Thursday, July 3, 2008

Day 6 and its pouring rain

Rtain or shine, hell of high water we are going to complete this but I need everything to gather together and make some encouraging comments. This is going to be by fas and away the most difficult day. Will keep you posted. To verify the weather, look it up...Squamish, BC. Thunder and lightning.
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We made the 1pm cutoff!

Earlier I wrote in my blog that there was a cutoff time of 3:00pm to board the ferry during the fifth stage of this race.. I received bad information on the cutoff. It was to aid station 2 by 1pm or face NOR (not officially racing). We would have been completely disqualified from the race. Fortunately we made it yet again by the skin of our teeth. The climbing today was massive and relentless so that 1pm cutoff was very important to me and Roy and to the BPA.
We made it right on time...literally. I was pushing my physical limits to the max I could and wasn't going to give up or give in. We did it! Unfortunately for our friends in the back of the pack and anyone behind us, they did not make it. We are not sure if they will be allowed to race or not tomorrow. At dinner people came up to us asking if we made it. We also received a couple of "I knew you guys could represent us." There was a little disappointment underneath our success.
There were many reasons this was important to us today, a decisive victory.

The 1pm cutoff was very important to Roy and I and the BPA. It was important for us to make this challenge. First off, we have to be the "first of the worst", after all we created the back of the pack association and we have to live up to it. Secondly, we have to show we have earned respect from the front and mid packers and the cycling world. We also need to be taken seriously and show that we finished the event just like they did. Lastly, we don't want to have to do this again and cross it off our own biking bucket list.

We set off this morning with me taking the lead, setting a blistering pace. Roy didn't feel all that well and was falling behind before we hit the trail head. We knew there were massive climbs today and although we didn't know how long they were, we continued pushing at a blistering pace. Bob Forster attempted to ride with us for a short period of time and even shared some snacks, but at one stop, out of breath, he said "you guys are killing it today." Bob stayed with us for a little while until he flatted out, got sent back and ended the day with a NOR (not officially racing) or disqualified. We had about 20 kilometers to go and it was about 1130am. We thought we had alotted enough time because we were hammering this morning. At aid station 2 Roy's stomach was screwed up and riding anything this long day after day with a messed up stomach will easily taint the day. Roy had to use the washroom (the woods) and didn't come back for 20 minutes. We were concerned and scared that his dump was going to cost us the race. I said "what happened?". Roy responded with a head shake and said "it just kept coming.". It was so bad that "Man Mountain" Ted caught up to us at the checkpoint. By the way Ted is 260lbs, not 230lbs as I previously posted. We thought "our goose is cooked.". What the canadians call SPHE (steaming pile of human evacuation) almost destroyed our race.

We climbed about 6500 feet today. The single track here is growing increasingly difficult. Its far more technical riding than I have ever done. Things like braking when your going up hill or even holding the brakes on simultaneously putting pressure on the pedals to slowly hop over a large root and not go too fast on the other side requires all of your body's strength. Things like that were occurring all the time, try ever 20 feet. There were ladder crossings over beautiful waterfalls, some of which I would ride over, others I wouldn't. One mistake there and your in the drink, and probably with a broken body part. I stayed clear of the really technical stuff, I need to finish this and not break myself in the process.

The race itself is growing with the number of people dropping out with major injuries or having to go to the hospital for IV re-hydration. Although it wasn't as hot as the first day, people are still considering dropping out. In the case of an australian who pushed himself too far on day three needed 3 bags of intravenous fluids and he didn't come back to see day four.

Suunto stats: 65 kilometers, max heart rate 198, min 72, total elevation gain 6490 feet. Highest elevation we made it to was 2585.

I am not without pain and swelling. I also have some issue with either the bottom of my calve or my achilles tendon and I can only guess its either from the massive amount of hike-a-bike we have had to do. Make no mistake, traveling across Canada in this manner is taking its toll on my body. I could barely walk after day five and I am very concerned about finishing this race now. Being injured would be the most disappointing thing after all we have done and accomplished. Ice and advil is in order tonight and I hope the pain will subside and I can continue on. One of my good buddies suggested that my glory will last longer than my pain, I just hope I can carry enough of that faith to believe that.
3:00am update- its pouring rain here now and Roy is still somewhere in Squamish with his bike working at some internet cafe. I just received an email from him which I will upload to the blog soon. Its clear now that even taking the time to update this blog with Roy late at night has also taken its toll on my body. We are proud to have gotten as far as we have without injury or being disqualified yet. Very excited to also know there are only two more days as well.

I can say without a doubt that I am in the best cardio shape I have ever been in. What would you expect, we have been riding 40+ hours in 5 days. If our bodies aren't completely broken by now, they are becoming incredibly strong. Imagine those 40 hours you spent working at your job, now imagine doing it from the comfort of a bike seat. I kicked a$$ yesterday and felt great! The overuse injury is scaring me but I will push through it and wake to our biggest challenge 6. Massive climbs are expected and from what we can tell, rain or shine, it looks to be the hardest day of all. Most of the people in the BPA that haven't been cut yet will probably be cut on day 6. Wish us luck and we will do everything we can to fight through the rain and the pain.

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