|Big Sky Country|
Part 2 is HERE.
It's All In A Name: I got to my business right away as soon as we arrived at the Checkpoint. It was a good feeling to be sitting where I was, probably mid-pack, and having gotten there in a good time. I was supported in that feeling after more riders started appearing and I saw who they were. Maybe I was getting a bit too overconfident, but I felt I had a good chance of at least holding my position. Time would tell on that one.
Now I've been a part of enough events, read enough recaps, and talked with enough folks to know a thing or two about how to go about doing a checkpoint stop well. Get your business done and ride out with riders that you feel will be an asset to you. I had ridden out to the checkpoint mostly with one other rider. Craig on the single speed Tomaselli. He was a strong rider, a great person to chat up, and had a really good, positive attitude. I saw that he was about to set sail, and I didn't want to miss being able to continue on with him. I wasn't completely ready to go, but I hurried up and jumped on the Fargo and set off after him.
|Government Pocket Road|
Well, I put a little more "oomph" into my pedal stroke and aimed to get back up there with Craig and this other fellow. I was still feeling pretty good at this point, so a little extra effort was okay with me.
I caught up on a long section, but then had to back off on the difficult, steep Hanson Hill Road, and that was about it for me. Something happened along about this time and I was feeling less power, my legs were fatigued, and my gut was bloated. Well, I wasn't very stoked about this, needless to say. In fact, I was concerned and maybe a bit angry. A turn on "Effenbeck Road" had me smiling though. I think I actually laughed out loud when I saw the sign. I don't suppose Mr. Beck, whomever he once was, would have appreciated the humor that I found in the imagined malediction.
|"Moar Gubbmint Pocket"|
Now what I did next, I wouldn't recommend as typical race protocol, or even what you might want to do for a casual ride. I took off my clothes and sat naked in the grass. I kind of felt it was a way to not only mentally shed my previous aspirations, but to kind of physically experience it. Well, whatever you may think, it worked for me. I saw my event now as an adventure, and now I would see how far I could go.
As I emerged from the shadows, (yes- fully clothed!), I heard a group coming by. It was MW and his riding partners. MW caught my eyes as he went by and a swift smile and nod was noted. Then they were gone up the road. I slowly got wheeling again, and I was no better off physically than when I stopped, but I was definitely better off. It was going to be tough to find a pace, but I think I did there for a bit. Then I came up upon MW and Company as they were stopped in a shady area. I decided to pull off and chat for a second, then I took off again.
|Miles of twisty gravel here!|
While this road was fun, it really kicked me in the jimmy too. I was suffering like a dog, but I kept turning over the pedals. I came upon another lonely Fargo rider, and we didn't exchange words. I looked over and saw that he was suffering as badly as I was, and nothing more need be said.
Eventually Government Pocket Road ended, and I found myself on some flattish, twisty-turny gravel road. I do not remember how it came to be, but around about this point the MW crew came by and we rode to the second checkpoint together for the most part. It was good to have folks to ride with, and I met Noah and Elizabeth, who were MW's traveling companions. Riding with these folks sort of "woke me up", I guess. I felt pretty good, and the speeds were up again. But......it wasn't hilly through here either.
|MW at Checkpoint #2|
Finally it came- Checkpoint #2. Right across the road was Potter's Pasture. I had not been here since 2009. It was kind of cool to see the cow tagged trail markers once again. As I rolled in, a volunteer quickly stepped up to aid me and held my bike. Then he asked if I needed my bottles filled. Really awesome stuff and the checkpoints, (the first and second), had so much water at them I never even thought to get my drop bag. Impressive!
I decided to really slow it down here. I had absolutely zero knowledge of what time it was and I did not want to know. I grabbed some salty chips and one of my bottles, headed to a lawn chair in the shade, and just relaxed. My legs were hurting badly, I was wobbly, and felt dead, but I wasn't done just yet.
Stay tuned for Part 3 tomorrow......