Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Colorado Trail Journey - 2013

The Colorado Trail Race  -  A 550+ mile mountain bike ride from Durango to Denver on the Colorado Trail (hiking Trail)

The weekend of june 8th was one that would alter my training season for the CTR.  During a road biking event that weekend, I injured my right quad muscle, making it swell up like a balloon.  It was difficult to even walk for the next week.
My parents were planning to spend a week in colorado in mid june, so I decided to meet them up there for a couple days and rent a bike to ride some trails with fellow future CTR racer Scott Shirey.  After about an hour of riding, we started up a long climb(maybe 1000 feet).  About 2/3 of the way up that climb, my quad began hurting more and more with every pedal stroke.  Before I knew it, the quad was swelling up over the knee again and I was having to pedal up the hill with one leg as the injured leg became stiff and swollen.  This became a common occurrence every time I attempted to ride my bike in the days and weeks to come.
This is when my friend Mark Allen proposed the idea to me to start our ride a week later than the mass start: What a great idea.  I knew that more time was the only thing that would heal the injury.  The following days and weeks were extremely frustrating.  I'm sure everyone who does endurance related activities can understand the feeling of how frustrating it is to have an injury where the only thing you can do is to wait.  Waiting for something to heal goes against how I am programmed.  When I have an injury, I want to work it to death to force it to get better.  I knew I needed to be on the bike getting in shape and getting ready for the ride.  Yet, I was unable still to ride the bike without causing more pain and discomfort to the quad so I had to stay off of it.  About a week away from my colorado trail start, I trail one more time to get on the bike and see how it felt.  It still didn't feel right.  There was an awkward feeling in the leg indicating that something still wasn't right.  After only a few minutes on the bike, I could feel the pain starting again.
I thought about not going to colorado to save myself the embarrassment of starting the ride only to have to scratch on hour into the race due to an old injury that won't go away.  Instead, I decided to at least go give it a try.  I had a local sports therapist show me how to tape the quad muscle to help take some of the stress off of it during the ride.
After work on friday, I met my parents at my house in Owasso, ok and we began the 13 hour drive to durango (oh joy).  By the time we got to Albuquerque, I knew it was going to be dicey weather to be trying to start the ride the next day, since we could barely drive through Albuquerque with the monsoon coming down on us.  To top it off, I had a horribly deep cough that felt like it was tearing my lungs in half.
The next day as I prepared myself for the ride, I sent my parents to the store to get some mucinex to help me fight off the chest cough then to go to the airport pick Mark up.  Out of the blue I get a phone call.  It's Mark.  Somehow he missed his flight.  Confused, frustrated and relieved all at once.  Confused by how you miss a flight when you are sitting in the airport waiting on it.  Frustrated by the fact that the time window for completing the ride just got a day shorter.  Relieved by the fact that I won't have to bike up to kennebek in the storms that are supposed to be bad that evening and the next morning.
The following day, Mark finally arrived and we headed out towards Velorution Cycles to start our journey.  The air was humid.  The sky was gloomy.  Neither of us were in that great of a mood to start this ride.  It is hard to be in too good of a mood knowing you are voluntarily headed up to no-mans land to face an evil storm head on.
I believe we pedaled away from the shop at 2:43 pm sunday the 28th of july.  As we were pedaling up the road towards the trail, my quad still didn't feel quite right.  My thoughts became more and more negative as I started losing all faith in my injured quad being able to hold up to the challenge.
The climb out of Durango up to kennebec was fairly miserable.  It was so hot and humid one minute, then cold and wet the next: A vicious cycle that would continue for the next couple days.  By the time we had broken through tree line, the storm had opened up on us.  There was no immediate lightning threat, but it was the most freezing cold wind you could imagine with a bitterly cold headwind blowing it right in our faces.  Once we reached the parking lot on kennebec, we retreated to the shelter of a couple trees.  Even though it goes against everything we all know about lightning safety, we felt like the cold and the wet were our immediate threat for the night and not lightning.  I laid awake till maybe 2 hours before sunrise completely unable to fall asleep in the cold, wet and at that altitude.
The following morning, we tried our best to dry out all our things that got soaked in the storm the night before then headed up towards indian ridge.  Indian ridge is evil.  Indian Ridge is even more evil with a 30mph headwind.  It felt like the trail was doing everything it could to keep us from passing.  Mark seemed to be riding and pushing faster than I was on indian ridge.  However, once we were passed Indian Ridge, I noticed he had no motivation to want to push on and get to the next point any faster.  His feet were getting destroyed by the new pair of shoes he was wearing and his grimace towards this ride seemed to be growing more and more negative with every push.
We decided to stop for the night above tree line just below some pass (I forget the name).  Again, it was a cold, wet and very high altitude night.  For some reason, I was unable to sleep yet again.  I just lay there awake thinking about how I really need to be sleeping right now.  I kept thinking Mark was getting up and eating over and over cause I kept hearing his cheese-its wrapper shuffling around.  I realized it wasn't him when he woke and asked if I heard anything getting into his stuff.  We spent the next 15 minutes trying to find the critter.  It was chip monks.  The little thieves were running around our camp site like crazy looking for something to steal.
When the sun arose, I attempted to wake Mark up so we could head up to the top of the pass where the sun was shining so we could get warm.  I eventually left him to pack his stuff while I hurried to the top of the mountain to thaw my hands in the sun.  As I sat there on top of the pass enjoying the warm sun (which had been in hiding the last couple days) and attempting to enjoy an apple cinnamon power bar which was hard as a rock due to the freezing temperatures, I was swarmed by chip monks who were smelling my breakfast.  I thought to myself "the chip monks in this area must all be starved or something".  Just for the sake of my own entertainment after my jaw popped really loud and painfully while trying to chew the rock hard powerbar, I decided to break off a chunk and see if the chip monks would actually eat it.  I was much entertained by the fact that he grabbed the chunk I threw on the ground and sat up on his hind legs holding the piece in his front paws and nibbled on it at an incredibly high rate of speed until it was gone....
After a couple more hours of pushing that morning, we were finally down into silverton for a resupply and a meal.  We stocked up on everything our bikes could hold then headed over to the mexican restaurant to attempt to fill our bellies.  After filling our bellies, we headed up the road towards stoney pass.  Being a road biker/triathlete, these little road stretches were my forte because I could really hammer them out fast.  By the time I got to the hike a bike section, Mark was nowhere to be found.  I expected that due to my background on a tri bike.  What I didn't expect was for him to catch me so fast on the hike a bike: especially knowing his feet were hurting him.  He caught me about halfway up the push but then had to stop to dr his feet.  By the time I reached the top, my stomach had turned upside down.  Guess it was time for more food already.  I had a snickers bar and a gel while I waited on Mark to catch back up.  Pushing his bike up Stoney Pass in those new shoes has destroyed his feet.  I can't believe he kept going with as bad as they looked.
The start of section 23 was rough for both of us.  It seemed like there was no air to breathe.  After maybe a half hour of suffering, we decided to stop and have a snack.  This was the turning point in the whole ride.  All the sudden we could breathe.  The sky was no longer trying to downpour on us.  We were able to get on our bikes and actually ride them.  Even the HAB pushes went much smoother after that.  We arrived at Carson saddle far faster than I ever imagined we would.  We decided to stop and sleep at Carson Saddle.  This meant another great night of no sleep for me at altitude.
The following morning, I tried to wake Mark but he wanted to sleep.  I was freezing cold yet again so I began packing my stuff and heading up the road towards the coney summit to get some sun.  I started to wonder why we kept deciding to sleep on the west size of these ridges instead of the east side where the sun would hit us in the mornings.
As I'm pushing up this evil steep road, I notice the gps track is doing a lot more side to side motion than the road I am on.  It doesn't make sense, cause I'm almost right on top of the track still (within a few hundred feet).  I continue to push to the top.  It took everything I have to push my bike up this hill.  It is so steep that I had to take one step then anchor both feet into the ground in order to have traction to push the bike forward another foot.  By the time I nearly reached the top, I looked back and saw Mark actually riding his bike instead of pushing.  I was like "how the heck is that possible?".  That's when I noticed the trail that switchbacks to the top instead of going straight up like the road.  Oh well... there was no way in hell I was going back down that evil road to go up the trail.  I thought I was going to die the first time I went up it.
Oddly enough, the high point on the trail (Coney Summit) is not only rideable, but it isn't really a summit either.  It would have felt a lot more rewarding to reach the summit of the trail if the summit of the trail had actually been the summit of a mountain.  Instead, the summit is a fairly flat stretch of grass maybe a couple hundred feet below the summit of the mountain that it is on.  Either way, I had reached it and was ready to start going down because my chest cough was doing nothing but getting worse.
I couldn't believe how rideable the whole stretch was all the way to spring creek (with exception to jarosa mesa.... I don't mind steep up hill HAB, but I hate having to push my bike through sections with almost no elevation gain just cause it's too rocky to ride)  it seems like I did sections 22 and 23 in a total of like 8.5 hours of go time.  I remember those sections being horrible in the past.  But this year, they seemed like the most redeable major sections of the whole route.
I arrived at Spring Creek very hungry and very motivated after actually getting to do so much riding in the previous sections.  I sat and ate a snickers bar and frozen burito and chatted with a guy on a motorcycle while waiting on Mark, who I left on top of Coney doctoring his feet wounds yet again.
When Mark made it to Spring Creek, we filled up with water and I expressed to him how I really needed to ride faster and longer in order to make it back to work in time.  I think in the back of his mind, he knew he wasn't going to be able to go on much longer with all the hike a bike to come and his feet getting worse and worse every step... yet, I don't think he quite knew how to pull the plug either.
We left Spring Creek together headed towards Apple's camp.  It didn't take long on the asphalt for me to lose him behind me since my legs come to life as soon as I hit a road section.  That climb up to Slumgullian pass was fast and fun, and the screaming downhill after that was even more fast and fun.  I met my old nemesis on my way up los pinos pass: HEAT.  "DANG IT!! NOT AGAIN!"  I thought to myself as the heat made my stomach boil on the climb up to los pinos pass.  I did everything I could think of to keep myself cool.  I stopped in the shade, I poured the bottle of water on my neck and stomach, I ate extra salt pills.  Still, the heat continued to effect me in a big way.  I had one of those tail winds that only happens on a really hot day: that kind of tail wind that is going the exact same speed as you are going up a hot climb so you get zero convective cooling effects from air movement.
I finally reached the top of los pinos and saw a couple sets of riders that were going the opposite direction.  I told one of the groups of riders to inform Mark that I was going to push as hard as I can to get to apple's camp then take a nap while I wait on him.
I saw another group of riders about 15 miles from apple's camp.. they informed me that apple had root beer floats but that he takes the ice cream home at the end of the day.  That lit a fire under my rear and made me push hard to get to apple.  I could just taste that ice cream on my tongue as I was pushing as hard as I could to get to apple's camp which I was really unsure how far away it was.  I had eaten nothing since leaving spring creek because I knew everything apple had would taste so much better if I was that much more hungry.  I started to bonk hard a couple miles from apple's camp.  I did not know if it was just around the corner or if it was 10 miles away, but I was sticking with my plan to eat nothing till I got there.  Finally I made that turn off the road and saw that glorious sight: the white pop up tent.  But was Apple there? I started frantically looking for a vehicle.  As I approached the tent, there was no vehicle in sight and no Apple in sight.  My heart quickly sank as I realized that even though I had pushed from spring creek to apple's camp in under 4.5 hours in hopes of finding that root beer float, I would not be rewarded with a root beer float for my efforts.  I was rewarded with the most delicious bowl of instant soup, however.
I sat around for a couple hours waiting on Mark before a hiker came walking up to the tent.  He seemed very grateful for finding apple's camp as he had been trying to find decent water for hours only to find cow crap filled puddles instead.  He was planning to stay the night at apple's camp, so I told him that if Mark came through to tell him that I waited on him and could no longer wait not knowing if he had to drop or not.
As I left Apple's camp, I felt a new sense of freedom and liberation that I was no longer going to be touring this ride with a buddy who had his own idea of what pace he wanted to ride at.  I could now ride as hard as I wanted for as long as I wanted and take as few or many breaks as I pleased.  As night fell, I pushed passed where Apple was camped at last year.  This was no longer a warm and inviting place as it was last year.  It was a dark and creepy entrance to what was sure to be a defining night in my ride.  This would be the first time for me to ever be in the middle of the forest by myself at night, and I just so happened to be headed to a place that has been noted as being haunted... great.  As I pushed towards Sargents Mesa, I noticed a freedom in the way I was riding.  I was riding strong and pushing strong and no worrying about what anyone else around me was doing because there was no one else around me.  I was riding more uphills than I thought I could and riding more downhills than I knew I should.  But I was doing it and still kind of having fun doing so just because I thought it was fun to be able to knock out so many miles in one day.  I knew where I wanted to stop for the night and I wasn't going to stop till I got there.  I didn't even know how far I was to the place I wanted to stop since I forgot my trail databook.  Every mile that passed, I was glad I wasn't at my stopping place still because I wanted to take down more and more miles before the night was over.  Finally I was up and over sargents and down to the creek and the other side, which is the place I had in mind to stop for the night.  It was around 3:00 am.  I awoke the next morning to the sunlight.  Not having an alarm, I wondered to myself what time it was.  I started to freak out cause I knew it had to be 8:00? 10:00? how long had I slept?  to my surprise, it was only 6:40.  I was excited to be awake already and ready to knock out some more miles.  As I started the climb from the creek up towards marshalls pass, the fatigue from the night before began to set in.  My eyes were blurry and my mind was completely gone.  I was unable to concentrate on the trail I was riding, yet my body was able to push onwards towards my destination.  Eventually, my mind was able to come back to life and join my body on the trail just in time for me to meet the most evil stretch of hike a bike I've ever seen on my way to marshalls pass.  It may not have been as steep or edgy as the indian ridge HAB, but after the beating that sargents mesa had incurred on my the night before, my body was barely able to come up with the strength to push my bike up every step of this painful stretch.
At marshalls pass road, I met a day biker who was interested in my ride.  He had just come down from riding the next segment.  I think this was the point I became obsessed with stopping day bikers to ask them how hard the next segment was going to be or what I should expect.  Really, the most important thing to me is "when I reach a peak and start going downhill, is that the top or is it just a teaser hill trying to screw me out of all that climbing I just did?"
After this day biker went on his way, I started scattering all my food out as I decided it was time to leave some behind.  I was hardly eating anything but was carrying an astronomical amount of food for no good reason.  While I was doing this, I was having another one of my coughing episodes where I would hack up green junk from my lungs.  A couple guys came up to me on offroad motorcycles and one of them told me he was a medic and that I needed to get medical attention cause my lungs sounded bad.  I told him I would be done in a couple days anyway so I would be good.  Lucky for me, they gladly offered to take all my extra food and trash off my hands when I was unable to find a trash can (thank you guys).
The whole way up the climb to Fooses creek, I couldn't help but to think about Matt Schiff's "no hesitation night descent off the top of Fooses Creek".  I couldn't wait to get to the top and see how bad it really would be to descend that thing on a bike.  As I reached the ridge and peaked over to the other side, I dismounted my bike and walked it down like any sane person would do.... you are INSANE.  The whole way down, I tried to wrap me head around how anyone could ride down that without crashing.
Once I was at the bottom of the steep part, I got back on the bike and started riding down but had to dismount like 10 times over the next mile to walk down unrideable/too dangerous spots.  I kept getting more and more mad at the trail for not letting me ride my bike down the hill.
At the bottom of fooses creek, it felt like emerging into the desert from the mountain forests (I think this is the mount shavano trailhead area?).  I did not like the next segment at all.  It was just steep uphills followed by steep downhills and no place in the middle to gain easy miles.  Almost every up was too steep and loose to ride and every downhill was too steep to gain any speed and get the average mph up.  That section felt like a losing battle because I was constantly pushing my bike up these steep hills only to immediately drop right back down and have all that elevation I just worked so hard for stolen right out from underneath me.
To top it off, this section was not only the first place for me to crash, but it was where my first 3 crashes happened.  The first crash happened on one of those steep loose downhills coming around a corner.  The second crash happened less than a quarter mile from the first crash when I looked down and realized my gps was gone and came to a stop: unable to unclip my feet, I went tumbling down the cliff into a tree.  I left the bike behind to go back to the first crash site and find the gps.... it was nice to get away from the bike for a little bit.  The third crash was on those fast downhill rutted trails in open prairie.  I hit the side of the rut in the trail and sent the bike into a death wobble.  I was able to jump over the handle bars and land on my feet while letting the bike crash by itself on that one.
I made my way down to mt princeton hot springs, getting mad at the trail once again as I had to get off and walk down that last hill on the trail before town because it was too steep to control my bike on.  I made my way over to the restaurant for a very disappointing plate of nachos (don't get the nachos).  After dinner, I headed back up to the trail.  The road grime was a nice little warm up to burn off those extra carbs sitting in the belly after a big meal.  It seemed like everytime I hit a road section, I would start to think about my injured quad and let my mind start playing tricks with me thinking it just didn't feel right.... but it never really hurt the whole ride.
That section of trail between hot springs and buena vista was really fast, fun and flowey.  I couldn't believe how much fun I was having out there riding that stuff.  That is until the last couple miles.  at some point the trail became overgrown, horse tramped and just miserable.  It was a maze of overgrown trails that you couldn't see if something was right in front of you to be able to ride due to the overgrowth.  I ended up getting off course and meandering down some other random trail a time or 2 and losing a good deal of time on that stretch.
I finally broke free of the jungle and headed down the pavement into Buena vista.  I thought city market was open 24/7 till I got there and it was closed.  "Oh well, guess I just need to push to get lunch in leadville tomorrow", so I pushed up the road to clear water reservoir to sleep for the night around 2:30 am.
By the next morning, my cough was really getting bad.  I could push for hours without coughing, but when I had to start coughing, it was completely debilitating and would leave me on my knees unable to move for half hours at a time.  Some of the trails right before twin lakes were pretty fun.  I noticed how anytime you see locals out there riding the trails, they are usually rideable trails.
When I was going through leadville, there was a carnival going on and it was very hard to pass up all the carnival food, but I had a taco truck in mind that I went to last year and I wasn't going to be happy unless I went there.  I arrived at where I thought the taco truck was at last year and it was no longer there..... where is it? anyone know?  I had to settle for pizza hut buffet since there was no way I was going to back track to go to get carnival food.
The heat started to get to me again as I was going over the tennessee pass area, so I was very glad to find a trail magic box which had sun screen in it (I had sun screen, but the stuff I had didn't seem to be helping keep me from cooking).
The start of the climb from camp hale was miserable.  It was so hot and humid.  It felt like I was riding through a swamp.  I had another other of those 'only on a hot day' tail winds and the flies were starting to attack me like I was dinner.  Stopping at a creek to filter some water nearly caused me to lose my sanity as I was swarmed with flies and mosquitoes to the point where I lost my mind and had to jump into the water to escape them.  Oops.. I just soaked my feet and shoes right before a massive hike a bike.  I don't know what other option I had at that point.  I was burning alive and being eaten alive all at one time and had to do something.
As it goes on the colorado trail whenever you are hot, sweaty and soaking wet, the sun decides to retreat faster than expected and leave you soaking wet and freezing cold (thank you sun).  My debilitating cough took control of my body several times on the climb to kokomo pass and between kokoma and searle pass.  That section seemed extremely difficult for me.  Night was falling, I was transitioning from being hot all day to all the sudden freezing and I was having to stop every half mile to sit there and hack up my lungs.  A few hours earlier I was planning to push tenmile that night and now I wasn't sure I could make it down to copper in one piece.  Once I finally crossed the creek that you seem to follow for the longest time, I had to stop and have one more extended coughing session... I guess it was a bad one cause I had a hiker come over who was apparently camping a ways up the trail from me to make sure I was ok and to tell me to go see the dr's in copper the next day.
I finally made it down to copper just before midnight and was relieved to find the registration desk still open and a room still available.  After a long overdue shower, I intended to head to the bar to get some food but passed out on the couch instead.  I woke up just before 11:00 am and headed down to get some breakfast.  On my way out of town I hit the store and this other place I randomly saw honey stingers products at just across from the store... BTW, for anyone who hasn't tried them, the honeystinger chews are amazing (at least the orange and fruit smoothie).
I was finally crossing the tenmile range.  I've waited for this for a while since I had to skip it last year.  This is my favorite kind of climb: There's no flats, No downhills in the middle of the climb to steal all the gains you worked so hard for.  it's just a good ol' fashioned get up and over climb.  The kind you can just watch the elevation on your gps going up fast and you can count down the feet till you reach the top... I like that.
On the way down the other side of tenmile, I was greeted with a familiar face.  It was Scott Shirey who had finished the mass start.  He was out camping along the route with his dog(guess he didn't get enough of it the week before).  Being on an ITT by myself and not having interractions with anyone else who knew what I was going through for days was wearing on me, so it was nice just to share a few laughs with someone who can relate (thanks Scott).
Once I got over gold hill, I hit some trails that were actually fun again.  Crossing hwy 9 was almost impossible till I decided to just go out and force traffic to stop for me.  The trails after hwy 9 I imagine would have been fun on most any day except one where my brooks saddle lost off its tension. My agenda quickly changed to stopping every single biker I saw to try to find anyone who would have something I could retension my saddle with.  There was no way I was going to be able to ride tarryall without crushing my balls if I didn't get the saddle retensioned.  Luckily I ran into someone on my way up Georgia pass who had the right tool and I was able to get that thing to actually support my rear end again instead of just resting all my weight on the boys up front.
That stretch from Georgia pass to kenosha seemed like eternity as I was still recovering from riding with a non tensioned saddle.  Because of this, I decided not to make the push to the finish like I thought I was.  I headed down to the camp ground.  I was more or less disoriented never having been there before and didn't know what was and wasn't a camp ground.  I think I stopped at a picnic area between 2 camp spots and started getting my camping gear out when my old friend the unstoppable cough showed up again.  "I can sit around here and cough in these people's camp site" I told myself.  So I put all my stuff back on my bike and hit the trail.... guess I was destined to make that push afterall.  I'm not sure I like tarryall.  I have no idea what the scenery is like that.  I was glad to be going through it at night after being effected by heat the last couple days though.  It just seemed to last forever.  The worst part is just knowing you are going the opposite direction as you are headed just to make a big loop.  I was so ready to have this ride overwith.  Sometime in the morning, I arrived at the trailhead before the last 40 miles of trail and stopped to lay down for a second at a familliar parking lot.  Luckily, this is a heavy traffic area so I didn't sleep but a few minutes before I was awaken by some cars.
It felt so good to hit the last 40 miles of trail.  I couldn't believe I was finally there.  Almost immediately, it became fast and flowey and in my head I was thinking "Oh my God, this trail is finally loostening its grips on me".  It started to make me emotional, but I had to get a grip on myself and remind myself that this isn't the end any minute now it is going to get hard an uphill again and the trail will once again try to crush my soul.
I kept thinking to how much I like finishing in this direction better because the trails at the end are so much less abusive than the ones in durango.  I thought that until I had to do the one thing that is completely unthinkable to do on the last stretch of trail: Hike a Bike... Down.  What a horrible thing to have to do at the end of a ride like this.  It was really typical for this trail to force me to push my bike up a grueling climb only to have to walk it back down because the terrain was not suited for biking.  I just didn't imagine having to do it within only a couple miles of the finish line.
When I was within a couple miles of waterton canyon, I ran into another mountain biker who told me there was one tiny little hill then it was all downhill from there.  What he forgot to mention is that that 'tiny little' hill was like 500 vertical feet.  Where I come from, that's bigger than any of the biggest hills within hundreds of miles.  And at this point in the race, 500 feet was nearly enough for the trail to crush my soul yet again.

There were herds of mountain bikers on the trails between wellington lake road and platt canyon.  Several of them stopped me to offer congratulations on completing the trail that day.  It was good to have recognition, but it my mind I was almost a little disappointed that I only saw other people on the easy sections.  There were no day bikers out there suffering it out on Sargents mesa or on the brutal hike a bike up to marshalls pass.  There simply aren't people out there who understand (or care for that matter) just how hard this ride is.  I'm sure they look at the fast flowey sections where I ran into other bikers and assume that it must be like riding 500 miles of that.  However that isn't the case.  The thing about the CTR is we ride(and push our bikes through) all the stuff that no day biker in their right mind would even bother bringing their bike for.  This ride is probably the hardest thing I've ever had to do.  It forces you to dig down to the deepest depths to find strength within yourself to keep pushing.  There are moments where it feels the trail has taken all you have and left you an empty shell, yet you must continue to push to meet your goal.  The trail can feel like a prison as halts your progress and will not free you but at the same time, it has the power to liberate you from the life you leave behind in the real world.  It gives you the freedom to challenge yourself and see what you are made of.

Many people wonder why I would do something so difficult.  Simply the answer is because never in my life has any task easier than this been anywhere near as rewarding to complete.

There were moments out there where I felt like I truly could have been a lot faster out there if that was my goal from the start, if I had not had the lung infection or if I had been able to ride my bike to train for the race in the months leading up to the race.  I am extremely grateful for the fact that my quad muscle held up through the whole race.
Who knows.  I may be back next year to really test myself from the start to see how fast I can do it.

My final finish was at 4:50 pm on sunday the 4th of August.  Total time of 7 days 2 hours and 7 minutes.

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