Sunday, June 29, 2008

Peaks and Valleys

360LB "Man Mountain" Ted, with Bob Forster, came in after the finish line was torn down
Roy's fruit & peanut pants, with Ed
Well, todays stats for those of you keeping track... Suunto reports; 125 kilometers, 3650 feet of elevation gain, average heart rate 127, max 202, minimum 73.

Today was what I would call the desert of Canada, not much to see or take pictures of, with the exception of the Port Alberni inlet. An interesting statistic while we were standing there shootings pictures. The water was almost completely sucked out of the inlet when the recent Tsunami hit. When you see it, its amazing to think that fish were flopping around the bottom when that Tsunami hit. Just kidding about the flopping fish but the water really did drop dramatically.

The beauty was in the last 2km. The last 2km was absolutely phenomenal. Overgrown forrests, log chutes, stump launches and giant ferns. I slowed down at one point while Roy came fast on my tail, I asked for complete silence while we listened to the forrest...birds we have never heard before, snakes slithering on the ground, bears moaning in the distance or we thought...truly amazing. We let out a couple of yelps just to here the ricochet of our voices. The tight, rolling single track wound up and around huge trees and dropped like a fast roller coaster right into the coast of a fast flowing river. The forrest was really like a sauna, and we couldn't escape the smell of musk and plant matter being recycled in nature like mulch. We made a u-turn there and began heading back into the thick of the forrest. We had a little more than a half a kilometer to go. We ended the day cruising into the field of the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. We did almost one full lap on their quarter mile track before we crossed the finish line with a time of 8:12:10.

The really interesting thing was that I suppose in these events you really never know when your going to need a mommy or play mommy. I happened to play mommy for Roy today. He started out tired and groggy this morning, and continued not feeling well. I had to encourage him to eat at some of the water stations and checkpoints. Roy can endure some serious pain even while not feeling all that well. He hung with me most of the day except when we hit 65 kilometers. Something got into him and he took off relentlessly. He either wanted to take a shower badly or he just ate one of his favorite foods, an orange.

He told me that eating an orange for him is like, well, its like, use your imagination. In the morning while packing our packs and other things Roy decided to put that huge basket of oranges for breakfast to good use. He took four oranges and stashed them in his bike shorts. He looked like he had some sort of strange growth on the sides of his legs. He also had a handful of peanuts on the other side of his shorts. He really looked like the elephant man. Everyone had been asking Roy about the bulge in his shorts and after the laughter subsided, they were like "no really, what is that.". Roy answered "I am just happy to see you..". After telling the truth, they were stunned and at that point we began asking ourselves what do these people eat? Gels and other stuff...please. We have real food but it doesn't make us faster, after all, who wants to take the time to peel an orange or open a can of sardines when your in contention! We were in contention alright, with three back of the packers representing Forster Physical Therapy, including Bob Forster himself and Michael Dubin. Both these guys having done the Transalp challenge and their partner Ted, a man mountain who at an estimated 230lbs, we decided, is easily the finest athlete here pound for pound. After all, he was almost keeping up with us. Their time 8:18:27

Oh ya, last but not least, logging road are extremely dangerous to mountain bike on. Occasional cars are doing 60mph and the road is hardly paved. Loose gravel through vast swaths of clearcut forrest ruled the day.

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Day two begins

125 kilometer leg through logging roads riddled with heat. While the traverse was 106 and I finished, it is much dryer here and when the sun starts in on you, it is literally cooking you. I am not looking forward to this. I don't want to make any assumptions but if I can get through today, the climbing for the rest of the week will be tough but I will probably have a bit more confidence. Right now my confidence is shot and I am hungry!

Ok so the word on the street today is that this will be a 125 road ride on the mountain...its still provides me with very little confidence. Will keep you posted, literally.
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