One Relentless Life

Relentless Forward Motion

Tag: race

Be Uncomfortable

If I continually did things that I was certain to finish, I would be unfulfilled because I wouldn’t be growing. I like the nervousness I feel when trying something new or facing an unfamiliar challenge.

I like having a big race hanging over my head. There are a few things that might happen; either I’ll push myself to new heights to be better prepared for the race, or when the race starts I will have to fight to sort it out as I go. Maybe both.

Either way I’m pushing to become a better person. If I fail, which happens a lot more than people like to believe, then I will learn from it. Where did things break down? Was it mental, physical, or was I short sited in something? Did I go into the race unprepared? Regardless, I will learn and grow.

I like that. I want to grow. I never want to settle for good enough. If I am successful, I like to take a moment to celebrate my accomplishment and then get right back at it, humbled. I have had people call me arrogant but I will be the first person to tell you that I’m not unique in my abilities or my drive. I am not special. My life has no more value than anyone else’s, I just want to get as much out of my life as possible, which might be the only difference. I want to look back on my life and tell the stories with the adventures sounding like the far-fetched dreams of a rambling mad man. If someone says that I am nuts for everything I am trying to achieve, then I’m getting where I need to be. I would much rather be outside the circle of normal and have people point me out as a person who has tried too many things and failed at all of them, than be one of the people that sit in the comfort being average and do the laughing.

I have DARE MIGHTY THINGS tattooed on my arm for a reason. It is a constant reminder to me that I would much rather be the laughing stock who tried to become everything possible with my life, than the person that gets to the end of my life and thinks “Fuck, I wish I had one more day.” Whenever the end of my life may come, I am ready for it. I am going balls to the wall right now chasing my dreams. The number of successes and failures I have is irrelevant. What matters to me is that I am going for it.

Dare mighty things.


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24 Hours of Wausau Mountain Bike Race- Training Program

Here are all of the phases of my training program from the Wausau 24 hour race. There are some events that are not listed on there that I took part in addition to the training.

I rode TOMRV , I had a week of climbing 14ers, I ran the Grand Canyon rim to rim, as well as a few miscellaneous things. I also strained a ligament in my hip about 5 or 6 weeks out from the race and had to start my taper early. This was a completely random injury; I don’t feel like I was over trained, these things just happen sometimes.

You can see that I was pretty strict about filling out the numbers when I started but after a few months, I just went to writing it down in a note book and talking to my coach (Nathan Tackett- #Tackettraining) whenever I felt the need. He is a stellar coach and bases his programs off of science and proven training methods. I can’t praise him enough.

In no way am I saying this program would be best for you, as it was built specifically to my needs. Every person has different base training levels, strengths, and weakness. It might work for you but, I will make zero guarantees.

Without future ado- here is my training program.

If you have any questions about any of it, shoot me an email using my contact page.  If you want to talk to Nathan about having a training plan set up, let me know and I will have him get a hold of you.

Training Logs- Does anyone want to see them?

I haven’t really published anything in the way of my training logs, or anything in depth about my training at all. My questions for you, the people that read this, what would you like to read about or see? I am more than willing to post all of my rides, workouts, events and what they are comprised of if anyone thinks it will help them.

With that being said, my training program for the Tour Divide 2017 starts tomorrow. I will have ten months of prep on top of what I have built up since last fall. I am ready to crush it and I will only get mentally and physically stronger. So if you want to read about any of my training,  comment below or shoot me a message via my contact page.


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Call Me Crazy: Thought of the day

The Tour Divide starts next week. Muhammad Ali died last week. Those are two separate things. They are connected though. Ali made some of the craziest public statements about his success and his greatness. He said that it keep him hungry for improvement so that he would not look like a fool publicly.  So here is my statement.

In 2017 I will race the Tour Divide and finish in 15 days. Fifteen. That is 180~ miles a day. That is 50 percent more per day than I rode last year. I will do it. I have been training my ass off. I have been studying gear, nutrition, cross training, riding hill sprints until I am sick of my bike.

One more statement- The Tour Divide will be the first race in my 10 thousand mile bike packing race project over the course of the following 12 months. I will do this. You have my word. When I am tired I will push harder. When I don’t have the motivation I will work harder to find it. This is what I am doing. This isn’t a dream. This isn’t words I am just typing and saying. This is a plan of action. I will die with my shield or on it. You have my word on that. You can call me crazy. People said the same thing last year when I trained for 14 week and left for 2800 miles of racing. I finished the race within the cut off. I am more driven now.

Stay focused on your goals my friends. You can do amazing things if you stay positive and get moving. I am not lucky or gifted. I am relentless.

Contact me if you want to sponsor me. I am going H>A>M!

I was dead last. I liked it: Thought of the day

So I rode a cross country mountain bike race yesterday. I had my ass handed to me by the Category 1 racers. I knew it was going to happen. I had no dreams of being on the podium. Okay, maybe I did imagine it one time, but I realistically knew that it was very unlikely. That is exactly why I was in the race class.

You really have to go for broke and let it all hang out to find your weaknesses and improve on them. Most people fear being last. I would much rather be last place with the big boys, than win playing it safe. It is just like beating up your little brother. You know you can do it. It makes you feel good to win. You get confidence in your ability. On the other hand, you never get better if you don’t face adversity. That is why you runs sprints, lift heavy weights, go farther.

It would have been no problem for me to go down a class and blend into the field. I looked at the times and I would have been mid pack, other than the last lap when my tire went flat. I could have finished, had a beer and chatted with the boys and then headed home. My times were consistent, my pacing was good, I just flat out didn’t have the power or skills those guys have. That is what I need to see. I wanted to know where I was at. It is easy to step down classes, throttle back when you get tired or when it gets hard and coast into the finish. I am not into taking the easy route. I will never race to collect medals. What I want is to grow. I want to grow as a person. Physically, mentally, spiritually.

I have no dreams of being a world class cross country racer. However, these types of races are a wonderful tool for me to become a better endurance/adventure racer. If I can increase my power and pace by 1% over the course of a few days of a bikepacking race, that is a huge spread in mileage. If my technical skills are stronger, I will use less energy climbing, descending and attacking obstacles. I will never get faster by taking the easy route.

I had some people get all butt hurt about one of my posts other post about race day. Some people assume I meant that if you weren’t first you were a loser. That is not what it is about. It is about pushing yourself to do things you never thought possible. I WAS LAST PLACE AND DID NOT FINISH! It was glorious. I learned. The taste was bitter in my mouth when the leaders were having a conversation climbing the first hill and pacing a couple miles an hour faster than me. I will be back again for more. The Wausau 24 hour is coming up quickly and I have lots to work to do before then.

Relentless forward motion.


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The fiery battle of race day- Thought of the day

There is just something about racing that sets the spirit on fire. You can train as hard as you want but, race day will always be an all out war. Adrenaline is flowing. You are sweaty before your warm up starts. Little bit of the bubble guts. The battle is about to begin.

When the gun goes off the focus of your world shifts in. From line to line there are no outside events happening. You are either the shark or the chum. The person in front of you is leaving a trail of blood in the water. You can smell the weakness. You will catch them. You will hunt them down.

Behind you is always a bigger badder shark. It can smell you getting tired. You are leaving little drops of blood in the water. Can you dig deep enough to keep out of their reach? Will you give into the weakness in the back of your head that says can’t? You will not. You are unwavering.  All of the hours of hard work. Last heavy sets in the gym. Last big hill sprint during training sessions.

Through all of the anguish of pushing you find your zen like spot. Your legs are numb from the pain. Your lungs are on fire. Still, you are focused on breath coming in and power going out. Relentless forward motion. Win or lose, no one will outwork you. If it comes down to a battle of guts, you are willing to die with your shield in hand or on it dead with grace.

This is what you trained for. Do not go out to just complete a race because you are fearful of blowing up. Give it everything you have got. Battle it out. Your mind will quit before your body does. Do not let it. You will not be outworked. Relentless forward motion.

The End- Tour Divide

Read the Beginning of the End

I get back to pedaling. The roads are crappy mud because of all of the rain. I make my way slowly as another storm rolls in. It is mid day and I set my tent up just to get out of the rain. I take a nap. When I get up the rain is slowing. I take off again and there is water draining out of my tent bag.

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I see a family walking on the road and I ask if they know where Beaver-head ranch is. “Go over to the building with the green roof and tell them Jack sent you and to feed you.” I go over and wash off my bike with the hose and when I go inside there is a wonderful old lady in her 90’s. It is Jack’s mom. This is not the ranch I’m looking for, instead it’s privately owned.

Jack’s mom wants to know if I want food, and I do. You never say no to free food. She feeds me, and in true mom fashion, feeds me again as we talk about everything and nothing. Jack’s dad is sleeping on the couch sitting up and hasn’t moved since I got here.  The rest of the family returns from their walk and they invite me to stay the night with them and celebrate the fourth of July this weekend with the family. They offer me my own cabin, more free food and all of the beer and burgers a person could want. I can’t. I have to go. I cannot sit still for that long. They give me as much food as my bag can hold. I make a note to send them a thank you card and take off. They really are wonderful people.

I wake up in the morning and want to make one big push to the end. No sleeping. I will go all the way without rest. I will do this. I take a five hour energy and get a gel packet with caffeine in it…

I wake up hours later with the sun almost all of the way up. I have my hand half tucked inside of my sleeping bag bag. SHIT! I pack my gear and get going with a later start on the day than I want.

Alex and I always talk about building our dream home together. She really wants a wrap around porch. This house looks like what I see in my head when I think of it.

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I roll up to the gas station. I don’t know if they’re allowed to open carry, but I’m not going to tell the guy at the gas station in the middle of the desert that he’s wrong. I’m not concerned, I’m just glad they have food. They even have Spam slices! My buddy Rick loves fried Spam sandwiches, and I am going to eat a couple slices for him. He got me into riding as an adult. He would even get up at 11 at night to help me fix my bike so I could ride the next day even if he had to be to work at 6am. Good memories, but I better get going.

As I’m cutting through a campground, I think that it can’t be the right way. Everyone is partying for the fourth of July. Where is the trail? It has just rained and there has to be someone who left tracks. The internet isn’t working on my phone, so I can’t look it up. There is another route around this campground on pavement to the next town. Is it one of the places that the changed the course? I don’t care at this point, I just want to be done.

I find a small bed and breakfast on the side of the road. Everyone stares at me when I walk in. I ask for a menu and the lady behind the counter questions what I am doing. They lost their food services license and are not legally allowed to sell food. I don’t care,  they have wifi. I ask for a dozen eggs and bacon to match. She brings it out with a smile and some cans of Coke. We chat. Her and her sister are struggling to make ends meet and they cannot afford to pay for the renewal on the license. She is an absolute sweetheart. As I search the course online and find out that I have to go back to where I just came from, she brings out three sack lunches with sandwiches and cookies. She knows where I’m headed and tells me it took her two days to get over the divide pass on foot. I head back out.

Two lost riders are right where I got lost as well. They’re starving, so I point them in the direction of the Bed and Breakfast. I head up the muddy divide pass. I know I have to take a left trail at the top, but there are five of them, none of which are really headed the way I think I’m supposed to go. I lay my bike down and walk the trails hoping my GPS gives me a clue which is correct. I find it and retrieve my bike.

This trail is barely walk able. I have to shoulder my bike and grab plants to make my way up. It drops off to both side.

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Now the trail is too narrow for me to carry my bike. The rocks are too close on one side and the drop off is too close on the other. I get on my bike and hope my flow is smooth enough to not drop to my demise.

I am heading downhill to Silver City; it literally is all down hill from here. I am flying! I cut through a small town and see a saloon with food. I am not stopping. I WILL MAKE IT TONIGHT.

Silver City is a giant crap hole. They have all of their ‘Merica celebrations going on. Almost everything is closed. I stop at a gas station and buy tons of supplies. I am not stopping again. I talk to the attendant and ask where is a good place for a sit down meal. It will be my last until Mexico. He tell me about a killer Chinese place. Closed. Drunk people on the street tell me about a burrito place. Closed. I go to a bar and get a burger. The music is blaring. I don’t care. I sit by myself and eat in peace.

I’m trying to leave town, but the road is out. As in gone out. GONE! I try to see a way to carry my bike down one side and up the other, but I don’t see anything. I ride a few blocks over and cut back to the other side of the bridge to retrace the route. If they relegate me for missing 300 feet of the route they can suck my butt.

I am going to make it tonight. I see another storm rolling in at my back. I am flying. I am probably averaging 20 mph in the sand through the desert. Up and over the rolling hill. I can see another monster storm in front of me and I don’t care. I am going to make it tonight.

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I pedal hard into the night. There are thousands of reflective green things in the sand around my bike. Am I going crazy? Seriously, what can those be? I get off and shine my light on one of them. It is a spider. Those are all spiders. Whatever. I will be sleeping at the border crossing tonight.

I get back on my bike and turn on to the last paved road of the race. All pavement and I have a tail wind. The storm in front of me is getting closer and stronger.

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Border patrol stops me. I tell him what I am doing, but he says he knows. The only other people out here at night are drug runners; I am headed the wrong direction and am terrible at what I do if I am moving drugs, and not racing. We laugh and I get moving again. The wind is now in my face and I am pedaling under 4 mph. This blows. My ride isn’t going to be here until tomorrow at 10. I pedal for another couples minutes and decide to set my tent up. There is a fence on both sides of the road and the other side of the fence is the same thing. Sand. I go to bed. I will finish tomorrow. I have less than 100 miles to go.

Morning arrives. I have a ton of food and water. I’m pedaling downhill and will be there in no time. Then I get a flat tire.

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I sit down and eat some more food. It doesn’t matter now, I can eat enough to be stuffed full the whole way. I only have to ride a few miles an hour to make it to the border before Alex’s friends show up. She really does love me tons to set that up for me. I pump my tire up and ride ten miles.

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I stop and eat a bunch of food and pump my tire. Repeating this process every ten miles until I am 2 miles from the end. I stop and change my shirt. I really want to finish the race with my Plan for Adventure shirt on. Alex’s friends will be taking pictures as I ride in. I wonder what they look like.

My GPS dies. I am not going to change the batteries. I stay on this road for two miles. That is it. I pedal to the border crossing. Where is everyone? No one is outside. No one is looking for me. I ride across the border to Mexico. I had to have crossed the finish line.

I stop in the vehicle inspection area in the shade and take my helmet off. There are a few guys a hundred yards away in their uniforms looking at me. I nod at them. They nod back. I sit by myself and eat.

I guess I better get back to the U.S.

I stop at the crossing back into the United States. They open the door and ask why I just rode a circle. I told them what I was doing and that I didn’t know where the official finish line was because my GPS died. I ask if they want to see my ID or passport. They say no. They congratulate me on finishing in 23 days and close the door with me standing there.  It’s a bit anticlimactic, I suppose.

I don’t know who I am supposed to be getting a hold of for a ride and my phone has no signal anyway, so I start stripping my bike down. I throw away the garbage and stuff all of the extra clothes into my seat bag and use it as a pillow and go to sleep in the shade next to the garbage can and the bathroom.

I wake up a few hours later to Alex standing over me. She came to surprise me and pick me up. We load up my bike, take a few pictures and head back out on the road. I really want a chocolate shake, but there’s no food nearby. It’s going to be a few hours.

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An hour down the road I finally become coherent and realize that Alex has flown halfway across the US, rented a car, drove hours and hours to come and pick me up. I really love her. She must love me. I am an extremely lucky man.

We find a Sonic connected to a gas station. I bet they have shakes. They DO! I get a mountain of food and a shake. The shake is gone before the food comes. As I am eating my food, I lean over and fart loudly. The plastic bench makes it even worse sounding. It doesn’t even register that this isn’t normal etiquette. Alex looks me right in the eyes and says “This is what you have become now?” Everyone within earshot of the fart is waiting for my answer. I am filthy, sun burnt and don’t remember my last shower. I giggle and say “I guess so.” I am happy. I am alive. Everything hurts. I have lost 22 pounds in 23 days. I made it. I think I could go faster. I have more in me. I am already dreaming of starting the race again. Maybe I will train harder and plan better. What if…

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Beginning of the End- Tour Divide

Read Day 15

Exhaustion is really setting in. I’m no longer really ever awake or sleeping. I blur on and off of the bike. The order of events happening make no real sense to me. I think I might have a concussion from wrecking. 

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I have been trying to pack too much food and water into my backpack. I get off my bike to take a break and let my ass rest. There is blood running down my left leg. I try to peel my underwear off to see what is going on. They are stuck to my ass and I have to peel them off of the cracked callouses.

A guy comes out on his balcony and yells that I am doing a great job on the race. I really want to get to the next town, Frisco, to clean myself. I haven’t showered in days. Sitting is not fun.

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I finally get there and get a room in Frisco. I order food before I get in the shower. When I get my pants and underwear off it looks like a massacre happened. I take a butt selfie of the damage to try and see what is happening. I delete it immediately after I look at it. No one every wants to see that. The water hurts so much it makes my eyes tear up. I make the decision that I will scrub the dried blood and callouses off. I wrap the washcloth around my knuckles and scrub until I can’t take the pain any more. I use my half numb finger to feel if it is clean. I don’t think I wash anything else on my body. My food arrives and after I eat every crumb, I pass out,  face down and butt naked with an empty family sized lasagna pan next to me.

Some time later…

I am climbing out of Breckenridge. It takes hours, but the views are beautiful.  I even see a person with a tent set up on a huge boulder sitting next to the edge. I get to the top and there is a train car and elevation sign. Maybe I take a picture. Maybe not. Like I said, everything is pretty blurry at this time. Descending the single track in the woods is slow going but amazing.  

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I meet Australian Dave and we ride together. This is his second attempt at the race. We ride into Salida and eat dinner. Every place is super busy. There is a festival in town and a rodeo on the edge of town. We pick up Jeremiah Johnson on the side of the road. We pick up Nick sitting on the side of the road with a whole pizza, cellphone in hand trying to find a place to stay. Everything is booked solid. Campground is sold out. We find a bar to ask where we can sleep. 12 miles up the mountain. We all stumble outside and pedal for under five minutes. We find a wooded picnic area that has a “no camping” sign. We walk right past it into the woods deeper and closer to the creek and go to sleep.

I fade in and out- blurring again- but then I’m at a fire station in the middle of nowhere. I fill my water and talk to the volunteers for a bit. Back onto the bike. I make it to a town and see another rider. I’m feeling really depressed. I sit outside of the gas station on one of the islands and cry for as long as I can remember. People stare at me as they fill up their cars and leave. I just want to quit. I lost my tracker. I missed my goal time. Everyone at home has to hate me for not being strong enough. I call Alex crying. She talks some sense into me. I just have to keep going. That is all. She still loves me. Everyone thinks I am doing great. I just have to keep going and make the cut off.

My bike has too much food and water on it so I have to push it up the hill. A guy in a truck stops me and says he just saw another rider getting ready to set up camp in the national park. I really want to camp with someone and have a conversation, so I hurry as fast as I can to catch them. So of course, I wreck my bike and flip over the handlebars. I lay there. I decide it isn’t worth being hurt over finding someone who is possibly not there. I set up camp and start a fire. I leave the door of the tent open and just watch the fire. I some how have a phone signal. I call Alex. I just want to hear her voice again. Once I hear it I am better. I don’t know what came over me this past day(s).

More blurring. I think about how I’d heard that the people on the Indian Reservation laugh at white people who ask for sunscreen. I better buy more before I get there. More blurring…

The sun is going down and there is a huge storm in front and behind me. Luckily it is getting cooler out. I get out my rain jacket, put my headphones in and my hood up. I ride a super fast pace on the pavement jamming to Led Zeppelin.

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When I round the horse shoe corner an hour later the rain is in my face and the storm is getting more intense. The rock faces are on either side of me. The only flat spot is on the other side of a fence. I jump the fence and set up my tent. The wind is getting crazy. I have to anchor my tent to my bike. The rain is really coming down. I take everything off my bike and bring it in the tent with me. The rain rushing under and around the tent is a few inches deep. I don’t care at this point and fall asleep in the pond.

I ride into a town early in the morning and meet a guy from Iowa. His son when to school at the university of Iowa and his daughter in law went to high school 15 minutes from my house. It’s a small world He buys my breakfast and even a few pieces of pie.

Jeremiah Johnson and I ride together. He wants to be done with the race. He is obsessing over the notes that his friend has given to him about the course. Every uphill is the worst thing he has ever done. I try to stay positive. We find a small restaurant that is also the gas station and grocery store. They have a Sasquatch challenge; you have to eat a 5 pound burger and 2 pounds of fries. I fall asleep in the booth as Jeremiah finishes the challenge. When I wake up he is leaving slowly so I get on my way. He catches me around nightfall. We are high in the mountains and it is almost freezing. How are there still mosquitoes? We start a fire and go to bed hoping the bugs will leave.

It is 20 degrees and the mosquitoes are still here. WTF? Jeremiah takes off quickly and leaves me all alone with my thoughts. I want to make it to Pie Town today. There is supposed to be amazing pies everywhere. I have got to make it.

By noon it is well over a hundred. The skin on my face is burnt and I have been wearing long sleeves just to keep the sun off. A couple stops me on the side of the road and asks if I am alright. They give me a 2 liters of water. I drink it all and give them the bottles back instantly.

There are storms almost all day long now. I can see one up the mountain in Pie Town. I have to keep going. I want to be done. There is water rushing down the road now but, it still isn’t raining on me. This is going to be bad.

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It starts raining on me so hard I can barely see. A lady from Pie Town stops me and asks if that’s where I am trying to make it. She says she will go back and open her jewelry store, since all the pie shops are closed at 3 or 4 in the afternoon. She says she will see me soon and takes off. I pedal further and the rain stops. I find Jeremiah hiding under a tree, trapped because of the rain.

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The shop is heaven. We buy piles of frozen tiny pizzas, hot dogs, sodas and snacks. I ask what the toaster house is. She is afraid to actually go inside but here it is a free place to crash.

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The toaster house is eclectic. Anything you want is there. Freezer full of pizza. Fridge outside with beers and ice cream. It is too early to stop for the day but I don’t care. I choose a room and get a bowl of ice cream. There is a drunk guy who is talking about hiking for years on end to get here. He also starts talking about Vietnam and how great he was at killing people with a flame thrower. He interrupts my conversation with Jeremiah to make a racial slur about the president. We tell him to leave. He wobbles in the doorway for a few minutes and says he knows he is not wanted here and takes off. We go to sleep.

I wake up pouring sweat. Drunk man has started a roaring fire in the wood burner. It was already 100% humidity and hot as sin. I go outside with my air pad and sleeping bag to the porch and the van seats that are sitting out there. I go back to sleep.

I wake up to rain pouring on me. The wind is so strong it is blowing under the 10 foot long roof. I cover my face and go back to sleep.

Morning comes and luckily, drunk man is nowhere to be found. I make a stack of sandwiches to go. When I get on the road my wheel is making a funny noise. I have a broken spoke. I take out my fiber spoke emergency kit and get it fixed. This repair spoke should hold up for over 300 miles.

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Read the Ending

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Day 13- Tour Divide

Read Day 12

Wake up, wake up. I try to will myself to wake up. I stayed up late to stay out of the heat of the sun. I have to get up now to make sure it wasn’t all for nothing. I’m laying in a tent that smells like two grown men are smashed in a solo tent and haven’t showered in days. I’m starving, and I have to get up and move. I’ve only been sleeping a few hours. GET UP! I wake up the Rev and break down camp. I’m eating like a monster as I break down camp. I feel like an idiot as I realize that I didn’t consider how much extra food it takes to eat before going to bed and eat breakfast after a few hours of sleep. This is going to be rough. I have hours of pedaling to go, so I better get moving.

As we slowly get moving again, I can’t get rid of the hunger. The sun slowly breaks the horizon and I can already tell it is going to be hot. Really hot. An hour passes quickly and we stop to eat, but I’m almost out of food. We’re getting closer to a gravel road and will be out of the loose soil of the back country desert. As we hit the road I realize I have run out of water. Half of the guys that we passed during the night have already caught us. I’m down to one Gatorade and one bag of almonds. I’ve still got fifty miles to go.

I have two choices; stay still and wait for it to get hotter and my hunger to get worse, or tough it out, pedal and get to the next town. I would rather die trying than die laying down like a coward. I plan to drink one fifth of the Gatorade and eat one fifth of the almonds every hour. The gravel road is flat in comparison to a lot of the riding that we have already done but the rolling hills are still climbing and descending hundreds of feet per hour of pedaling, if not closer to a thousand.

One hour down, four to go. I open the bag of almonds and they fly all over the road. I want to sit down and stop. I won’t. I cannot give up. I pick up all of the almonds I can find and count them one by one. I put one fifth of them in my hand and try to eat them slowly. This is going to hurt. As I drink one fifth of the Gatorade, I can already feel my energy getting low and my legs getting stiff, but I still climb back on the bike. Two hours down and three to go. One more small portion of almonds and Gatorade. I’m starting to feel sick and I have to stand to pedal the hills. The rest of the guys we passed in the night are flying by us, but I have nothing left for effort to try and keep up with them. I’m getting dizzy and expending any effort is hard as hell. Three hours down and two to go. I eat the almonds and it might as well have been nothing.

All I want to do is lay down and push the rescue button on my SPOT tracker. I have  to move! The sun is getting blazing hot and every minute I am out here it gets hotter. Four hours down. My pace is almost nothing and I’m riding one of my easiest gears. I have to move! Five hours down. I finish my almonds and Gatorade. I have almost ten miles to go. The lack of food and water has consumed all of my energy. Every time I climb uphill I feel like I’m going to pass out. I have to make it. I’m running on fumes as I start to pass oil field workers. I am going to live. If I have to, I will beg for help. I dream about all of the guys with their coolers full of lunch and cold drinks.

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I hit pavement and see the town. I’m going to make it. I pass a Subway at the Love’s gas station but it’s packed and I need food now. I pass under the interstate and hit the other side of town. There is a Mexican restaurant. I lean my bike against the building and go in to eat.

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When the waitress comes around I take the menu, order the top two meals on the list, coffee, soda and water. It seems like an eternity before she returns with the soda. I drink it all in one go, and she brings me another. This one goes down slower. I feel the sugar hit my system and immediately feel more alive. When the food comes out, I finish it without breathing. She comes back around and asks if I want the check. Nope. I want the menu! I order another breakfast. When the third meal comes out, I enjoy this one. I sip my coffee and enjoy the fact that I will not die today. I pay my bill and head outside to find shade and nap. I need this food to catch up to my weak body. I find a nice tree with shade, under which it feels 50 degrees cooler. I pull out my rain jacket and use it as a pillow. Sleep comes easy.

I wake up and my back and legs are on fire. Am I getting a sunburn? I quickly assess my surroundings, but I’m still in the shade. What in the world is this? Then it hits me; I am covered in fire ants! I quickly get up and brush off all that I can find. A man can’t even nap in peace during this race. I head to the gas station to resupply and fill my water. When I get there, the gang of racers are all there. For some reason Will is there. So is Brian and the gang. He should be a half day ahead of me! Jeremiah Johnson is there. He found his legs again and is back racing! I load up, see the Rev and we leave town together.

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As we are head out of town we see Nick sitting on the side of the road trying to fix his tire. He throws something off the bridge, but I have no idea what. We pedal for an hour in the heat and decide to take a break in the shade. The only shade that is available is next to a large dumpster. It’s sitting in the sun in the desert so you can picture the smell. I sit down next to it anyway. After a few minutes we are back at it. Ride, sweat, climb.

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We’re starting to leave the desert. It’s still sandy but the climbs are starting to get bigger. Storms are rolling in. This is normal and I am used to it by now. I’m not happy about it, but I am used to it. The pedaling continues. I have heard that seven miles past the Colorado/Wyoming border is the greatest place on earth, Brush Mountain. I have to make it there.

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As the sun goes down, the Rev and I roll into a small town. There is a lady outside unloading her RV. They list camping in this spot and I am really tired. She tells us that she used to host free camping but no longer does; we can sleep there no problem but there are no longer any services like water or electricity. Better to keep moving. I know very well what it feels like to run out of food. She offers to fill our water and I kindly accept. It looks like we’re about fifteen miles out. It is now 9pm. An hour and a half and we should be there. Two hours tops.

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We swing onto a paved road and jam. A few miles up the road we hook a right onto the road that takes us all the way to the lodge. A mile or two up the road and a truck stops us. These country boys are drunk! They ask us if we have guns for all of the mountain lions. Nah, we’re good. We keep pedaling up. It has been an hour and is pitch black now. How far have we made it? 4 miles.

4 miles? Shit. I am exhausted. I start pedaling again. All I want to do is lay down and sleep. All the Rev wants is a chocolate milkshake Another hour goes by. Another 4 or 5 miles. I’m beat. I want sleep. Food deprivation has ruined my efforts today. Something is missing. My mind is foggy and I am trying to place it. I have my bike. I have all my bags. What is it?

IT’S MY SPOT TRACKER! I dropped it again. I get off my bike and yell until my throat hurts. This is it! I’m going to quit this race! I am dropping. There is no chance in hell that I can ride back and scan the desert for my tracker. I grab my bike by the frame with both hands and I am dragging it over to the edge of the mountain side to throw it off! Just at that time a truck rolls up and asks if we’re okay. He just came from hanging out at the lodge and is headed home. I tell him that I’m dropping because I lost my tracker. He tells me to hold tight and that Kirsten will figure it out. He heads back for his bigger truck and I sit on the side of the road and try not to cry. I’ve pedaled for weeks and now it’s all over. But when the man gets back, he tells me it will all get sorted out. I catch a ride the last few miles to the lodge and Kirsten is there waiting for us.

As soon as I get out of the truck I can tell she’s wondering  why there are two of us. She watches the race tracker almost 24 hours a day so that she can have food and drinks ready for everyone as soon as they get there. She doesn’t even let me tell her what happens; she just gives my one of the biggest hugs I’ve ever had in my life and tells me that whatever the issue is, we can get it sorted out. I then tell her my story as she makes burgers for me and the Rev. She says it won’t be a problem. Her and Matthew Lee, the race director, are old friends,and she can vouch for me riding there and not cheating. In the morning her friend that works at the lodge will give me a ride to find my tracker and it will all work out. I just need to hold tight. I eat my dinner and set my tent up in the back yard. As I lay down I think to myself that whatever happens I will have to accept the outcome. If Matthew says I’m getting scratched from the race, I will just finish it on my own. I have came too far to quit. I almost died this morning for this race, and I am not quitting now. I will die with my shield or on it. Relentless forward motion. I am not doing this for the online status of finisher. I am doing this to see how far I can push myself. I close my eyes and think of Alex. I hope no one is disappointed in me.

Read Day 14


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