Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tour Divide 2012. Day 13 and 14. Meloncholy and obsessions set in.

Day 13 and 14 profile

Day 13. My obsessions begin to thicken.

Many people ask what I thought about while riding. Soooo many things. But I really began obsessing about things. Some things you as a avid reader of this blog may have noticed is cows. But really it would be two main things. 

First song lyrics. 

I was beginning to sing songs quite beautifully but would get the words wrong and sometimes they would then blend into other songs. One in particular was the Take it easy by the Eagles

I had a serious logical feed back loop. I could have sworn that the song went like this. 
7 women on my mind.
2 that want to own me
2 that want to stone me
1 says she's a friend of mine.

But that's only 5 women!!!!
I was like one of the computers on Star Trek..”that is illogical. does not compute..
illogical..illogical..” And my head explodes.. this would repeat into the night down the roads and I would have to sleep.

Second trash on the side of the road. 

I saw so many "Bud Light" cans it was crazy. One cattle guard was literally almost full with them. And I noticed that there always seems to be more cans at the tops of climbs. It's not like I didn't notice other cans and just the bright blue Bud Light ones. So you have to ask yourself, who is drinking Bud Light and why do they feel the need to toss the cans out? This was pervasive all the way on my trek except one section in Montana where there were many coffee cups. I think you could assume a few things. It's light beer so probably overweight people. In the boonies so probably a conservative cowboy. And they don't like a clean landscape. Later on the "Res" there was just a lot of trash. Also in New Mexico, there were many single shot bottles of whiskey along with the Bud Light. 

And with that, here is a American beer joke at about a minute in the following video. 

Day 13 Route
I started moving the morning of my 13th day and took notice of the old ranch that I had camped near that I couldn’t see in the dark of the night. At around 6:30am I reached the metropolis of Hartsel. I thought “hmmm breakfast sounds smashing but nothing is probably open”. So I rode to a café and sure enough it was open! After a nice breakfast of French toast, biscuits and gravy, eggs, coffee, hash browns and toast and a real bathroom, I got going. The best part was that the waitress didn’t look twice when I ordered two meals. The road now I had imagined to be mainly downhill and flat all the way to where I had ridden with Josh “Tiny Dancer” Shifferly a few weeks before. We had done a 2 day, nearly 300mile ride to test out our stuff. It was a little downhill but also had many rollers. The rest of the trail that I had ridden with Tiny Dancer was fine with one good climb but I had no recollection of ever riding it. Soon I was dropping steeply to Salida. I noticed a rider coming up the trail and it was a guy that had ridden up to check me out in my physical form vs a blue dot. We rode to town and I headed to the bike shop. 

My bike was making clunking sounds for days in the left crank, the brakes were still squeaking and rubbing, the front derailleur would over shift and pop the chain off onto the pedals constantly and the back tire was getting really worn. I walked in Absolute Bikes -the guys knew I was on my way and asked what I needed. I said, “uuuummmmm. Back tire bald, squeaky cranks….” They grabbed it and quickly cleaned it up and started to clean the bottom bracket while I got a new tire. I grabbed a tubeless ready Hutchison Python. Pretty fast and light. In my state of brainlessness, I decided to just get some coffee and food in the café next door versus walking around looking for something. It was good food but a little slow and spendy…… and not the caloric values I wanted. I did order an excellent salad, something green in the diet was novel.
I spent far too much time once again eating and hanging out at the bike shop. I came back and my bike was really quite shiny with the tire installed. One of the techs just noticed that the front derailleur didn’t work right. I said oh yeah and the brakes aren’t adjusted right. He tried to adjust the derailleur but noticed that the adjustment screw was stripped. “Lephenhiemer!” The AVID XO brakes should be easily adjustable to widen the gap between the pads. But we noticed that as you adjusted the barrel on the lever the whole mechanism came unscrewed. Ah that’s why they came apart in the snow in Canada and why I hadn’t been able to adjust them! OK squeaky brakes it is. I left town after another long ramble in Safeway for food with some help from some friendly ladies.
It was getting very warm and by Poncha Springs, I was really hot. I stopped in a gas station and washed my shorts in the bathroom, wrung them out and put them back on. Ahhhh cool wet clean shorts. The ride up the highway to Marshal Pass is normally easy for me but as I started to climb the dirt Marshall Pass, I began to lose steam. It was rocky and dusty from the lack of rain and overabundance of ATVs. It was slow going to the top and over the other side to the store at Sargents. I wasn’t feeling super here with a lack of energy and motivation. I sat in the sun and ate and ate. A woman on her way to Telluride stopped to talk for quite some time…… I finally headed down the highway and saw Chris Miller, Eszter’s husband. We talked for a minute and he got a good picture of me.
Coming towards Doyleville
Anne said she wasn’t going to come out and see me - she was superstitious and didn't want to jinx things. I was only going to be 20 miles from home. I guess it bummed me out a bit. I came to Doyleville and the turn to Cochetopa Pass. There was Adam Jensen and a few friends from Gunnison to wave as I went by. It was nice to see them, although Adam was leaving the race. The bearings in his wheels were shot and I think mentally he’d had enough. Too bad, it would have been nice to ride with him more.
At Doyleville. I'm getting sinewy at this point.
I turned up the dirt road feeling better but soon after sunset I lost all energy….. I got the sleepies (term coined by Eszter) and pulled over and slept on the side of the road. I had planned on camping 10-15 miles ahead by Dome Lakes….. For the day I had put in about 133 miles. Hmm I had to start picking it up!

Day 14 Melancholy starts to take root.

"Well, when I get dead drunk, fall in the muddy street, I expect you to come get me 'cause I don't want to die muddy drunk. If I owe a man a hundred dollars, I expect you to stand good for me. And if I get melancholy--which can happen--I expect you to be my companion and to solace me."
Lee Marvin in Paint Your Wagon

Many people when riding by themselves for long periods, tend to start to have problems staying mentally focused. I began to lose some focus and could not tell if my body was losing energy because of the long rides put in every day or that I mentally was starting to lose “interest” or both. I think the past few days I was was a beginning to lose some mental edge and tomorrow would be the worse.I didn't have Clint like Lee Marvin did. I just had Gary my squeaky bike..... But Gary did solace me as well as he could.
Day 14 Route
The dawn broke with another glorious sunrise. I had around 110 miles to the next town of significant size at Del Norte. There wasn’t much water on route so I stopped and filled another water bottle at the inlet to the lakes for 5L total. Yes there was still water in the creek by Dome Lakes but not much. As I repacked, I couldn’t find my money! Did I leave it at the Sargents' store? By camp? I decided to just keep riding and look some more. I climbed over Cochetopa Pass and descended to the beginning of Carnero Pass. I thought Tiny Dancer had told me that this pass wasn’t any big deal on our ride earlier in the summer. But as I started climbing from around 8100’ it seemed to climb for a long time up to 10100’. I quickly descended and found a water bottle from someone ahead of me-probably Serge’s. I passed the turn to La Garita, another possible resupply point, and headed the 15 miles to Del Norte.
Coming into Del Norte in the heat
It began to get very warm here as I had a tail wind and began climbing a small hill in dry rocky country. I pulled into the Del Norte park.  I emptied my bags completely and there was my money! It got stuck under a large Velcro flap..... I grabbed my mail drop at the post office and grabbed a Subway sandwich.
I goofed around for a while oiling my chain and messing with my squeaking brakes and going through my care package. I started to feel better and better. I stopped by the Subway(1)/gas station and grabbed another sandwich and bars and Cheetos(2) and another nice lady stopped to talk to me. A couple of footnotes (except you can’t really do footnotes on a webpage that scrolls forever so we’ll do it here-Damn technology!):

Footnotes (or middle-of-page-notes?)
 (1) If you haven’t noticed Subway sandwich shops are everywhere now days! I really grew to dislike them for some reason after this race….
(2) Later Eszter told me that the guy at the counter said that she had much more food than the guy before her (me). I find this quite unbelievable, therefore, it must be untrue. She is such a liar!

I left town after a long break feeling good. The route climbed slowly up a paved road and then a long steep dirt road to Summitville. For all of you tea partiers wanting smaller government and less regulations, this is a fine example of what happens with no regulations. It was one of the largest Superfund sites around as the mining company had used cyanide to leach gold and other metals from the ore. Of course, the pond they used overflowed….. The metals then got in the water runoff. Most metals are very toxic. Anyway we all spent a ton of money trying to clean this mess up after the mining company left with their gold. Now it looks pretty nice with just on large pit collecting water that drains out of the rocks. 
 The road was very smooth as I passed by at nearly 12,000’ and the sun began to its journey around the earth pulled by Mercury... The sunset was made remarkably red from forest fire smoke somewhere in the distance. This pass was one of those passes that just doesn’t drop down the other side but goes down then up then down then up then down and up. In the dark, I began descending towards the final climb up Stunner Pass. The smooth road turned very rough with large rocks and steep corners. Not fun and it was starting to tire me. Riding at night adds another level of difficulty and without really bright lights I was not moving as fast as I would have liked. I also started getting the sleepies. And then on a fast corner a large buck (male mule deer) jumped out right in front of me and ran across the road. That near miss woke me up enough to climb up Stunner Pass. I decided to stop at the top of the pass for one more cold night as I had had enough for the day……131 miles or so. Tomorrow I would enter New Mexico and the final leg of my adventure.

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