|11-25-2012, 12:31 AM||#31|
Joined: Jul 2001
Location: Sacramento, CA
Letís see, where was IÖ.
Oh thatís right, we had dinner in Brian Head, Utah. Like the previous year, the location was tops. And the food was incredible.
I left dinner a bit early this year. Again, the prescription I was on for the parasite wasnít helping me be sociable nor happy. But not before having a wonderful conversation with Aquavit. We talked about Dakar, his experiences there, and common friends. Despite feeling out of my league this time around, I never felt unwelcome. These are guys (and gals) who you can ride with, get your ass spanked, and then have them buy you a drink at the end of the day.
Despite a short day, it still feels like an early start. As my alarm rings, Iím regretting my decision to stay at altitude in free lodging as opposed to going low and grabbing some Oís (so to speak). The medication is still kicking my ass and motivation, so I struggle to just get my gear down the hotel stairs and work on finalizing my riding gear. Due to my lack of motivation, I just give up any opportunity for an early start and let everyone else go ahead of me. I line up on the last row with Megan, only leaving Wally behind. I guess heís still a bit bruised from the incident on Day 2. To bring a little levity to the moment, I leave a puddle to dribble downhill to Rob as I wait on the start line. That little snicker to myself actually brings a great relief to my psyche, and makes it easier to get my ass moving. And Megan just shakes her headÖ.
The roll down the hill is a lot like last year. A lot of fog, cool air and people enjoying the view. But this year, we have to deal with hunters out on the prowl. When these guys arenít aiming their weapons at targets, theyíre looking for them. And their targets arenít on the roads that weíre traveling on. Holy schnickiesÖ.Without keeping track, I find myself passing a couple of riders while keeping an eye on the oncoming traffic. Since Iíve been on this road a couple of times now, I have a bit of advantage. Though Iím still not ďfeeling itĒ due to the parasite and medication. I just feel like Iím hanging on for dear life.
Once off the mountain from Brian Head, itís on to the flats and the straights. After passing the houses, itís game on. Despite the local speed limit, the wind is blowing the right direction to take the dust away from the homes close to the road. Time to twist it.. Unlike last year, the course veers from the highway to the north this time, just past the gap in the mountains:
From here, my day starts to get much better. With the wind blowing the dust away from our direction of travel, itís easy to catch other riders. I donít know if itís my ďcomputer pre-runningĒ or what, but I start catching the other guys on this stretch. Itís mostly a repeat of Day 2 (with a few exceptions), except in reverse. With that knowledge, Iím able to focus on riding instead of navigation. Except Iím not good at that, either. I easily catch two guys (Bicycle Phil and Jean Luc?) but immediately blow a turn and let them pass back. I take my punishment and ride in their dust for quite a few miles until I make a move again. This is where things get funny.
Watching my GPS, the track clearly goes in one direction. Yet I see dust clouds going every which way. I pass at least two more guys in the middle of this high valley just because they werenít sure which way to go when it came to gates and RR crossings. Gas on, make some dust. Make them earn the position back, I say. The sneaky mid-fence crossing from Day 2 catches more riders out as I make it through without having to backtrack. After another couple of miles Iíve got a train of riders following me to the gate crossings, but nobody is able to a position change. Like gentlemen, we pass on the livestock gates to the next rider, obeying the Westí s rule about closing all gates you pass through. These are NOT places to make your pass. After many miles of this desert dusty shit, the track finally meets with a dirt road that passes northeast. The speeds increase as the terrain gets easier, but this is also a time to really screw up navigation. Spend too much time watching your mirrors or the dust cloud in front of you, you can easily toss the whole day away. And thatís how Baja Joe and Heinrichs get past me.
From here, the track gets fuzzy for me. A lot of mountains and trees, and itís hard to stay on top of the local terrain. Just follow the breadcrumbs on the LCD screen in front of me. Besides Baja Joe and Henircks who passed me earlier, I ride alone though here. The elevation climbs, the scrub brush disappears and the trees pop up in the landscape. The view through the goggles gets compressed, so riding with time and distance on your mind goes out the window. Now we ride for the here and now.
The pace is brisk and the tracks are mostly easy to follow (about time, RobÖ.). About the only picture I take time to grab is the Utah/Nevada state line. Did Jamis get my almost nasty front end wash and unflattering dismount here? Donít know, donít care. Ride on I say. And somewhere up in these mountains, I just about go head on with Henricks as he goes the wrong way. And then thereís Jamin hitting the puddle right at the peak of the hill in the trail, tearing his jeans and leg wide openÖ.What a weird section of trail. And somewhere up here, I pass the state line:
Thinking like an emigrant, itís obvious weíre climbing and descending many ridges as we head back west. Itís just that weíre able to make a little bit better time than the last century. Oh, and they werenít timed either. Meanwhile, back in Nevada, Iím on the downhill section into our destination of Caliente, NV. Rolling into Panaca, I thought for sure Iíd grab another position due to the need for others to suck some fuel. It didnít work out that way. GSNorCal rolled right on through town, with me right on his tail. Fine, Iíll pass in the dirt just outside of town. Then again, fuel delivery issues made a mockery of my attempt. I donít know if it was just going to reserve or a vent problem, but being in the position of passing, in full throttle, on a downhill dirt stretch when the bike dies when you are alongside a competitor certainly sucks. To his credit, he actually slowed to make sure I was OK. How embarrassingÖ.
We played a cat-and-mouse game for the last many miles before hitting the sand and gravel outside of Caliente, NV. At one point before the real nasty shit before town, he did many donuts and kicking of dust to throw me off of the trail. It worked. I never tried to pass him again. At least not today. The soft sand and heat in the air was enough to keep me at bay. The end of the section is a nothing but a flat gravel yard next to the highway. Albeit, they have shade and beers.
I can't claim fame to this pic, but it's too cool not to include......
Just before end of the section going into Caliente, NV, BicyclePhil had an issue with his motorcycle. Literally within a couple of hundred yards of the end of the day, heís stuck in the sun and heat. And we all just roll on through waiting for the victor beers at the end of the stage. I finally roll downstage to give a hand. We tried me pushing on his footpeg (the easiest but not successful in these conditions), to a full on tow. He finally got to the end and earned his victory beer. No good deed goes unpunishedÖÖ
"I don't know what you do, but I know what I do, and I don't do that." --Uncle Doug, R.I.P.
"Without the possibility of death, adventure is not possible"--Reinhold Messner
|11-26-2012, 03:11 AM||#32|
Joined: Jan 2007
Location: Chch, EnZed
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