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  • T1 2020 Trip reports

    Here's where you may post your trip report for 2020, make it or not, as long as you were on the calendar. If you have any trouble posting pics let me know and I'll fix the limit on space. Cheers.

  • #2
    2020 Tour of Idaho Attempt Retrospective – Team Armadillo

    We spent almost a full year prepping and planning for our 2020 Tour of Idaho attempt. By preparation, I mean purchasing the necessary gear, accomplishing the necessary bike modifications, but primarily studying the route description and completing an in- depth review of google earth, making navigational notes and adding the additional necessary waypoints. The event organizer (Martin Hackworth) provides the minimum necessary amount of waypoints to guide the route, but those are just starting points for your detailed map study. Navigation on the tour is for real and you are not provided tracks like a Backcountry Discovery Route. You will be navigating over approximately 1,750 miles of mountain single track, across a desert, and miles of two track and forest roads. Some of these trails are so remote that they are not ridden by anyone except those riding the tour. There are different routes for solo riders, two-man teams and three-man teams. You also need to study the other team variants in case you loose a team member during your trip. You cannot study the navigation enough!

    Coming from Texas, we were assigned the team name of “Armadillo”. Martin does not allow teams to select their own names; he picks the team names based on his own judgement and what he determines to be appropriate, which may or may not be related to how big of a pain in his ass you have been, such as asking too many questions instead reading the material provided. He has a relatively low tolerance for “knuckleheads”.

    In the months leading up to the Tour, the event organizer hosts weekly one-hour long live video feeds discussing the tour in detail. It is important to watch all of these sessions. He provides a lot information of trouble areas, tips and tricks, route conditions, best practices and other pertinent information. These sessions are invaluable to your success.

    Initially, we did not agree with many of the recommendations. We felt we did not need to take the recommended rest day after completing day 1. We felt we could make better time than they reported that it took. We felt we did not need some of the recommended/required items and that we would be OK packing more items than was recommended. We felt that we did not need to change tires after completing day 1. Although we did grab onto most of these recommendations prior to our attempt, we were wrong on almost every initial thought.

    The Tour of Idaho is for real. The Tour of Idaho is extremely long and difficult. The days are long no matter what the mileage shows for the day. The days are long even if Martin calls it an easy day. You need to start in the dark every morning and you will likely finish in the dark almost every single day. Sure, we could have rode harder and faster, but we kept reminding ourselves, this ride is 1,750 miles and ten days long. You have to take care of your bike and your body or you will not finish.

    No one remembers those who drop out. I am not sure how many folks will even know your name after a successfully finish. However, we would know and those who follow and are involved with the Tour would know, and they respect anyone who even attempts it because they completely understand how difficult of an undertaking the Tour of Idaho is. Even with the perfect preparation and strategy, you still have to be lucky. You have to have good weather. You have to pray there will be no fires along the route. You have to pray there will not be too much downfall along the way. You have to take care of your motorcycle and pray you do not have any sort of mechanical issue. You have to keep yourself free from injury and have the ability to muster enough energy to continue each day on little sleep. Most importantly, you have to have fun. After all, that is why we signed up in the first place.

    We rode an almost flawless tour. We had done the proper navigation preparation. The bikes were set-up fairly well. We rode the proper pace to take care of the bikes and body. We had a great strategy for obtaining some of the easier additional bonus points along the way so we could bypass some trail late in the tour if it was impassable due to downfall.

    Everything was going perfect, until it was not. How quickly things can take a turn. Just a few hours earlier, Martin went live with a special report on how well Team Armadillo was doing. We just so happened to be taking a break on the Continental Divide Trail and actually had service and got to watch his broadcast. We felt so honored to hear the praise and the fact that our hard work was paying off. Just a couple hours later our tour was over.

    As in aviation, not one thing generally is the cause of a commercial aviation accident. It takes multiple things to go wrong and all align at the same time. This is called this “The Swiss Cheese Affect”.

    Late in the day on Day 6, Team Armadillo exited Lick Creek Road and entered the Power Gulch Trail. Powder Gulch was a new addition to the tour route this year and is an area where they are trying to reclaim old trails overgrown from lack of use. The section was discussed multiple times on the weekly broadcasts, so we were aware that we would need to exercise caution in this area. The trail entering Powder Gulch was clearly a new trail and we were the first team to make it to D6 this year so we would be the first team to attempt the new section. The trail was marked, although not burned in, and we were able to make it to the top to obtain our challenge point. Then it all went wrong.

    Swiss Cheese Affect: As we were approaching the top, our communication headset batteries died and we were no longer able to communicate with each other. We were running low on water. We were exhausted from the six long riding days completed thus far and may not have been thinking as clearly as we should have. We had been doing a little bushwacking from waypoint to waypoint toward the top, as the trail path was not completely obvious. We did not stop and look closely at our waypoint numbering on our GPS’s and overlooked the fact we were supposed to backtrack prior to heading toward the next waypoint. We did not get off our motorcycles and assess the proper direction we should be heading. Therefore, we navigated directly toward what we thought was the next waypoint that took us down a steep side hill when no trail was obvious. This would be the fatal decision that ended with us stuck on a side-hill, exhausted from trying to get our bikes back to the top, out of water with nightfall quickly approaching. We attempted to contact Martin to see if he had any suggestions, however Garmin had been hacked on a ransomware attack and our Personal Locator Beacons communication feature was not working. Had this communication feature worked, Martin would have told us the trail was just a couple hundred yards directly below us and we would have been able to continue on our way.

    We recovered the bikes by noon the next day and could have continued our tour; however, we would have been required to finish the approximately 40 miles of trail we did not complete on day 6 and all of day 7, which was already scheduled to be an extremely long 265-mile day. Truth of the situation was “our tour was over”.

    We were upset that our tour ended unsuccessful at first. It was a major disappointment for something you spent so much time and money preparing for. Not to mention the ding to our pride. However, after another night to sleep on it and while waiting for our shuttle and debrief with Martin, we had already decided to make our second attempt in the 2021 season. After all, we came for an adventure, and an adventure we had. We have learned how to further refine our gear and rigging, understand we need to slow things down and take a break when things take a turn so we can properly assess the situation, and we get to plan for another adventure.

    We are thankful we came out safe. We are thankful for Martin who has spent the time and effort to assemble such an awesome adventure called “Tour of Idaho”. We are thankful for the new group of friends we have met along the way. We are thankful we have been included into the circle of other tour vets. We look forward to our next attempt. Stealing a quote from Martin Hackworth “Life is short and you are dead a long time, and this is the kind of thing that makes what you do between those two points worthwhile”.

    Team Armadillo
    (David Powell, David Lucas)
    Last edited by David Powell; 08-27-2020, 06:57 AM.

    Comment


    • bcarlsen
      bcarlsen commented
      Editing a comment
      Awesome report David(s).Thanks for the report and contributions to the community.

    • mnield
      mnield commented
      Editing a comment
      It was stressful to watch your beacon pings in those last few hours. I wasn't getting much of any else done that day. Sometimes things are just beyond your control, like the site getting hacked. That's just crappy luck. In '18 we were the first team out and made a 6 day run, the physical caught up to us. But I'm still telling stories about the adventure.
      Last edited by mnield; 08-30-2020, 09:04 AM.

  • #3
    Thank you very much David & David for taking the time to share your experience. I've been a "lurker" of the tour for 4 seasons, one day I AM going to attempt it. It always amazes me how quickly the tour can go south for folks.

    Comment


    • #4
      Team Hillbilly 2020 TOI Trip Report:
      https://annessky.net/blog/?p=3155
      It's long, but it does have pictures!
      Cartographer. Trail Rider.

      Comment


      • #5
        2020 Tour of Idaho
        Due to COVID, most of my other scheduled adventures were cancelled for 2020, so I decided to make my 3rd attempt at the TOI, again solo. My goal this time was to ride as clean of a ride as possible and not make mistakes. I wanted to ride up levels on the two and sometimes three-man routes where it made sense as well as pick up some of the bonus routes.
        Day 1
        Having a new course this season I got a 4:45 start, hoping finish early evening. I had a relatively clean day one, except my familiarity of the route had me not watching my TT GPS close enough and I blew past the turn off for a burger in McCammon. I discovered this on top of Incom Pass where my mind had me turning. I did ride the solo bonus trail and arrived at the flagpole around 4:15.
        Day 2
        Another early start out of Pocatello, stopping to roust fellow 2019 finisher, Jeremy Machamer, out of his car sleeping at the trail head. We joked a bit about the craziness of the Tour, and he wished me luck and I was off. I was surprised at the elimination of a large swath of sand desert out of American Falls that has been converted to farmland. As always, Big Southern Butte teasingly stays a distant view for most of the afternoon, but I made it to the top for the amazing 360-degree views with plenty of daylight left as I rolled into Arco for a couple beers and dinner.
        Day 3
        Leaving Arco in the early darkness, I was riding the 2-man route. Climbing the challenging Sands Canyon trail getting to the top as the sun was rising to the east. I rode the bonus loop that has some serious descents on it. Stopping in Mackay for breakfast at the local tackle/coffee shop, I had a great conversation with the owner, who obviously does not ride motorcycles, as he got bored with retirement and went back to work?? The trails from here are mostly 2 track and scenic. I dropped down into my hometown of Ketchum. Finding most of the restaurants overrun with Covid escapees, I decided to skip lunch and get out of the crowds. Here I made a fundamental mistake of putting my helmet over my bar end while getting gas. I had just put the cap on my tank and was turning around to hang up the nozzle when I heard the sickening sound of my bike hitting the pavement. Finding my helmet was destroyed in the impact. I immediately called Martin for input. I had a brand new Klim Helmet in a box in my shop 800 yds down the street but knew this was not an option without clearance. Hoping that having extra bonus points available if needed would help. Martin initially said that, yes, I could go get my helmet and he was going to ding me 1 point. Soon he was calling me back telling me that it was going to cost me 2 points, since I was already wearing my new lid, I was not really in a strong negotiating position. Soon arriving at Smokey Bar Store and surprisingly found 2019 finishers Carrie and Dave Barton visiting. Kaylin knows that I enjoy a cold beer and as always, is a gracious hostess. Dave wanted to chat (a lot) while I was trying to get a few things done to my bike after 3 days riding.
        Day 4
        Leaving later than planned, I said my ‘Thank you’ s” and was in good shape getting up the Paradise Creek switchbacks to the summit of Snowslide for more great views. Having ridden these trails earlier in the season sawing out trees, I was able to move quickly to the summit of Cinnabar. Being a solo rider, I passed on going to the top of Custer Lookout, though everyone should go there sometime. Descending, I came to a large fir across the sidehill that my only option was to drag my bike under. Riding east to the bonus trail to the edge of the Frank Church Wilderness, continuing the 2-man variant rolling off Ramshorn and into Challis around 7. Soon I was in the middle of a Biblical Lightning storm dumping huge volumes of rain. Tucking my bike under the awning, I quickly was off to the restaurant for dinner.
        Day 5
        Starting early had me on the way to Twin Peaks LO in the dark and the rains had left a major impact to the roads. Snapping a couple pictures, I headed down to some of the wildest/rock infested part of the Tour. The Challenge Section for D5 goes to some truly spectacular terrain complete with herds of wild horses. I ran across two older women in a side by side on a hairball descent all by themselves, having a blast. At Taylor Mtn I discovered my front wheel bearings were very loose. I tightened them as much as possible and continued into Salmon looking forward to a new tire change with Josh at Les Schwab. He quickly had my bike back to me with a new GT333 mounted, but bad news about finding any wheel bearings. I hit the local moto shops and the auto parts stores knowing that if I did not find them in Salmon, I probably wouldn’t. Settling on purchasing some picks and a tub of grease I went to my motel and started repacking my bad bearings and tightening them as tight as I could, hoping for the best. (Yes, they lasted fine)
        Day 6
        Starting on the 3-man ride, it was quite cold before sunrise. I found my first downed tree to be sawed out in the dark and was really having fun. I arrived at NF Store and checked in early, ordering dinner and drinks to be left in my room if I got in late. Asking one of the staff if I could grab a picture for my CP. She obviously thought I was some sort of pervert and told me to “get out!” I tried explaining what I was asking for and reminded her I was a guest, all to no avail. “Get out, I have a store to run!” I tucked my perverted tail between my legs and went out and gassed up for the rest of the day. On the newly built trail out of Gibbonsville, way up high, I came across a solo mountain biker, he must be tough as nails. I got back to NF store around 6:15 and was able to get my burrito and a couple beers before they closed for the evening. Finding the evening staff not as worried about a picture with a pervert, I got my CP. Luckily, I was able to wash my very smelly clothes here as well.
        Day 7
        This is the longest day and the most fuel challenged. I was out at my normal 5 AM push and was soon crossing Indian Creek in the dark, the single track in the morning is truly special. Route finding is critical here as these trails are not ridden enough to follow easily. Soon I was descending into a foggy Montana faster than my clothes could keep me warm. Quick enough you are on the Magruder Corridor road over Nez Perce Pass and dropping down to the Selway River. Climbing out of the Selway, I encountered a group of UTV’s having a high speed Rallye, coming at me! Martin warns about being on this road on a Saturday due to the crowds. This year there was a fire near Elk City, and I had information from the Team Hillbilly boys about a reroute and it worked out slick. I was quickly skirting the closed roads and back on course with only a couple of wrong turns. After gassing both of my bags and the bike, I grabbed a quick burger and then used my Cell to alert the Wilderness Inn that I may be late getting in to Lowell and making sure that my room was paid up. They are on Pacific Time, so I had an extra hour that I had not factored in. The Selway Falls road was still closed so I rode the alternate route and it worked out fine. Just above the Selway River I passed a group of UTV riders loading up. Thinking more gas is better than not enough, I spun around and asked if they had any spare fuel, which they gladly gave me. Telling them about the Tour, they told me that they had seen me in Elk City and apparently, they took a short cut while I did not have this local knowledge.
        Day 8
        Waking up to a wet morning, I was not looking forward to the brushy Pete King trail waiting for me. Arriving at the Walde LO @ 5:30, the attendant was not up. This area is getting a lot of logging and I was on freshly graded roads to Fish Butte. Climbing up Fish Creek I was wondering about the many saplings across the trail until I spotted a Sow bear and 2 cubs in the trail. They had been pulling them down and eating the berries. This day was much nicer than the year before when I was in a serious lightning storm at Castle Creek LO hunkered under a rock waiting for the downpour to let up. I had some amazing views at the LO and on the Lolo Motorway. I encountered a trail crew working just past Raspberry Butte. I stopped and chatted with the young man about the tour, thanking him for his efforts. I came across his bike parked a couple miles up the trail. Stopping and leaving a note and a $20, I told him the Tour was buying the beer that evening. While Switchback Hill was still a brushy bash, the beer karma paid off on the freshly brushed-out trail up to Scurvy LO, a highlight. A roadside notice said that the road was going to be closed starting the next day. I soon found a HUGE excavator in the middle of the road digging it out. Stopping and talking to the operator, he said if I came through first thing the next day, it would be no problem. I arrived in Lochsa before the store closed but struck out on raingear for the next day.
        Day 9
        Leaving at 5 AM with full gas bags and hoping I could beat the approaching Pacific storm, I was hopeful the dry morning was to continue. Not. It started sprinkling by 5:30 and continued to rain harder. The 2-man route leads to Rock Garden and Lunde ridge trails. With a break in the rain, I started up Rock Garden with excellent traction. This respite from the storm was short lived and soon the rain picked up. Hoping I could find some riders at the Cedars or camps along the way to buy/bum some raingear from, I was disappointed to find myself alone and getting wetter by the hour. Climbing would bring me to moderate snow followed by rain on the descents. Though my Klim gear is awesome, it is not designed for this type of precipitation and I was drenched. Arriving at the Quartz Creek CP around 10, the view to the West did not show any breaks in the storm. At this point I was very chilled and starting to question if I would finish. Checking maps looking for options, there did not appear to be many. Putting on my dry gloves and eating a couple bars looking for some heat producing energy, I slowly slogged on the snow-covered roads at a much slower pace than expected. Several miles up the road, I came across a camp with a very small backpacking tent. Pulling in, the tent unzips and I have a conversation with the guy about bailout options. The road that will take me to Superior Montana was my closest option. Remembering that this section of trail goes up to the ridgelines and is exposed, I considered my options while riding to the junction. 106 miles in to a 170-mile day, I mentally reviewed my situation. Turn right and the Tour is over, turn left and continue. While I felt that I could continue at that point, I also knew that it was 40 miles of difficult trail to the next good road out and I questioned if I could take care of myself if something went wrong, recognizing the difficulty of getting a fire going. Pondering my options, I decided that my solo attempt was already a riskier endeavor than my family was comfortable with and that with the current conditions, I was elevating it to another level. Sadly, I turned right and rode the 27 miles into Superior Montana and US 90. I found myself reflecting on my Tour and soon was appreciative that I had accomplished as much as I had. In Superior, I called Martin on his Cell and left a message what I was doing and then called my wife, detouring her to to pick me up. Finding a drive-up coffee shop, I was just getting ready to order up a large Mocha when Martin and Team Hillbilly pull up beside me? WTF? They were driving back to Pocatello and got a scratchy cell message from me and pulled in. Jeff Stoess, shaking my freezing hand immediately assured me I had made the right move stopping. I was the last one on course for 2020, assured I was OK, they were back on the road. I drank my coffee and waited for my wife while reflecting on what an amazing adventure I had just participated in. Though a bit disappointed, I knew that a good bit of luck is necessary to finish the Tour and I am a VERY lucky guy for being able to make the attempt.

        Comment


        • #6
          Thanks for writing that trip report. Fun read.

          Comment


          • #7
            Originally posted by Jefff Jensen View Post
            2020 Tour of Idaho
            Due to COVID, most of my other scheduled adventures were cancelled for 2020, so I decided to make my 3rd attempt at the TOI, again solo. My goal this time was to ride as clean of a ride as possible and not make mistakes. I wanted to ride up levels on the two and sometimes three-man routes where it made sense as well as pick up some of the bonus routes.
            Day 1
            Having a new course this season I got a 4:45 start, hoping finish early evening. I had a relatively clean day one, except my familiarity of the route had me not watching my TT GPS close enough and I blew past the turn off for a burger in McCammon. I discovered this on top of Incom Pass where my mind had me turning. I did ride the solo bonus trail and arrived at the flagpole around 4:15.
            Day 2
            Another early start out of Pocatello, stopping to roust fellow 2019 finisher, Jeremy Machamer, out of his car sleeping at the trail head. We joked a bit about the craziness of the Tour, and he wished me luck and I was off. I was surprised at the elimination of a large swath of sand desert out of American Falls that has been converted to farmland. As always, Big Southern Butte teasingly stays a distant view for most of the afternoon, but I made it to the top for the amazing 360-degree views with plenty of daylight left as I rolled into Arco for a couple beers and dinner.
            Day 3
            Leaving Arco in the early darkness, I was riding the 2-man route. Climbing the challenging Sands Canyon trail getting to the top as the sun was rising to the east. I rode the bonus loop that has some serious descents on it. Stopping in Mackay for breakfast at the local tackle/coffee shop, I had a great conversation with the owner, who obviously does not ride motorcycles, as he got bored with retirement and went back to work?? The trails from here are mostly 2 track and scenic. I dropped down into my hometown of Ketchum. Finding most of the restaurants overrun with Covid escapees, I decided to skip lunch and get out of the crowds. Here I made a fundamental mistake of putting my helmet over my bar end while getting gas. I had just put the cap on my tank and was turning around to hang up the nozzle when I heard the sickening sound of my bike hitting the pavement. Finding my helmet was destroyed in the impact. I immediately called Martin for input. I had a brand new Klim Helmet in a box in my shop 800 yds down the street but knew this was not an option without clearance. Hoping that having extra bonus points available if needed would help. Martin initially said that, yes, I could go get my helmet and he was going to ding me 1 point. Soon he was calling me back telling me that it was going to cost me 2 points, since I was already wearing my new lid, I was not really in a strong negotiating position. Soon arriving at Smokey Bar Store and surprisingly found 2019 finishers Carrie and Dave Barton visiting. Kaylin knows that I enjoy a cold beer and as always, is a gracious hostess. Dave wanted to chat (a lot) while I was trying to get a few things done to my bike after 3 days riding.
            Day 4
            Leaving later than planned, I said my ‘Thank you’ s” and was in good shape getting up the Paradise Creek switchbacks to the summit of Snowslide for more great views. Having ridden these trails earlier in the season sawing out trees, I was able to move quickly to the summit of Cinnabar. Being a solo rider, I passed on going to the top of Custer Lookout, though everyone should go there sometime. Descending, I came to a large fir across the sidehill that my only option was to drag my bike under. Riding east to the bonus trail to the edge of the Frank Church Wilderness, continuing the 2-man variant rolling off Ramshorn and into Challis around 7. Soon I was in the middle of a Biblical Lightning storm dumping huge volumes of rain. Tucking my bike under the awning, I quickly was off to the restaurant for dinner.
            Day 5
            Starting early had me on the way to Twin Peaks LO in the dark and the rains had left a major impact to the roads. Snapping a couple pictures, I headed down to some of the wildest/rock infested part of the Tour. The Challenge Section for D5 goes to some truly spectacular terrain complete with herds of wild horses. I ran across two older women in a side by side on a hairball descent all by themselves, having a blast. At Taylor Mtn I discovered my front wheel bearings were very loose. I tightened them as much as possible and continued into Salmon looking forward to a new tire change with Josh at Les Schwab. He quickly had my bike back to me with a new GT333 mounted, but bad news about finding any wheel bearings. I hit the local moto shops and the auto parts stores knowing that if I did not find them in Salmon, I probably wouldn’t. Settling on purchasing some picks and a tub of grease I went to my motel and started repacking my bad bearings and tightening them as tight as I could, hoping for the best. (Yes, they lasted fine)
            Day 6
            Starting on the 3-man ride, it was quite cold before sunrise. I found my first downed tree to be sawed out in the dark and was really having fun. I arrived at NF Store and checked in early, ordering dinner and drinks to be left in my room if I got in late. Asking one of the staff if I could grab a picture for my CP. She obviously thought I was some sort of pervert and told me to “get out!” I tried explaining what I was asking for and reminded her I was a guest, all to no avail. “Get out, I have a store to run!” I tucked my perverted tail between my legs and went out and gassed up for the rest of the day. On the newly built trail out of Gibbonsville, way up high, I came across a solo mountain biker, he must be tough as nails. I got back to NF store around 6:15 and was able to get my burrito and a couple beers before they closed for the evening. Finding the evening staff not as worried about a picture with a pervert, I got my CP. Luckily, I was able to wash my very smelly clothes here as well.
            Day 7
            This is the longest day and the most fuel challenged. I was out at my normal 5 AM push and was soon crossing Indian Creek in the dark, the single track in the morning is truly special. Route finding is critical here as these trails are not ridden enough to follow easily. Soon I was descending into a foggy Montana faster than my clothes could keep me warm. Quick enough you are on the Magruder Corridor road over Nez Perce Pass and dropping down to the Selway River. Climbing out of the Selway, I encountered a group of UTV’s having a high speed Rallye, coming at me! Martin warns about being on this road on a Saturday due to the crowds. This year there was a fire near Elk City, and I had information from the Team Hillbilly boys about a reroute and it worked out slick. I was quickly skirting the closed roads and back on course with only a couple of wrong turns. After gassing both of my bags and the bike, I grabbed a quick burger and then used my Cell to alert the Wilderness Inn that I may be late getting in to Lowell and making sure that my room was paid up. They are on Pacific Time, so I had an extra hour that I had not factored in. The Selway Falls road was still closed so I rode the alternate route and it worked out fine. Just above the Selway River I passed a group of UTV riders loading up. Thinking more gas is better than not enough, I spun around and asked if they had any spare fuel, which they gladly gave me. Telling them about the Tour, they told me that they had seen me in Elk City and apparently, they took a short cut while I did not have this local knowledge.
            Day 8
            Waking up to a wet morning, I was not looking forward to the brushy Pete King trail waiting for me. Arriving at the Walde LO @ 5:30, the attendant was not up. This area is getting a lot of logging and I was on freshly graded roads to Fish Butte. Climbing up Fish Creek I was wondering about the many saplings across the trail until I spotted a Sow bear and 2 cubs in the trail. They had been pulling them down and eating the berries. This day was much nicer than the year before when I was in a serious lightning storm at Castle Creek LO hunkered under a rock waiting for the downpour to let up. I had some amazing views at the LO and on the Lolo Motorway. I encountered a trail crew working just past Raspberry Butte. I stopped and chatted with the young man about the tour, thanking him for his efforts. I came across his bike parked a couple miles up the trail. Stopping and leaving a note and a $20, I told him the Tour was buying the beer that evening. While Switchback Hill was still a brushy bash, the beer karma paid off on the freshly brushed-out trail up to Scurvy LO, a highlight. A roadside notice said that the road was going to be closed starting the next day. I soon found a HUGE excavator in the middle of the road digging it out. Stopping and talking to the operator, he said if I came through first thing the next day, it would be no problem. I arrived in Lochsa before the store closed but struck out on raingear for the next day.
            Day 9
            Leaving at 5 AM with full gas bags and hoping I could beat the approaching Pacific storm, I was hopeful the dry morning was to continue. Not. It started sprinkling by 5:30 and continued to rain harder. The 2-man route leads to Rock Garden and Lunde ridge trails. With a break in the rain, I started up Rock Garden with excellent traction. This respite from the storm was short lived and soon the rain picked up. Hoping I could find some riders at the Cedars or camps along the way to buy/bum some raingear from, I was disappointed to find myself alone and getting wetter by the hour. Climbing would bring me to moderate snow followed by rain on the descents. Though my Klim gear is awesome, it is not designed for this type of precipitation and I was drenched. Arriving at the Quartz Creek CP around 10, the view to the West did not show any breaks in the storm. At this point I was very chilled and starting to question if I would finish. Checking maps looking for options, there did not appear to be many. Putting on my dry gloves and eating a couple bars looking for some heat producing energy, I slowly slogged on the snow-covered roads at a much slower pace than expected. Several miles up the road, I came across a camp with a very small backpacking tent. Pulling in, the tent unzips and I have a conversation with the guy about bailout options. The road that will take me to Superior Montana was my closest option. Remembering that this section of trail goes up to the ridgelines and is exposed, I considered my options while riding to the junction. 106 miles in to a 170-mile day, I mentally reviewed my situation. Turn right and the Tour is over, turn left and continue. While I felt that I could continue at that point, I also knew that it was 40 miles of difficult trail to the next good road out and I questioned if I could take care of myself if something went wrong, recognizing the difficulty of getting a fire going. Pondering my options, I decided that my solo attempt was already a riskier endeavor than my family was comfortable with and that with the current conditions, I was elevating it to another level. Sadly, I turned right and rode the 27 miles into Superior Montana and US 90. I found myself reflecting on my Tour and soon was appreciative that I had accomplished as much as I had. In Superior, I called Martin on his Cell and left a message what I was doing and then called my wife, detouring her to to pick me up. Finding a drive-up coffee shop, I was just getting ready to order up a large Mocha when Martin and Team Hillbilly pull up beside me? WTF? They were driving back to Pocatello and got a scratchy cell message from me and pulled in. Jeff Stoess, shaking my freezing hand immediately assured me I had made the right move stopping. I was the last one on course for 2020, assured I was OK, they were back on the road. I drank my coffee and waited for my wife while reflecting on what an amazing adventure I had just participated in. Though a bit disappointed, I knew that a good bit of luck is necessary to finish the Tour and I am a VERY lucky guy for being able to make the attempt.
            Wow - thanks for sharing, mature decision....reminds me of the saying "there are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but no old bold pilots"....

            What front tire did you use?

            Comment


            • #8
              Golden Tyre 216AA fatty

              Comment

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