Day 4 - Danny
gets up first and sets to taking care of the sick teammates.
He breaks out the stove and cooks up freeze-dried eggs.
It's amazing how good food in a bag can taste!
It's moments like this that make me realize that we
really are a team and we're all working to get the entire
group through the race together.
We get back on the
trail at 9:30, 12 hours after we stopped.
Colleen is still feeling pretty rough, but she finds
the strength to keep moving. We’ve been
on this bike leg for 29 ½ hours and my
odometer reads 40 miles.
We’re facing a 2000’ plus climb, followed by
a brief downhill and a drop down a canyon on a single-track
blazing sun is baking us.
We’re hiking along talking about what we would
want when we get back to camp.
Both Colleen and I are dreaming of an ice-cold
few minutes later, two hunters pass and I spot a cooler
in the back of the truck.
“Got any sodas in there?”
Three cold Cokes later and the day has suddenly
We top out on this
trail and we’re excited about the possibility of a good,
fast downhill section through Wardsworth Canyon, until
we actually get there.
The trail turns out to be an insane jumble of
rocks, roots, downed trees, overgrown trail, stream
crossings, and the occasional precarious cliff face.
While a considerable portion of the trail is
certainly rideable, we frustratingly walk to keep the
What we had originally expected to last 45 minutes,
and in reality should take about 2 hours, ends up taking
Like other areas of
trail we had been through so far, we hear and see cows
here too. But
this canyon holds a special memory, and will
forever be know as Dead
We arrive at a river crossing about 3 miles into
the canyon. I’m
leading as we come through the bushes and I’m staring
eyes to udder with a cow, freshly fallen, rigor mortis
set in and laying on its’ side in the river.
Eyes open, legs stick straight, and a really
funny sight, in a morbid sort of way.
Colleen is right behind me as I reach the river
and she asks, “What is that”, just to be sure she’s
not hallucinating. “A cow”, I tell her, and we continue on without a word.
The arduous canyon
trek ends at midnight at CP 15A where we find a bottle
of fresh water and a note from the CP staff left 12
hours earlier, wishing us luck.
We’re now 44 hours into the bike leg.
At one point in the canyon, Danny and I pulled
out the maps to check the mileage remaining. Forty-one? This can't
be right. We can’t bear to tell the others.
Tom takes a look at the maps at this point so
he too can get an idea of the upcoming terrain and distance.
We’ve gone about 4 miles since Danny and I counted
and Tom comes up with 37 miles.
My fear has been confirmed…we were right.
We thought we were almost done and now we have
an extra 20 miles to deal with.
We feel like we’ll never make it.
uphill grind. It’s late and everyone is getting sleepy and not doing a very
solid job of fighting off the sleep monster.
Less than an hour into the hike after emerging
from the canyon, Danny announces that he would like
to take a nap.
We stop by the side of the road for a much needed
stop. I continue to insist that we need to be careful of our stops.
Nobody wants to hear me talk about this anymore, but
I’m truly concerned about the possibility of being removed
from the course due to time cutoffs.
Less than an hour later the sleep monster visits
again and everyone begs for sleep.
I agree that sleep is necessary through the race
and that pushing too far without sleep is unwise, but
we've had 12 hours in the last 24 and I try to reinforce
the fact that I’ve been trying to make all along.
You don’t need as much sleep as you think, and
averaging 2-3 hours per night means that you might not
sleep some nights if you need to push through.
You'll make up the sleep time later. Right now,
we’re in danger and we need to push through but
reasoning is lost on sleepy brains.
“Half an hour,” I ask.
There's no answer as the team dig out sleeping
bags and settles into the side of the hill for what
looks like a long nap.
Sleeping bags are a sure sign of trouble because
you get too cozy and never want to come out. My frustration at our too frequent rest stops shows as I tell
them about the danger we face.
“You’re amazing, that you can keep going without
sleep, I just don’t get it,” Danny says to me.
I’m flattered, but also disappointed that they
too don’t see that it’s possible.
I refuse to get too comfortable, instead sitting
on the hill behind them sulking in my frustration, waiting
to begin moving again.
It’s cold outside,
probably in the 40’s, and the body’s natural alarm clock,
the shivers, wakes me up after 30-45 minutes of rest.
I’m up and ready to go.
After 10-15 minutes of coaxing, we’re all on
Somewhere in the night
around this time we break out the mandatory radio and
try to let race management know we’re alive since we've
been out here much longer than we expected.
But I might as well be carrying a brick as we
can’t reach anyone. I’m thinking about how Randy and Jerry must be concerned about
where we are, do we have enough food and water, is anyone
only they knew that we were OK, they could relax and
get some rest.
I imagine that crewing is almost as tough as
the race itself.
I hope Kellie is OK.
What can Randy tell her?
This has got to be driving her crazy!