Next Full Moon

Sunday, May 3rd Full Flower Moon

27 July 2012

Extreme Safety!

You gotta be more than a butt that's booming.

After "sleeping" on my double coach platform (yes, I even pulled out the sleeping bag) I eventually washed up in Grand Junction at 10:10AM.


 My bike was extensively disassembled, so I puttered about on the platform for quite a while, putting the bike together and listening to the Amtrak employee tell me stuff about Freedom and the dangers of heat exposure in the backcountry.

 By 11, I was no disassembled and ready to hit it. My 1st stop was the nearby bike shop for a Latitude40 topo map of GJ and Fruita. After some lunch at Main St Bagels I rolled West on 340, heading for Fruita. I had filled only my 3 36oz water bottles and 1 100oz bladder, thinking to save weight/effort. When I reached Over The Edge Sports (the shop to patronize in Fruita) I axed those guys for pointers and filled all 4 100oz bladders. It was nice to meet you, Greg. It's still a new experience for me to meet the live humans behind computer screens.

 By the time I reached Mary's Loop, gateway to the Kokopelli, it was hot.



 At a certain point along Mary's it was no longer fun. I skipped Steve's. Hottt, loaded heavy and tired is no way to flirt with the edge. At a later point, on Troy Built, it became hateful. Usually, I can keep a sense of humor whilst suffering. I went well past that point. I began to hate. I hated myself for committing to such a stupid plan, and more for not being smarter about it (like I'd "planned") by riding in the cooler hours. I hated Troy Rarik for putting such rotten lines in his loop. I hated you.

Truly, it is rare that I cannot laugh about how bad things get. I knew the jig might be up. I sweat a lot, and my electrolyte balance was out the window. Whose idea was heading from my constantly cool coastal kingdom up to 4,000' of 98* in the shade? What a jackass.

I stopped in the good shady wash, pulled out my pad, and napped for an hour or so. This was an attempt to bring my core temperature down. I was beginning to feel nauseous, and that's an early warning for heat exhaustion.  I poured some over myself several times, but my water was all too warm to help much. It felt hot, not refreshing.

When no more napping was to be had, I got back at it. I immediately felt just as ill as before. I wanted to reach Rabbit Valley as close to 4pm as I could for reasons of my own, so I pushed instead of staying there in the shade as I should have done. I should have waited for cool.

 That above is the cut-off down to Salt Creek to reach the Kokopelli as it branches from the Mary's/Lion's Loop. It is a bitch.

I dropped down and crossed the creek. I wet my socks, bandana, and hat. I was very bitter about any "unnecessary" elevation gain. I could see climbing up that fin was gratuitous, but I knew no other route. After following the train tracks for a bit, the trail turned up. I got off. I began to push. It suuuucked. I settled into a routine of pushing the laden bike an arm's length away and climbing up to it. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. On the (frequent) occasions that a (surprisingly small) rock stopped my wheel, I felt like crying. It was a total emotional breakdown. I have never felt so broken.

I reached Rabbit Valley, and my camp site, as the sun dropped below the horizon. I was surprised to have cell reception. I texted several folks with my dejection- I was cramping and sad. I knew I should sleep on it, but I felt like abandoning. It would have been easy to hitch to Moab as that campground is only a mile at most from I70. Eventually, I rallied and got up from my prone position on the table top to  heat water and make tea and dinner. Then I slept.


seb. said...

heat exhaustion is a damn bad thing.
a few days ago I decided to explore a path on my footbike. I was there early in the morning, so I thought it wouldn't be that hot, especially the harder part of the track would be the first one (uphill). When I was about half the way, the temperature started to go crazy. I was sweating off my soul and the only thing that made me continue was that I knew that going downhill would be great.
When I reached the highest part of the track I decided to stop for a while for some water. At that point cramps kicked in and sweating stopped. I know it's not a good sign, so I decided to rest a little. When I felt ready to go downhill, I got nauseous. Going downhill on a footbike offroad trying to fight back nausea is no fun at all. At a certain point I had to stop and puke. Obviously puking made dehydration worse, my legs were shaking and it was impossible to keep on the board. I felt I was going to collapse in the middle of nothing. I took two hours to get back to a paved road. What a bad experience.

Gunnar Berg said...

The bike is starting to look like it is ready for the Tour Divide. You ever consider it?

reverend dick said...

Not as a racer- that doesn't seem like fun. And there's a whole lot of crappy dirt road sections involved. I think I'd be more innerested in touring sections of it and/or riding sweet singletrack around different places for the same amount of time. I'd also want a suspension fork FOR SURE.

But I guess month long bike trip sounds good however it's routed.