Im typing this in Backroads Coffee on Thursday morn. Just relaxing a bit before the long drive home. I planned on a short gravel ride this morn before I left but Im too sore from yesterday.
Day two of the ride camp started with a ride to lunch leaving at 11am. I got to camp a bit early and hung out till ride time.
The plan was to ride the Esker trail to Danky Dank to the Rock Lake cluster. All of which I have never rode before. Danky is the new connecter to Rock Lake and was finished just a year or so ago.
We rolled out on the Esker trails which I have been on about 15 years ago. Again, we were all together for about 10 minutes and the the hills started. The guys leading the ride were great but after I held up the entire group for the third time I just asked them to not wait anymore. Again they had no problem with waiting but I insisted.
I looked for the dude I rode with last nite and found out he was on a demo E-bike. I won’t see him on the trails anymore today. I guess that would have been a good time to try one out too.
So 10 minutes later I was alone. And I have stated that I expected that to happen and was mentally prepared for it.
Like I said before Ive never been on the trails on this side of the system. Ive almost always rode from either the OO trailhead or Bodecker trailhead. Those trails are fast and flowy.
These trails were way more technical than the others. Huge rocky sections that were way over my head at times. I kinda knew what direction I was going but I had no idea my average MPH would be about 2. I average 8 or so on Seeley Pass. So the trail I laid out for myself took me about triple the time to do. A 2 hour ride turned into 5. And between hour 4 and 5 I was exposed to some huge rocky climbs. I started falling down often. After hour 3 I was out of food and water. I was never really super lost but I did not know where I was. So I never knew if the next trail intersection was 100 yards or two miles away.
This was more of a mental thing at first. I never knew where I was. I never knew what direction I was going in. My Garmin died about hour 3. Am I headed back? Did I turn wrong and am I heading farther out? After hour 3 I really didnt recognize anything from the trip out. I was a bit concerned then.
Really the only thing I can do is put my head down and keep going and thats what I did. And then by hour 4 I was physically done. I had hit the wall. I was walking every hill, big or small. It seemed every uphill had huge rock formations that I could just not ride even if I wanted to. Some I had a hard time just trying to walk up with the bike.
All the while talking to myself out loud. Telling myself to keep calm. Don’t panic.
I really wasn’t panicking. It wasn’t a life or death situation. It was more frustration. And I was feeling pretty crappy. No water or food and my knees were hurting with all the walking up the climbs. I did lose it once. Dragging my bike up this steep kicker with tons of rocks I fell and had a short episode. I think I even kicked my bike. I just felt terrible and wanted this to be done.
I settled down, lowered my chin and rode on. From that point I had no more power left to pedal. I kept the bike in granny gear the rest of the back. Coast down until I could pedal the gear, grind slowly up even the slightest hill, then coast down and repeat.
I made it back about hour 5. Beaten. Everything hurt. Nausea. Wasted.
I look around and some are back to camp. How can that be? They would have rode past me?
Turns out they were also not able to ride all the way back and called out for a ride. The truck was leaving as I rolled in to go pick up others. All of a sudden I didnt feel so bad. Turns out if I kept riding another mile or so I would have made it to the lunch site but at the time I had no idea where I was or what direction I was going and flipping it was the safest call under the circumstances.
Once back I stumbled to my car, drove to my room and laid down. While Im sure I needed food I was too sick to eat right away. After not moving for a hour and a half I felt much better. Drove back to camp and had dinner with the group. I would have stayed longer for the bonfire but I forgot a lawnchair and just could not stand up anymore. I said goodbye and was back in my room in bed by 830.
Its now Friday morn and I first feel a little better this morn. Yesterday’s drive home was smooth but I still was out of it. I again didnt eat until I got home around 4pm.
While Wednesday’s ride turned into a death march I still had a good time in the northwoods. Stuff like that happenes when you bite off more than you can chew and with my weight and fitness thats just not hard to do. I should have know to turn back sooner when I saw how hard the trails were. Nobody’s fault but mine. Again, the guys leading the ride were great and I had to insist they not wait for me. And in hindsight many needed rescuing and I made it back unassisted. So there’s that.
Tomorrow morn I’ll feel like riding again and will get a few miles in before work. Sunday will also be a ride of some sort. Maybe cross bike Saturday, MTB on Sunday. That seems to work out to a nice weekend that way.
The weather is great, get outside.