Sunday, August 4, 2013

Colorado Trail Race - Race Report

The following blog post describes my experience racing the 2013 Colorado Trail Race.

Pre Race:

Mickey, Sam, and I began the drive to Durango the afternoon of Friday July 19th. To avoid driving late into the night and getting behind on sleep before the race even began, we stayed in Alamosa CO Friday night, and arrived in Durango around noon on Saturday. It took a really long time to drive to Durango, and my back was getting sore, and I kept thinking I was going to have to ride back.

Durango is an expensive place to stay, but for an extra $50 we decided to stay at the historic Strater Hotel in downtown Durango instead of a chain hotel further away. The hotel is a classic old west hotel complete with saloon, and is located just a few blocks from the race start location.

We located Velorution Cycles, the bike shop on Main Street in Durango where the race would begin, and then killed some time walking around main street and visiting the train museum.

We attended a pre-race get together at Carver’s Brewing Co. and met some of the other racers, including race favorite and record holder Jefe Branham.

I headed back to the hotel early to go through my gear one more time and try to get to sleep early.

I wanted to bring enough food to get me to Mt. Princeton Hot Springs in case I rolled through Silverton when everything was closed. I have about 12000 calories here, mostly in the form of nuts and nut bars. I also had a homemade recovery drink consisting of Gatorade and whey protein. ( Lower Right ). My approach to nutrition was to keep the carbs low to ensure that I could readily burn fat for energy, and avoid bonking. I trained with this approach and it had worked well.

I went to bed at 7:30, but not surprisingly I couldn't sleep.

Sunday: Day 1

I awoke at 2:00 am, two hours before the race start to have some breakfast. We walked over to Denny's to try to have a relaxing breakfast, but it was absolutely packed with drunk people. We then headed over to Carver's Brewing Company who was serving breakfast to the racers.

The race started promptly at at 4:00 am with little fanfare and a "Ready Set Go". It's a 560 mile race, so there isn't a lot of aggressive elbowing from the start to the trail head. The first 35 minutes is a nice easy road ride to the trail head, where we began the 6500 foot climb to Kenebec Pass.

Even though this is a race, everyone is pretty cool, but it was crowded on the trail. I found myself getting caught up in the race atmosphere, and going a little harder than I would have if I had been alone. I found that I wasn't feeling great. I'm not sure if it was because I was going a little too hard, or if it was something I ate. It wasn't severe, but still undesirable.

Much of this segment is rideable, but with the weight of our packed bikes on steep terrain, most riders including me started pushing their bikes a few miles from the top. I had pre-ridden Durango to Silverton a few weeks prior to the race, but for some reason it was feeling harder on race day. I wasn't feeling very hungry, so although I was eating some, I wasn't consuming anywhere near the calories I was expending.

Over the top of Kenebec pass we climb up to the knife edged Indian Trail Ridge. I was trying to be efficient and ride through some of the scree, but when I was forced to dismount I slammed my knee on a rock... hard. Strike 1. The knee was sore, but I was able to continue riding, and over the next couple of days it improved and was not an issue. It started hailing a little bit on the ridge while I was up there, but it didn't get real bad and I moved through without getting electrocuted or having to put on my rain jacket. I heard from other riders that it did get nastier on the ridge a little bit later in the day.

Indian Trail Ridge

After Indian Trail Ridge I was actually able to ride my bike again for a while until Blackhawk Pass, which is another 12000+ foot hike a bike.

I found that I seemed much stronger at riding my bike than hiking my bike. I did a lot of training where I would climb steep hills, trying to stay easy and smooth while maintaining a reasonable heart rate. On the first day I found myself passing other riders that were walking, receiving some "Nice Job"s along the way.

However, the name of the game for this race is to keep moving, and I was starting to slow down and stop regularly. I'm not sure why. It may have been lack of sleep the night before, or the fact that I wasn't eating enough, but I started finding myself stopping a lot and taking breaks. I had been dreaming of pushing straight through to Silverton, but I was becoming really inefficient and I still had another six hours at my pace to get to Silverton. So after "Only" about 15 hours of riding/pushing, I decided to get some sleep, around 7:00 pm.

Monday: Day 2

I slept a little too long, but was riding again by 1:00 am, headed for breakfast in Silverton. I came around a corner in the dark to find this large porcupine scrambling up a tree to get out of my way.

I continued to Bolam Pass ( I think ) at 12,500 feet, the last big pass before Silverton. The CT rarely gives you long continuous downhill singletrack, but there is some nice downhill between this pass and Silverton.

Towards the end of the singletrack, I met up With Ty Hopkins and his friend from UT, and we finished the ride into Silverton, and had some breakfast in the cafe, which was really slow. I went to bathroom and when I came back they were gone. Hey, it's race.

After checking in with Mickey, and a quick resupply at the mini mart, I headed towards Stony Pass. The road to Stony Pass was a steep dirt road. In the beginning I was riding it, but it got loose and difficult so I ended up walking it. I was pushing to this pass from late morning to mid day, and it was very hot. The problem with walking your bike is that it can sometimes get comfortable, and you forget that you're allowed to get back on and pedal. It takes energy to get on and off the bike, so ideally you try to figure out whether it's more efficient to push or get back on, but sometimes you just zone out while pushing your bike, and there were times when I ended up asking myself why I was walking my bike down a hill.

I met John Grieg on the push to Stony Pass, and we lunched together at the top. From Stoney Pass to Cataract lake, John and I traded position pushing and biking through this high alpine area. The entire route from Stony Pass to Carson Saddle is above 12,000 feet and at one point gets near 13,000 feet. We were fortunate that the weather was very stable while we were there.

High alpine singletrack

Just before 8:00 pm we reached this lake which I thought was Cataract Lake, but I now think was a pond just Southwest of Cataract lake. I setup my bivy in the thick grass next to this pond at 12,250 feet, after 18-19 hours of up time. As soon as the sun set, the temperature dropped very quickly.

Tuesday: Day 3

I slept "Way" too long the second night, and surprisingly at over 12,000 feet, it was probably the best night sleep I've had anywhere in years. I awoke around 4:00 am, with frost covering all my gear, and headed to Carson Saddle, and on to Spring Creek, where we would begin a long wilderness detour and hopefully get in some fast miles.

An hour or two into the day's ride, I stopped to purify water at a stream. When I returned to the bike, my GPS was off, and despite the fact that I knew it was charged, it would not turn back on. I spent a lot of time playing with it with no luck. This was a big deal. My Garmin 800 was both my navigation system and my bike computer. The lack of navigation was the biggest issue because I was counting on the GPS to get me through some of the complicated turns of two long wilderness detours. Since it was also my bike computer, I didn't have distance or altitude data either.

Once I got home I found that the problem is a software bug in the Garmin that causes it to shut down when a recorded activity gets too long, even though I had installed a large micro SD card. A factory reset fixes the problem but erases all the data. Had I known how to reset it in the field I would have, to at least get the computer functionality back, but it would have erased the CTR course, and I still would have had the navigation issues.

I arrived at Carson Saddle and continued towards Spring Creek. I had my first navigation issue at Jarosa Mesa. I found myself riding down a jeep road that did not feel right. There was mud from recent rains, and I wasn't seeing any tire tracks. I rode back up the road and eventually found a CT marker. I continued riding up the road and found another CT marker. It didn't all make sense, but I figured I had to trust the markers, so I turned around and rode through. It turns out that this was not the CT or the official course. The jeep road connects back with the CT a few miles down. When I reached this intersection I pulled off and started to get my data book out, but just then another rider came by, so I figured it was all good. Only after the race did I discover that I had really gone off course, and was totally panicking about it since officially course deviations are grounds for a "Did not finish DNF". However, other riders have made the same mistake in the past. I decided to report it to the organizer, and he just put an asterisk with a note next to my result.

My track during the course deviation

After eating lunch at Spring Creek, I began the long detour around the La Garita Wilderness area. The detour begins with a paved road climb over Slumgulion Pass, and then turns onto a dirt road, which eventually climbs Los Pinos Pass. Except for Los Pinos Pass, most of this section was down hill, which allowed us to get some much needed miles.

After Los Pinos Pass, I was riding the road when I started feeling some liquid spraying on me. I stopped and found that I had a puncture of my front tire, and the liquid was the Stan's tire sealant spraying on me. As I was inspecting the damage I realized that I was also hearing hissing from the rear tire. I had in fact double flatted somehow. I have never experience this is the ten years that I have been actively riding. Great timing.

Both of my wheels were setup tubeless, and I really almost never get a flat. A tubeless setup works just like a car wheel. The Rim is sealed, and a valve stem is installed into the wheel. The tires is typically seated to the rim using an air compressor, and since bike tires are lighter and less durable than car tires, everyone uses a liquid sealant called "Stan's", which is very effective at sealing small to medium sized punctures.

I was able to get the rear tire to seal itself by pumping it up a couple of times and spinning the wheel. The front tire had a larger cut, that didn't look like it was going to seal, so I started the process of repairing it. When you need to fix a flat tubeless tire in the field, you simply put a tube in. You might be able to fix the tire, but even if you did it is nearly impossible to re-seat a tubeless tire using a small hand pump.

The first step required to put in a tube, is to remove the currently installed valve stem. The valve stem is held in place by a round hand tightened nut. Unfortunately, I could not turn the nut. I tried gripping it with cloth. I tried gripping it with the little handles of the scissors of my pocket knife, but nothing worked. My final approach was to use the screwdriver included in my multi-tool, and try to get the blade to engage the small ridges on the nut, while I hit the tool with a rock. This was a dubious approach since the screwdriver is hinged to the multi-tool and not rigid. It wasn't working, and I continued to hammer with the rock, when three or four guys came by on motorcycles and asked if I needed help. The rules of the CTR are all about self support and doing things yourself. In particular, you cannot call someone to come help you, or get a ride to get your bike fixed. In hindsight, and talking with other riders, I think it would have been acceptable to accept help from these riders, but fortunately as one of the riders was offering to "Accidentally" drop a leatherman on the ground, I hit the multi-tool with the rock and the nut turned. I was back in business. I finished the repair, put my pump in my jersey pocket in case the rear tire leaked a little, and headed off to catch all the riders that had passed me.

I finished the detour with Bob Butrico and Scott Shirey, and we arrived at Apple's tent around 8:00 pm.

Apple is a trail angel, who every year sets up a tent with coolers full of snacks and drinks which he provides to riders at no charge. His tent is considered acceptable support since he provides his service to all riders equally. His tent is an oasis of sorts, since most riders have not had a resupply for a couple of days. For me, his support was not necessary for survival, but it's just a really nice treat after a couple of hard days. Thanks Apple!

Inside Apple's tent I met Forest Baker. He was going to push on for another 13 miles, and since I wanted to push on as well, we rode together. We talked as we rode, and by the time we reached camp, I was telling him to look me up if he was ever in Fort Collins. I think anyone who rides with Forest, hits it off with him. He's just that kind of guy.

As I was setting up my bivy, I realized that I had lost my bike pump ( Which was in my jersey pocket ) on the downhill to camp. This was really bad. The racers were getting pretty spread out at this point, and if I flatted in the next couple of days, I might have no way to repair it. I just had to hope I didn't flat before Buena Vista where I could purchase a new pump.

Wednesday: Day 4

At this point in the race, I hadn't quite grasped the idea of only sleeping four hours a night, so I figured most likely Forest would be up and gone in the morning. However, I had this one mosquito buzzing around my head all night, keeping me up. ( jeeze mosquito, just take what you need and move along ) So I found myself ready to ride when Forest was, and we started for the two segments that would get us to Highway 50.

This day was full of pushing up some of the worst trail on the CT. These trails were not designed with nice switchbacks. Instead much of it was straight up the fall line, eroded and loose. You know it's a bad day when you push your bike forward, lock the brakes, take a step up, and repeat 999,999,999,999 times.

Forest had realized that the Monarch RV Park was only a mile or two down from where the CT crosses highway 50, and that they had a store there. I had actually stayed there a couple times in the past, but had not identified it as a resupply stop. So the goal for the day became to get to the RV park before the store closed. It wasn't looking good. The store closed at 7:00 and we were moving really slowly.

We arrived at the top of Fooses Creek about 6:00 pm and it started looking like we might make the store. On the way down we ran into Jesse Jakomait's wife who was there to take pictures, but had flatted and didn't have a tire tool. Forest, helped her out with a tool, and we raced on to the RV park and the anticipated feast.

We finally hit Highway 50, and sped down to the RV park. We arrived about 5 minutes before they closed. The wonderful women running the store was very accommodating. We gorged ourselves on frozen dinners, ice cream, soda, and Gatorade for an hour, before retiring in one of their camp sites. I also indulged in a hot shower, which was awesome.

Thursday: Day 5

Forest and I headed back up Highway 50 to pick up the CT in the early morning darkness. While segment 14 has a significant amount of hike a bike, it is rewarded with some great singletrack, and ends near the Mt. Princeton Hot Spring, which has another store where we had another large meal of convenience store food.

The next segment was also fun, and ended in Buena Vista, where I was able to purchase a new pump, and a regular bike computer so I would at least have speed and distance. After another food stop, Forest and I headed out to the railroad grade around 2:00 pm with the goal of getting to Leadville before stopping for the night.

This section starts with a 10 mile ride up a former railroad grade, followed by another 10 miles up Highway 24. Once back on the trail, it shoots up steep, but the climb is rideable singletrack, so even though it's a lot of work, I'm so happy to be pedaling and not pushing. The climb takes us up into singletrack through some amazing aspen forests. This is one of my favorite areas on the CT.

Sometime before dusk some storms developed, and we spent half an hour hiding from the rain under trees, and in underpasses.

Around 8:30 pm or so, Forest decided he needed to stop for the night. It had been a long day. I was feeling strong, and sort of amazed that I could ride this long and still have any power in my legs, and maybe more amazed that I wasn't in that much pain from sitting on the bike.

I tend not to use pain killers like ibuprofen for anything but the occasional headache. In the past I've had overuse injuries like IT band syndrome, and these medicines never had any affect, so I didn't really believe in them. Days before I had mentioned to Forest that my hip was hurting from pushing the bike, and my butt was really hurting from the saddle. He asked if I was taking ibuprofen. I started taking ibuprofen and OMG it works so well. It completely eliminated the hip pain and the butt pain. You can also suck the sugar coating off of them, and swallow them before you get to the bitter medicine. They are like expensive skittles. :-)

I continued on towards Leadville, riding alone in the dark in the amazing aspen forests. Around 9:30 pm I see a camp fire up ahead, and hear two people shouting at me. "Help us", "We need help", etc.

I pulled off the trail to find two young ( 20ish ) guys from Illinois in a state of panic. They had been day hiking Mt. Elbert, and had taken a "Shortcut" and gotten lost, and were out of food and water. They had a nice fire going, which was good, and the fact that they had brought a lighter made their situation much better than it would have been otherwise.

I calmed them down an explained where they were, and how they could get out in the morning by following the CT to the North for 3-4 miles where they would reach a number of campgrounds, and if needed could walk out to Leadville. I gave them some of my food, and purified a bottle of water for each of them. I told them they would be fine, and they would have a good adventure story to tell their friends.

One of the young men gave me his mother's phone number and asked me to call her to let her know he was alright.

Jumping ahead a bit, I was pretty delirious from sleep deprivation and exhaustion when I got to Leadville. I decided to call the police, but of course they were closed, and I didn't feel like the situation warranted calling 911. I was so tired that I went to sleep without calling the mans mom. In the morning I called Mickey and related the story to her, and gave her the names and phone number. She called the mom and the police, and the boys did walk out just fine the next morning. She received calls from one of the boys father, as well as calls back from the police and search and rescue thanking me for helping. They knew about the race and understood what we all were going through.

Three and half more miles and I hit the trail head, and started the dirt and paved road sections leading to Leadville. I felt good, but the temperature dropped dramatically. I was getting really wonky in the head, talking to myself, singing, and talking to myself about why I was talking to myself. I was really ready to stop for some sleep.

I pulled off at the Super 8 just outside of Leadville at about 11:30 pm and payed my $100 for a basic room, snuck my bike upstairs to the room, and proceeded to look for the vending machines. The hotel had no vending machines other than two 1979 coke and pepsi machines, that were partially out of order and only took quarters, which I didn't have. I don't know how to explain this, but somehow my inability to get a Coke caused me to mentally shatter into a million pieces. It had been a great day, but now I was devastated. I drank tap water, ate a breakfast burrito that I had purchased in Buena Vista, and some dry frosted flakes from the breakfast room, and went to bed angry and bitter.

Friday: Day 6

Forest texted me at 4:30 am that he had slept late and that I shouldn't wait up. I wasted an hour using my smart phone trying to access some map data that I had uploaded before the race, trying to capture some details on the Tarryall detour which my broken GPS was not going to help me navigate through. It didn't work.

I headed out of town well after sun up. I thought I saw Forest's bike outside a cafe, but my mental state was still so shattered from not getting a coke the night before that didn't want him to see me that way, so I continued on alone.

I passed through Camp Hale, the old 10Th Mountain Division training area, and then up towards Searle Pass. I was really messed up mentally. If there was ever a day that I might have quit, this was the day. I was pushing my bike up Searle, periodically tearing up, and sniffling. Boo F*ckin Hoo. It's fun to laugh at my self now, but it was rough at the time.

As I was pushing up Searle, two women on mountain bikes came down. One of them, ( I later found out was Cyndi Flynn-Hollister ) knew what I was doing and asked how it was going. I proceeded to launch into a full on therapy session there on the trail. "I couldn't get a coke... I'm so tired... I have to push my bike all the time..." She was very encouraging, and let me know that there were more people behind me than ahead of me, which picked me up a bit.

I descended into copper, where a shop in the village allowed my to print off a couple of maps to help me through the the Tarryall detour.

I then found a restaurant where I had a real hot meal including a salad, cheeseburger, Fries and a Dr. Pepper.

Rob, the CEO of the company I work for, and an accomplished cyclist himself, spot stalked me to the restaurant where I was eating. It was great to see him, and I told him some of my stories. I had to keep reminding him that he was not allowed to help me or I would be disqualified. In the end he made up for it by forgetting his wallet, and making me buy his lunch. :-)

If I had wanted to quit, Copper would have been the place to do it, but although it hadn't been a great day, I wasn't even considering it. My race time was not going to be great, but barring an injury or accident, I knew I was going to finish.

I hit the local market, and started the push up the Ten Mile range over to Highway 9. This was all push no ride, but I was use to it now. I met a couple of hikers from the UK or AUS near the top and chatted with them for a few minutes.

I reached the top of Ten Mile as the sun was setting, and started the descent to Highway 9.

A few miles from Highway 9, I rolled through a really nice camp with a fire pit and everything. I couldn't resist stopping for the night. I even built a small fire bundle in the fire pit, thinking a nice fire would be a comforting end to a difficult day. In the end though, I wasn't sure if there were fire restrictions, so I didn't light it. No big deal.

I had been so tired in the evenings that I hadn't really hung up my food. This night I decided to at least hang my pack in a tree. During the night I heard a noise in the tree and shined my light on it. A medium sized animal that I couldn't quite identify stared directly at me and then vanished. Was this a CTR hallucination? I think the animal was a pine marten.

Later that night I again heard a rustling near my bike and saw a squirrel or chipmunk trying to get to some crumbs in my feedbag. I threw some pine cones at it and is scurried off.

Saturday: Day 7

I hit highway nine just after sun up, and proceeded down the bike path to pick up the CT. I missed the turn and had to turn back, but eventually found it. It's not that well marked.

Most of the day was spent riding and pushing up to Georgia Pass. This is another one of my favorite sections of the CT. The singletrack downhill from the top of Georgia Pass to Kenosha Pass at Highway 285 was probably the funnest section of riding for me during the race.

After a late lunch at Kenosha Pass, I headed across the highway for six more miles of CT before the the 79 mile Tarryall detour.

I used my poor printed maps to navigate the first part of the Tarryall detour with only one wrong turn which I figured out quickly. I rolled into the Stagestop Saloon around 6:00 pm. This is an awesome place. The owner tracks the race, and is totally supportive of the the riders, opening his store any time as long as the bar is open.

It was Saturday night and all the locals were there for the dinner special, which I also enjoyed. I had a large meal of breaded chicken, pasta, salad and bread. I finished my meal and purchased some food at the store, and was preparing to leave when it started to rain pretty hard. I decided to have some coffee and try to wait out the rain.

Not long after, Forest caught up with me there, and we hung out for a while and he had dinner.

The rain stopped and we left the Stagestop around 9:15 pm. We rode the pavement and some dirt road for another two plus hours, and stopped for the night.

Sunday: Day 8

We slept for about three hours. It started raining early in the morning, and for the first time during the race I had to grab my rain jacket and cover the top mesh part of my bivy sack to avoid getting wet.

We started the day riding in the rain and dark. The detour was really long, and I had not studied it enough, and thought it was shorter, so it just went on for ever. But this was going to be the last day.

For some reason, I felt incredibly sleepy riding this detour. I was so tired during the last hour or so, that at one point when Forest stopped to take off his rain jacket, I laid down on the side of the road and slept for 4 minutes. I fell asleep instantly. I could hear Forest rustling in the background, zipping and packing, and sensed when he was finished and popped right up, but I totally slept. I felt way better, after 4 minutes of sleep.

We finally made it back to the CT, segment three. There were three segments remaining totaling 40 miles to the end. I wanted to finish strong and be efficient through these final segments so I decided to take a short nap, and let Forest continue alone.

I set my alarm for 17 minutes ( have no idea why I chose 17 ) and went right to sleep. Someone went by with a dog at about the 15 minute mark, and I started getting up, feeling rested.

I rode segment 3 strong without any stopping and ate some food at the next trail head. Again I rode segment 2 well and caught Forest at the Platte River trail head.

This segment has one final long, steep climb out of the Platte River valley, so we pushed our bike up and and over for a couple of hours. We finally topped out and rode the remaining singletrack to the seven mile dirt road that leads to the finish.

Forest and I finished together around 5:30 pm. Mickey and Sam were waiting with a finish tape just a little up from the trail head sign, and Forest's wife and some other riders were waiting at the sign with cowbell. Forest and his wife are having a baby in January, and she had a sign saying "It's a boy".

Both wives had brought food and drink, so we all sat around tailgating, drinking beer and shakes, and eating chips and guacamole, and muffins and whatever else.

Post Race

It was soooooo great to be done!

As I write up this race report, which in itself has taken me over six hours, I realize that the description of the race makes it sound like a fun, challenging adventure.

The reality is, that at least for me, this race was indescribably hard. I want to compare it to something else to help people understand how hard it is, but I don't have any other experiences this hard that I can use for comparison. I want to compare it to combat, or navy seal training, but those are probably harder, and since I have't done either of those, it wouldn't be fair to do the comparison. So again, I'll just say that it's the hardest thing I have ever done.

Am I glad I did it? Yes I am. I didn't enjoy much of the race, but for me a big part of this race was pushing myself to do something seemingly impossible and not quitting. So the satisfaction of finishing will be with me for some time.

Would I do it again? The entire time I was racing, I was telling myself I would not do this again. But, time causes the memories of pain to fade, and memories of pleasure to be magnified, so never say never. However, the training I did for this race was so time consuming that I wouldn't want to do it again anytime soon. I definitely won't be doing it again in the next couple of years.

The race did cause some issues with the body. When undressing at home after the race, I was fairly shocked to look in the mirror. My body fat scale reported my body fat as "Error" three tries in a row, and the next morning reported 1.3%. A full week of eating whatever I wanted whenever I wanted has brought me up to 4.2%, and if I continue eating this way, I will be at 25% by the end of the Summer.

I have nerve damage in my hands and feet, mostly in my feet. My toes are numb, and don't seem to be rapidly improving. I expect it to take months, if ever, to completely recover. I met another rider who still has numbness from racing the CTR in 2010.

I had pain in my right hip from the dozens of hours of hike a bike. The pain is mildly persisting, and I'm hoping it's a muscle thing and not an actual joint issue. Of course I have saddle sores, and for some reason my tongue was really sore. I'm not sure if was from the foods I was eating, or if it just dried out from a 120 hours of mouth breathing.

I lost a number of things during the race including my bottle of electrolytes, tire pump, a ziplock bag of toilet paper ( Which went undiscovered until a very key moment. Forest later said he saw it on his push up ten mile. Hopefully another rider grabbed it and put it to good use )

I need to thank Mickey and Sam for supporting me over the last nine months of training for and doing this race. As I have said the training hours were long, and although we were able to integrate some family time into the training program, I was gone a lot on rides and pre-race overnights. She also put up with my raving calls during a couple of sleep deprived moments during the race, and still showed up at the finish with food and beer. Thank you! I'm looking forward to just hanging out for the rest of Summer.

I would also like to thank Forest Baker for the enjoyable companionship during a number of days on the CTR. The race is an individual effort, not a team effort. Forest an I were careful to never ride as a team, and never drafted or broke any other CTR rule that I'm aware of. Experiences like the CTR remind me that although these challenging experiences can be amazing and are totally worth doing, family and friends are more important. Riding with Forest added something extra to my CTR experience. Cheers Forest.



  1. great ride report. scarred me and made me laugh at the same time.

    1. Thanks. The pain is wearing off and I'm thinking about doing it again. It's too funny that you commented, because I was just watching you do the Stagecoach. Well done!

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