|Somewhere north of Duluth, Mn|
In order to avoid serious alone time I sent out about 15 invites for the ride, but previous commitments left me with no takers. Fine! Riding alone can be good practice in keeping the demons down. As it turns out, I never really was alone, the demons were with me the whole time. Coming into the ride with 12 fairly intense hours on my legs may not have been a good idea, but one cannot always wait for everything to feel "fresh" before going on a long ride. Not to mention the Vapor Trail 125 is coming fast and I'm on the roster! I need some solid training weeks and I need them now. The Vapor is arguably one of the most difficult mountain bike races in the country and in the spirit of full disclosure, I'm a little nervous.
|Just a taste of gravel.|
I slogged my way over the "crossing", the most northerly portion of the course. This portion of the route crosses over the Laurentian Divide and eventually shows you Minnesota's Sawtooth Mountains. You can see a glimpse of the Sawtooths in the image above. They're not Colorado mountains, but they're ours.
Signs for Beaver Bay, Minnesota let me know that soon I'd be on the final leg and by this time it was clear that my legs weren't going to come around, but maybe the wind would. After hanging a right hander into Beaver Bay I immediately checked the flags for their direction. "NO!" They were pointing right at me and snapping hard. "How could this be? Is it some kind of conspiracy against me?" There was no other way to deal with it other than to just deal with it. I nosed into the wind and started grinding out the 51 miles to Duluth. Soon the word "Shelled" began to float around in my mind. Maybe it's because I was by myself I wondered or maybe it was the hard early week hours or maybe it's just a freakin' hard loop.
There was one goal that was met on the day that I'm proud of though. It was this: I NEVER STOPPED ONCE! The only time my wheels stopped moving was when I stopped in my driveway. I rode 144 miles, 8 hours and 38 minutes without stopping. And, YES all nature breaks were taken on the FLY. That's another blog article.
A recovery drink, short nap, some pizza and Amy and I were over to my parents house to relax with my sister and bro-in-law who are up from Omaha. It was a good ending to a hard day. A quote from my Mom, "You don't even look that tired". If she only knew, if she only knew...
P.S. The Warbird is a GREAT ALL DAY bike!