Campground somewhere in NM – Camp ground somewhere in Carson National Forest Nm.; 166km distance, 2,584m climbing, 11hrs 03mins moving time.
Up early, earlier than anyone else around me, no chance to get pissed off unless you want to get out of your tent at 5am in the cold and rain? No? OK, I’ll get on with my day then. Up and over the pass that I couldn’t do last night, I miss the supposedly red river and start to climb up as it starts to brighten up and I can see the mountains they’ve raped to get the iron ore they need. Lovely, pollute the land for the things you need. I’m maybe not in the best of mood, not helped with less food than I’d like. I drop over the other side of the pass and float down the gravel trail to breakfast in the town below. Pulling up outside at 6:30 I see a sign saying 7am opening, I can kill some time to get food. I lurk, and I spot them, two bikes leaning against an Airstream trailer. It’s the guys again!
I meet some locals and we talk shit for a while waiting for the kitchen to open. I make a pile of food I want to take after and they agree to open earlier for us. I get to fill up on coffee and some cooked food before the two guys wander in and spot me. Mixed confusion and joy as we sit for food. They looked tired and I sort of feel for them, but I’m happy to have caught them at least once more. Double breakfast and I fail on the pancakes, I pack them for later, it’ll probably be a good idea.
I roll out knowing the guys will catch me on the climb. It’s 30km of fast gravel down to Horca and I push far to much having fun and being full of coffee – I break the rule Jenn gave me “nothing stupid 30mins after coffee and food”. I’ll pay for it later. Stopping in Horca I walk in to be greeted as “hello number 12!” by the gent running the store. Whu? You’re in 12th. I am…well, that’s interesting. He follows up by telling me Mike Hall is done, finished and his time… fuck me. What a ride. I nail some sodas, eat some random pastry and aggressively use the facilities – my bowels are a bit…stubborn for the first time all race. Better that than not working at all.
The guys are gone on the next climb, my body feels like crap from the lack of it and I just keep ticking along. Hoping it’ll come good, looking for anything that’ll maybe act as a laxative – fyi, a large bag of Skittles works, just make sure you’re in a forested area. The roads as well are starting to help – by which I mean they are brutal and bouncing my gut and body to bits. It’ll get worse over the following days as I get into even more remote areas.
Riding into the Carson Wilderness I know that it’s going to be hard. I didn’t expect it would be this hard. I bonk for the first time in the race and I have to stop and eat – I have no option. I sit at the side of the trail and finish off the last of my pancakes – they stuff me up even further and I feel worse than I did earlier. Next time, pack something with a laxative effect. I’d carried licorice for the first week – ran out – need to pick more up when I can.
It just goes on like this for the day. I know I’ve lost the guys and I’m not going to see them again. I suck it up and keep riding into the night. It rains. I hit peanut butter mud – get bogged down – and stop. I pull over right beside where I get shut down at 10pm and I stop. There is no point. I’ll get up early and ride. I’m stoic about the whole thing. It’s nice here, nice spot, wild horses. I’m ok with this. Let’s rest up and go harder tomorrow.