|Don't tread on me! Image by Tony McGrane|
I made it to the checkpoint with an hour and a half in the bank. I didn't really want to waste that, so I went about my business and refilled bottles, one with ice in it. Thanks to Skratch Labs nutrition I had some of their drink mix powder in all of my bottles save for one. I have to give them a shout out, as well as Culligan Water, for being sponsors of Odin's Revenge and providing the things we could not get for ourselves out here in the wide open prairies. With some grapes available in a cooler there, which slid down real well, I might add, I was topped off and ready to move out. Jeremy was busy doing some last minute maintenance, so he waved us on and said he would catch up. So Tony, Scott, and myself went out from the Checkpoint #1 just behind John on his Carbon Beargrease.
The very first thing we hit was a down hill run into a deeply cut in minimum maintenance road, (MMR), and the silt at the bottom was very deep. John was in the "good line", so I tried left of him, since I was not planning on using the brakes and was coming up fast from behind. Then I hit some really deep fluff, got slowed waaaaay down, and then pitched sideways, almost taking out Tony, who was coming from behind on the right. John kept it upright, but when he hit the powder, the dust flew up into the air almost totally obscuring him for a moment. Dang ninja cyclists anyway!
|That's me in front kicking up dust. Image by Wally Kilburg|
Well, that was enough excitement for me! However; we were about to find out that we had other types of excitement coming. Like getting lost! Tony was out front, but apparently had lost his cues. We could follow tracks rather easily, since the gravel was so deep, sandy, and loose, but somehow or another Tony got snookered into going straight when we should have turned left. Scott blithely followed along, and I was slightly off the back, since the corner was at the top of a climb, and I was fading a bit in the now blinding Sun. I remember checking the road sign, because I was not paying attention to the cues, but I was trying to remember signs I saw in case I had gotten dropped. That way I could reconnoiter the landscape and figure out where I was on the cues in relation to the signs I had last seen. Thankfully, I never had to do that. However; it became apparent after about two miles that we'd been on the wrong track. Scott figured out we needed to go back, and I suggested we go look at the sign I saw last. At least it wasn't hilly! (That alone should have clued us in that we weren't on course!)
As we turned around, I finally realized that this was why Jeremy had not rejoined us yet. He was probably up the road wondering why he wasn't finding us. Just about then, Scott turned and looked over his shoulder at me and said that he had just gotten word from Jeremy and that he was waiting for us up the road. We found the intersection and made the turn back onto the proper course. It wasn't too long afterward that we came upon Jeremy sitting alongside the road waiting for us. With that figured out, we went on our way.
Now about this time I was starting to feel cooked. It wasn't the heat so much as it was I was just getting weaker and slower as a result. I was trying to drink, and trying to eat, but I was getting the "drowsies" and that is always a sign I am about to bonk hard. Not good!
|It seems like a scene from rural France, but it's in "flyover" country. Image courtesy of Wally Kilburg.|
|This is what I come back for year after year. Odin's is just fantastic from a scenery standpoint, as well as being super tough! Image by Wally Kilburg.|
|Many of the roads were dirt, and of such a light color that seeing contrasts was nearly impossible. Note the deep silt.|
Once Jeremy caught back on it was a long, steadily steepening climb out of that river valley and into the heat. It was around 2:00pm and we had till 3:00pm to reach a small village where the second checkpoint was located. I had to stop for a bit and I told the guys I was getting drowsy. Tony offered me a Stacker energy shot, and that did the trick. I was feeling alert, but my body was still not working through this well. It wasn't like the DK200 where I was able to fight through the down spots. It just kept getting worse.
Next: Dirt Nap