I awoke to sunlight streaming through the leaves of a hard wood tree, probably cottonwood. I heard voices and looked over to see a man standing over another telling him that they needed to get going. I sat up and looked across the grass to a river. It came to me that I knew these people. I had followed them down to this place and just had enough time to grab a pillow and blanket before I fell fast asleep.
I gathered my stuff and sundered over to my car where my directive was to drive home. I said what I needed to say, whatever it was, and began my journey. I left Columbus Montana heading West to Missoula. My thoughts flashed back to just 48 hours previous.
It was Friday and I had arrived in Rapelje with my friend Sten to set up for the 24 Hours of Rapelje. I had already slipping into a self pity shell. Instead of working with Team Muleterro on a pit area I sulked to my own end of the vacant lot to set up what would be my pit area. On my mind was the events that lead up to that moment.
A day before my parents had called me to tell me that they would not be able to come and be my pit crew. About an hour after that I learned of Dave Blumenthal’s death on the Tour Divide. It all really bummed me out. I just wanted to be alone. I headed off to do a pre ride and Sten came along with me.
It was a good pre ride and the course looked as though it would be fast and dry. I was starting to loosen up and the enjoyment of the situation was starting to fill my soul. As we returned to the pit area my heart took another blow. It looked as though my sponsor and friend would not make it. Now I would be without a pit canopy. I bucked it up and tried to keep a positive attitude. I would just go out of the back of my car and use one of Sten’s banquet tables. I would be fine … unless it rained.
It all seemed so little but it all adds up after a while. As my friends fro the Missoula Thursday Night Ride rolled into the field behind my car I suddenly realized I forgot my lighting system. It was over. I decided that I would not race in my second 24 Hours of Rapelje.
People tried to console me and it just made me angrier. Finally I could sit there no longer and think of my situation. It felt bad. I was angry and disappointed. I snapped and started driving back to Missoula. I got back on the Interstate and decided to call Sten and let him know I was going home.
“Come back dude”, Sten pleaded. I was not convinced. “Come on back dude”, he said again.”It is going to be ok. Erik is brining John Curry’s lights. Its going to be ok. Come on back dude”. If it were not for my friends putting up with my tantrum and coxing me back I would of driven all the way back to Missoula. I turned around and tried to relax.
That night I was pleasantly distracted from my situation by passing storms. Rapelje is one of the great places in Montana where you can experience the majesty and power of the weather that tours this great state. It is so flat that you can see multiple fronts and their progressions. This night we were all presented with lightening, rain, wind, and one system that totally looked like a funnel would drop down out of it at any given moment.
At one point we were holding down the Muleterro canopy with all our might as high winds ripped through the pit area.
I signed in and prepared to ride the next morning. I lined up a few friends to help me with water bottles. I still wasn’t feeling like racing until the Muleterro van pulled into town. When I finally saw and put on the lights I realized that indeed everything was falling into place and the race was on.
So … Thank you! John Curry for helping me out with lending me your system and also Ben and Erik of Team Muleterro for driving them from Bozeman to Rapelje.
I felt energized and started to focus on the new goal for the weekend, to get over 200 miles in one sitting. I had the nutrition in place, 350 calories of Carbo Rocket every hour and people to help me prepare it. This plan proved to be more then perfect. I strapped on our new 24 Solo plates (placed in the rear of the bike to let others know that we are soloists and to give us some leeway out on the trail). At around 11 … BANG! The canon roared and I set off running to my bike.