tygertour17

Ride update, 3 weeks too late, but here we are.

 

Well, I have a ride update, 3 weeks overdue, but it's an update.  The ride is over, and not as glorious as I wanted.

Tyger on the Amtrak

The last thing I had mentioned was being in Sandpoint.  What I didn't mention was the problem that I'd been dealing with.  See, a month before the ride, I changed one detail.  I changed shoes.  I wasn't 100% happy with the ones I had, so I replaced them with Five-Ten clipless shoes.  They were tight, but not any worse than my Shimanos when I got those.  In the two weeks pre-ride I thought they would break in.  I was wrong.

The problems began on the second day of riding when the shoes were rubbing against my foot in a way to make it irritating.  It never got better.  By the time I had gotten over 4 climbs and 700+ miles, the blisters had gone bloody.  It all reached a point of no return outside of Mizzoula Montana when I hit a rumble strip and almost fell off the bike in pain.

Years ago I'da ignored it.  Duct tape my body together and keep going because I'm stubborn.  I can't do that anymore.  I'm a diabetic, and one of the things that was hammered into my skull was foot care because I guess diabetics have poor circulation in their extremities.  So foot injuries can deteriorate quickly.  A friend of mine who was a T1 Diabetic had to have her leg amputated due to complications like this.

When you do anything this huge you accept there will be discomfort and pain.  And to that end I sucked up a lot of problems up to this.  On day two I also had a massive nerve damage hit in my left hand that made it so I can't feel three of my fingers, and I'm still dealing with that now a month later.  Normal knee and back pain, that's acceptable too.  But hitting anything on the road causing that level of pain, that was my limit.

Hence the picture above.  I'm happy I brought camping sandals because that's the only thing I could wear on my feet.  With the help of my warm showers hosts and trail angels I managed to make the 100 or so miles to Whitefish, where I caught a train home.

It's been three weeks or so, I've only recently managed to get normal shoes back on.  The blistering is slowly healing, it's still angry looking and not good.  I did manage to get my old, more comfortable shoes back on for a ride the other night but it may have set my recovery back a little more.  It's driving me insane, but I'm just trying to heal up.

The stubborn part of me is saying "heal up, get back out there, pick it up again." but I really don't know if I'm just going to set myself up for another injury like this again.  I know what it took financially to pull this off, and I literally can't afford another failure on this scale.  And ultimately, that's what this was.  A failure.

And before you try to cheer me up, it's been tried.  "Look what you accomplished!" "Look how far you got!" "You tried your best!"  Which is all good, but it's still a failure.  I barely made 25% of the distance I set out to do, and that's a truth that's hard to swallow.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do from here.  I've been just hanging out, waiting for this to heal up enough that I can actually DO Things again, but right now it's driving me insane.  It's been three weeks since I stopped, and all things being equal I'd rather be on the road still.  But, to use a phrase I absolutely hate, "It is what it is."

So a thank you to everyone who poked in and looked, thank yo to the people who supported the ride, and a thank you to people who donated to PanCan.  The donation page will remain open, and my goal still remains.  Hopefully, well we'll see what happens next year.  Meanwhile, I'm just going to be here, healing up.  It's not fun, but it's the best plan I can have.

Day eight : Triumph and failure.

General warning, dictating to phone, you know the drill.

Today today starting extremely early. My warmshowers host graciously let me sleep in their house, and stored my bike in the garage overnight. I'm incredibly grateful to them, and to all the warmshowers hosts. And once again, I'm not naming names because of privacy issues. If they wish to speak up, they're more than welcome too, but I'm not going to do that to them. 

Anyway anyway, today started at 9 a.m.? I really don't know. I set my alarm for about 6:30. It took me awhile to get moving though. I did finally get on the road and rolling properly by 9 a.m. For me, that's impressive. 

The road out of Republic wasn't so bad. It was a nice flat warm up until I got to the 10 plus miles of climbing hell. I posted something on Instagram earlier stating that I think I figured out what hell is. If you believe in hell, I think that hell is 6 degree inclines, on twisty roads, with no Summit. Seriously, every time I came around a corner thinking that the big climb is over? More climbing. 

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That that isn't a pretend face of Agony. That's real. Every time, seriously every time, I came around a corner thinking"this has to be it", nope it was just more climbing. 

I I think I was trying to Summit that damn thing for almost 3 hours. I was getting very saddle sore, I was stopping constantly to refill water bottles and to eat something, it was The Nightmare. 

 

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Finally, finally, I reached the summit of Sherman pass. I'm not out of loud howl, much of the surprise of the three other cyclists who are already there. One was a couple just on the edge of finishing their New York to Maine trip, and third guy I don't know. He kind of left before I really settled down. 

Yes yes, I stalled a little long at the top, mostly because I reached it and I wanted to enjoy it. Then The Descent. The Descent of Sherman pass was amazing. I didn't pedal for almost 10 or 11 miles. And according to Strava, my top speed is 45 miles an hour. That's impressive, considering my age, reflexes, General well-being...

Unfortunately unfortunately for me, the honeymoon ended. The route takes you through Kettle Falls, and the map route immediately Shucks you off the main Highway into rural roads.  And up and up steep hills again. I really felt awful.

I I had a very long debate with myself whether to stay on the highway or not. It looks shorter, but I had to deal with traffic. I ended up following the map route. And it landed me in Colville. 

I should I should mention this to. One of my main goals for today was to make it to the bacon bike hostel. It was another five miles. I just don't have it in me. I reached Colville, and I really could not continue. 

As as it is right now, I'm sitting in a hotel room. I really can't afford to do this too often, but tonight this is what I needed. A hotel room, a shower, a little alone time, and pizza. The great lie of cycling, Pizza. 

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I'm I'm also running into some fairly serious physical issues. My legs hurt, but that's to be expected. However, what I didn't account for was how much scrapes and bruises my shins and calves would take. 

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The the photo doesn't do it justice, it's a hell of a lot worse than what it looks like. And I can't figure out why, because I'm not hitting anything, and most things are being deflected off of me, so I don't know. The other issue, and this is what people who know me understand, my elbow. 

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I've I've had this swelling on my elbow for a long time. Yes, I've seen a doctor about it, he said he's not worried about it. Then again, this is the same Doctor Who told me he could cure my diabetes so take that at face value. But you can see in the picture? My elbow is swelling up from the riding. 

It's starting to get painful, yes. But what can I do? I thought about taping it up, or using some kind of wrap, but I think that would just make the problem worse. At least it does when I'm not cycling. So, I'm kind of just rolling with the punches here. 

Tonight tonight, all of my stuff is exploded out onto the bed. I want to repack it, again. I'm trying to find the most efficient way to do this. So far, no luck. I also want to take a look at my route again, because the last several days just destroyed me. I've already taken a zero, so I don't want to do that again. But we'll see. My next schedule stop Is a small town called Ione. But I need to find out what's there because I don't want to roll into a place that is a nothing again. 

If if you want to get an idea of what I mean? Look up Wauconda Washington. I was hoping for at least a gas station? The town is a post office. 

That, that, and I just want to sleep. I could be just as happy laying in this hotel room sleeping until Sunday. I can't afford that, but I'd be happy with it. 

 

I want I want to make a quick mention before I go, if you're enjoying the blog and the live tracking, please donate to pancreatic cancer Action Network. My goal is to raise $5,000 by the end of my tour, I would love to double that. So you can follow the link in the upper right hand corner of this page that says track tiger or, here's a link to directly donate. 

http://support.pancan.org/goto/TygerTour2017

Day 6-7 :Trail Angels come in more than one form

Once again, dictating into the phone. So by now, I think you know the drill. If it doesn't make sense, read between the lines, something should at least be readable in there.

Yesterday yesterday begin at the Bike Barn and I had a very slow morning. Granted, they're all slow, but in this case there was purpose to that. One of the other Riders to the barn, a writer named Brian whose information I can't find, help me lighten my pack. The bear canister story will have to wait till I get home. But in the short-term let's just say that it, the winter clothing inside of it, the lock, and a few other things jettisoned about 8.2 lb off of my bike. 

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So so of course you have to do something with it, you can toss it on the side of the road, leave it behind for another Rider, or send it back. I ended up sending it back by literally taping the bear canister shut and taking it to the post office. 

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Two to side notes Here. The first one is Winthrop Washington is basically the old west town that you think we should remember? The downtown is so photographically kitschy it's amazing. But that said, I'm very grateful that there was an outdoor store there, because I had to buy a couple of emergency supplies. More on that a little later. 

The the other is that I'm noticing as I'm writing the Northern Tier route I'm seeing a lot of other cyclists doing the same going the other way. Not really a sense of community, as much as a sense of camaraderie. Whenever you see a cyclist and we're stopped at a town like this, there's always a quick conversation of what's up the road what's going on how's things looking? It's a very interesting dynamic. Because we all have one thing in common and we have one goal in mind, but none of the friendships really last it's just there. I don't really mind it though. 

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The the road out of Winthrop was actually very calm and flat. I had a lot of fun writing on those back roads. There was somebody in a post office truck who is delivering mail that I was playing tag with for five miles. Then the road took a really hard left hand turn, and I was introduced to the Loup Loup pass. 

And and here's where we get to the title of this episode. Loup Loup pass, or at least the ascent up to it, is brutal. I say this as somebody from Wisconsin who does not have to deal with mountains on a day-to-day basis. But getting up to the top of Loup Loup was hell. According to Strava, it took me over 3 hours to do the seven and a half miles to the top of Loup Loup pass.

Not even not even halfway up, I ran out of water. And I did something smart in Seattle. I have a water filtration system with me. On one hand this is good because I can get drinkable water through it. On the downside, it usually involves scrambling down a mountain pass to get to the actual source of water. So imagine my surprise when I see this: 

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I was I was tired gazing so hard I almost missed it. But there it is, I start work from cooler, and the words cold water, and a plea of please be safe. 

There's there's a phenomenon that happens on thru hiking trails like the PCT and the AT. People will just help. People will offer assistance to people who are doing these kinds of thru hikes, and apparently two people doing through rides. The act of kindness is usually referred to as Trail magic. The person doing the act is referred to as a trail angel. 

The the cooler was filled with Frozen water bottles, most of them about half melted. There was enough in there that it got me most of the way up of the mountain. There was also a guest book inside of the cooler. And most of the messages read very similar to what I had written. Thank you, so very much thank you.  I I wish I could find out the address of the people who live there, I would love to send them a Christmas card.

Unfortunately unfortunately for me, this was several miles from the top. And Trail Angels Came again, in the form of construction workers about 2 miles from the top. When I was slowly rolling past them, I asked them if there was any source of water anywhere nearby. They said no, but they had a gallon of water in their trunk, and asked if I would like some. 

Of of course I'm going to say yes and I'm going to thank them profusely and I'm going to be incredibly grateful if they were there. Because, to tell you the truth, I was down to about 4 oz of water with two miles of climbing to go. 

I I finally did get to the top of Loup Loup pass, and then The Descent. I have never in my life had a downhill that long, that fast, and that scary fun at the same time. I have GoPro footage, when I get home I will upload it raw. (Well maybe not raw, if I do that the music that might be heard might trigger YouTube) 

I I finally rolled off of that hill, and into this small organic Goods / homegrown stuff shop. What it was doing in the middle of nowhere, I have no idea. But I'm happy it was there. Because the moment I got past the mountains the terrain changed. No longer wasn't lush green forests, it was Desert. I was warned about this, I didn't believe it will be that Stark. 

Eventually eventually arrived in my final town of Omak Washington. I am very happy that I found a place here. There's something going on called Stampede. It's a big rodeo, and one of the things that they do is this downhill horse race. I will employ you to Google it for yourselves, I'm not going to go watch it because I really don't feel like fighting traffic. But suffice to say it's a big deal. And it's quite the spectacle.  

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My host my host here allowed me to stay for one extra day, which help me out immensely. Rest days are important, not only to recharge your body, but also to replenish supplies at you need. And that's what I did today. 

I ran I ran into town to check out the Museum's, I took a quick glance at the rodeo, they have an entire Village set for Native Americans for camping there. (And before you ask, most of them are using teepees, but a bunch are using modern tents) 

And and one dumb thing happened we'll talk about this another time. But I now have three stitches in my right forearm, because I did something stupid. It's one of those situations where I'll deal with the repercussions when I get home. I don't know if my insurance will cover it from here. But, in 10 days, I get to go find an urgent care clinic wherever I am and ask them if they can cut them out. 

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But the but the fact that I found a very nice doctor, a very competent Clinic, and it happened here. I count that is Trail Magic. Had this stuff happened out on the road, it would have sucked a lot more.

My my plan for the remainder of the night? Fine Food, repack on my gear, and get some sleep. Tomorrow is supposed to be over 100 degrees. And if history is any indicator, the roadways going to be even hotter. My only hope is that going over a mountain pass might make it cooler. But, I'm really looking forward to getting over the next Hill. Because and that's one more I don't have to do. 

And one and one more quick note before I go. If you're enjoying this blog, if you're enjoying the feed, if you're enjoying the live streams I'm doing over on Facebook, I implore you to please donate to the pancreatic cancer Action Network. Use the link that is on the track tiger page, and please give. This is a very personal fight for me, the whole reason I'm out here. So whatever you can do, whether it's donating, or even sharing the links. Everything is good and appreciated. 

All update all update when I have internet connection again!