Critical Section


no joy in Baker

Saturday,  10/15/11  11:20 AM

Saturday midnight, Stovepipe Wells. Wondering if I'm going to make it.Well, I didn't make it.  No shame, but I am disappointed.

Sunday night at 9:30, having left Baker and on the road to Kelso, I stopped riding and got in the van.  After having born pain in my feet for two days, it suddenly became unbearable.  I wasn't so much as decision as an acknowledgement; I was again unable to finish the Furnace Creek 508.

This picture was taken Saturday midnight in Stovepipe Wells, icing my feet as I had about ten times during the day.  Wondering if I was going to make it.

If you're a friend or frequent reader you know, I rode this race in 2009 and made it 300 miles. This year I made it 400 miles. That feels like progress, but in one sense this the race is binary; you either go 508 miles and finish or you don't.  And I didn't finish then and I didn't finish now. The reasons were very different but the high-level result is the same. And yet it doesn't feel the same at all.

Here's a profile of the race course; the red lines are the time stations which delimit the race stages, the blue arrow shows how far I made it in 2009, and the green arrow shows how far I made it this year.

no joy in Baker, after 400 miles...

In 2009 I got off to a flying start and cruised into Death Valley four hours ahead of schedule.  Then the winds started to howl and my head blew up and I just couldn't take it.  After resting for a bit in Furnace Creek I struggled in the dark for a while before abandoning in Badwater.  Almost immediately I wished I'd kept trying, and in the two years since I've promised myself there would be a next time, and when there was I wouldn't stop. 

Death Valley: just me and my crew and 200 miles to go...This year I got off to a terrible start, lost my GPS unit and fifteen minutes searching for it three miles into the ride, and had my feet start hurting almost immediately.  By California City I was in serious pain, and switched bikes, pedals, shoes, and everything else to deal with it.  Icing my feet in a cooler seemed to be the only thing that worked, and that only for short periods of time.  I made it Randsburg, iced, made it to Trona, iced, made it through Panamint Valley, iced, and then vowed to summit Townes Pass.  I climbed it - in fine style, if I may say - and then descended down into Death Valley.  Yay; after more ice and a longish rest, onward into day two! 

But day two brought more pain, lots more ice, and lots of lost time while icing.  By the time I reached Shoshone I was running out of time and wearing down.  I vowed to reach Baker, and did.  From there I had 10 hours left to ride, with 120 miles and 7,000' of climbing.  Just barely doable.  I took off for Kelso, and suddenly I couldn't do it anymore.  The exhaustion and strain brought down my threshold of pain to the point where I couldn't continue.  Boo.

I will make a longer post with many of the great pictures which were taken but I must not end this one without thanking my amazing crew, Mitch Albo, Mark Elliot, and Gene Smith.  I also have to tell you about my new bike which was incredible, and about the van, which worked out perfectly, and so many other things ... please stay tuned!

Home
Archive
'13   '12   '11
'10   '09   '08
'07   '06   '05
'04   '03   all
About Me
W=UH
Email
RSS   OPML

Greatest Hits
Correlation vs. Causality
The Tyranny of Email
Unnatural Selection
Lying
Aperio's Mission = Automating Pathology
On Blame
Try, or Try Not
Books and Wine
Emergent Properties
God and Beauty
Moving Mount Fuji The Nest Rock 'n Roll
IQ and Populations
Are You a Bright?
Adding Value
Confidence
The Joy of Craftsmanship
The Emperor's New Code
Toy Story
The Return of the King
Religion vs IQ
In the Wet
the big day
solving bongard problems
visiting Titan
unintelligent design
Shorthorn
the nuclear option
second gear
On the Persistence of Bad Design...
Texas chili cookoff
the inflection point
almost famous design and stochastic debugging
may I take your order?
paper art
triple double
New Yorker covers
Death Rider! (da da dum)
how did I get here (Mt.Whitney)?
the Law of Significance
Holiday Inn
Daniel Jacoby's photographs
in praise of paddle shifting
the first bird
Gödel Escher Bach: Birthday Cantatatata
shining a light
Father's Day (in pictures)
your cat for my car
discovering the third quadrant
Jobsnotes of note
world population map
no joy in Baker
introducing eyesFinder