I DNF’d. After 14,000ft of climbing in less than 70 miles, my lungs weren’t happy, I was feeling a bit dizzy, and the descents on loose chipseal had me concerned. And there was a LOT of descending ahead. Normally that is something to cherish, but in this case, it was bad news. I knew that with only a few thousand feet of climbing left, this shouldn’t have been tough to finish, but I just became overly concerned with my condition. Being alone, riding several hours at night, this tired and spent with sore lungs, I just didn’t feel that continuing was a good choice.
I love climbing, and so it was tough to decide to bail on this. A major issue was that the riders were told to expect about an hour between seeing the sag wagon to refill water and grab more food. The beginning of the day started great. I was climbing swiftly, and was able to refill my water frequently enough. But because I was moving along well early in the day, while a few others were already slowing down, a big spread was forming. I heard that in order to get back to the last riders, the sag skipped a trip to see me in the front. However, over this time, I had climbed over 3,000ft in 2.75 hours since I had last refilled water. Normally 25 miles is nothing to worry about, but this was 6% climbing for several hours over that distance. I started sipping water to ration it, but climbing this much really required taking down a bottle every 1000ft or sooner, and I was falling too far behind on that plan.
I don’t think that this was the only reason, as clearly this was a stupidly tough route to try. But it really was a bummer to expect more frequent fill ups and end up dry on the toughest climb. I really love these routes that get out well beyond where most people would consider riding in a day (the Cascade 1240km being another), but without the proper support, the difficulty changes from challenging to dangerous. I hope to find other crazy routes in the future, but I’m going to be very diligent about making sure there are stores along the way or ensuring support isn’t far away.
Strava: 13,925ft climbing in 78.4 miles = 177ft climbing per mile!