance enhancing substances?

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