Lansing came and went with a few nice downhills that I knew I'd loathe on the way back. The fascinating architecture on the Veterans Administration's Lansing Campus -- and the old Governor's House would provide a little visual and mental stimulus after seeing nothing but brown fields, barren after harvest, and hearing nothing but buffeting wind.
Winds out of the Northwest were being attenuated by trees and structures as we transitioned into Leavenworth, which sits just on the back door of Lansing. I tried to get a few good shots of the various correctional facilities, but I just didn't have my mind on the camera today. A westward slog into the baleful headwind would take us up to K-92 to cross the Missouri River. We finally get a slight downhill and a decent tail wind for the next few miles.
Some of the expansion joints on this bridge were treacherous enough to eat a wheel.
This was our third checkpoint: an Information Control where a photograph containing the information needed, or your initials and a date stamp (and the information needed hand-written) serve as proof on the honor system that you made it to this control. Note, the windbreaker over my panniers has been drying out since QuikTrip when I changed windbreakers. I'd eventually soak through the second one by the time we got to Weston, but this one had dried out. My panniers look stuffed, but there's just stuff sitting in the bottom of them, poofing them out. I should have probably tightened the straps up and folded stuff instead of rolling it, but I doubt any of this would have saved me today.
I got no pictures from Weston MO other than the ones I already posted. This was coming back through Leavenworth.
Yes, I did just GLOSS OVER everything on the trip between this railroad shack, Weston, and back to Leavenworth (save for the photos I posted live from the road) - Maybe someday I'll get back to that. There were some good times, and some of the worst suffering of the whole trip I'm leaving out.
Once Keith and I got back onto the VA campus again, I was certain that I was jeopardizing his success. I told him to do what he had to do. Drop me and don't look back. Don't stop. Don't worry. Just get to QuikTrip as fast as he could, get his card signed then call me.
A while down the road, I found myself off course. I could get back on course. I knew where I was, but there was no way I was hitting QuikTrip in time. I was more drained at 82 miles than I was at the end of the 134-mile Permanent I had completed. I didn't have 40 more miles in me. The climb from Holliday to Midland, the one from Midland to 95th... Those alone would do me in. I couldn't even get back home on my own power.
Defeated, I called my wife to pick me up, then rode to the nearest highway where it'd be easy to find me. Then, my phone started acting up. It would reboot whenever it recieved an incoming call. This was frustrating my wife who was trying to get clear directions. Fortunately I realized what was going on and called her back.
Shortly after she picked me up, it was 2:56 and my phone rebooted. There's only one person it could be: Keith... and 2:56 is a mere 4 minutes from the Control closure at QuikTrip. I called Keith. Indeed, it was him, and he'd made it by almost as narrow a margin as I had thought. This confirms that even had I not gotten off course, the 200k was simply not in the cards for me today.
When things go wrong, I analyze them. Where I come from, we call it a Post-Mortem. In forensics, post-mortem exams are things like autopsy and the like, to determine the cause of death. In IT (and other project-centered groups), it's much the same. Take it apart and see where the failure occurred. Here's the obvious list:
- Endurance. I had more than 750 miles under my belt in the 30 days prior to the last 200k. I had 300 miles under my belt in the 30 days prior to this one.
- Hydration. Drinking was nearly intolerable between the temperature and flavor of my drinks this time.
- Inexperience. I've never done more than 30 miles below 40 degrees before. It requires a lot more attention to balancing clothing and riding effort to stay warm. I was over-packed and under-prepared.
Oh yeah. Why am I writing this tonight? I spent a lot of time on the brink of bonk, and a lot of time with my heart rate pegged into the 170s for sustained periods of time. I'm still working on getting re-hydrated. My heart still hasn't settled down. I'm wicked tired but my body's doing things that make it impossible to sleep. So here I am.