Stupid 24 Hours of Rapelje Account

Moon through branches in the Absarrka Range
Moon through branches in the Absaroka Range

I hope no one reads this because I have things to get off my mind. And before you subconsciously judge me by that first sentence; yes a part of me wants others to read it. The magic of blogging you jerk-a-lopes. And there is my current situation. My kidneys still large and achy, my legs filled with fluid. But I am recovering. I started peeing and now just need to wait for the waist to leave my body. And this post will help me sort out what happened this weekend.

First off what the hell is up with us racer-type-bloggers naming our posts “Race Report”? Like the worst childhood memory is brining the REPORT card home so that I could accept my spanking for being “stupid”. I really love all the judgmental overhead … but that is just my feelings right. Picked up that baggage in early humanhood.

So this is my race account. This is what I remember and to be honest the only mistake I feel was to get caught up in the dysfunctional race mentality. I sound angry? Hell yes. At myself mostly. I feel like a failure. I feel stupid.

When I started to feel that pain in my back just below the rib cage I knew I better stop. I was being stupid. How could I fall into this dysfunctional suffer-fest mentality. And now there was this pain from the swelling of my kidneys and my legs suddenly swelling like sponges soaking up water.

“Make it to that corner”, I told myself, “turn left, and just ride until someone helps you”. “Stay upright … stay upright.”

When I traveled to Rapelje I brought with me a new plan to ride my bike consistently without pain and have a great time setting a personal best.  All without suffering. I know it can be done … the Western States winner this last weekend Tim Olsen uses fat and a low carb diet. He is fat adapted. And he smiles so freaking much he must be having fun. So I wanted to enjoy a big-ol ride and have a blast.

“So this ultra guy is going to try and beat you. His friends told us that he is going to win”, were the first words I hear when I arrived. That is where the unraveling started, my cortisol released and I went out of my mind. The fun race was forever lost. I was so stupid.

“Some guy from Big Sky is gunning for you Bill”, another person stopped by to proudly announce.  like … Is anyone freaking happy to see me?  I should put up a booth entitled “Stop by to tell Bill How He is Going Down”.  I mean why do people do this?  I have never done that to anyone. Or am I just stupid?

I kept the bike upright and must have coasted all the way back to town. It was lap 5. One kind person found me wondering in the street and directed me to a shady spot and somehow convinced me to take a break. At least that is what she told me later when I started to feel better. The more I relaxed the more I started to shiver and prepare to puke. But then that would invoke a cramp .. you know how it goes. The rewards for being stupid. What kind of person willfully wonders around suffering. The beauty of life is to ride and smile. To soak up the terrain.  And ride. Somehow I lost my way. What happened?  I only had good intentions when I lined up for the race. To have fun. And explore my body.

Previously on the first lap I was looking around trying to pick out these hordes of people who came there to kick my ass.  All I knew is that there was these dudes there to do nothing but beat me.  Where were they? The first lap I rode a bit with a front-runner from Missoula … Dave. Cool guy and someone I know for being strong … definitely a guy that wasn’t there to destroy me. I found it comforting to ride with him.  Then it happened. Some guy in a Rockford / Power bar jersey made a move on us. This guy was hanging back with us but now surged ahead on a climb. All team riders surge from the start but this guy hung back a little.  Only a solo rider would do that.  I needed to stay with this person. Right? Or am I being stupid again?

“This is him” I thought to myself, “This is him”. And I tore off after him. And I totally ripped myself apart to stick with him. Untill he just rode away.  Then I saw the Rockford rider zipping up the hill out for lap 2. I was like 7 minutes behind already … ON LAP1.

I slowed down thinking I would try to hold back and not blow up.  Oh yea … one thing. I was fasted and planned to burn fat. I wondered where my body would come up with the energy to cover 40 minutes of all out racing. I figured I would settle back to my plan. Then some solos caught me and just rode my wheel.  Weird because I figured that they should be concerned that we were losing big time to some mysterious ass-kickers out front. I slowed even more and let them go ahead. I did not feel like a social ride at this point.

On lap 2 the two riders I passed in the timing tent caught up and started pestering/talking/chatting me again. I don’t know about anyone else but I went there to ride. Not sit around and talk about life and riding the tour divide. Seemed weird. I wanted to be left alone so I went a little harder; again bailing on my plan. It wasn’t long before was frazzled determined to catch back up to that solo out front. He must be slowing down soon I wondered.  It was like 100 degrees out and hotter than hell. Stupid heat.

One can NOT go hard on body fat alone but can go forever quickly with nothing. Without water … did I say all my water was frozen? A bright idea … why doesnt water thaw out fast when you are thirsty?  And then why wasn’t I stopping to fix my brakes. Why did I need to fix my brakes? For some reason my perfectly tested and awesome bike had really low almost flat tires and the brakes were rubbing real bad.  The squealing was hard to take. Where did the air in my tired go? So many questions … maybe the results of being stupid.

But I was focused. I couldn’t stop to discover my brakes were loosening up. I couldn’t stop to pump up my tires … where did that air go anyway? I couldn’t stop for anything because I felt like there were like 5 super heroes out front intent on destroying me.

I am so stupid.

At the end of lap 4 this one solo rider caught up, AGAIN, and started talking my ear off.  I reported that I didn’t feel well and slowed down to let him ride ahead. I faked like I was stopping twice but he would wait for me. Strangest behavior ever. Back at the scoring table I took some time to check all the score sheets. I was shocked to learn that I was actually maybe leading the race. I learned that the Rockford rider was really on a team.

The only way to tell categories apart was a little marking on the plate.  I had “SM” which meant solo men … right?  The Rockford rider that surged had “5M” … 5 man team right?  Only the person handwriting the acronyms on the plates had such horrible writing skills that all “5”s looked like “S”s. And to make things worse all score cards were mixed up this year making identifying competition almost impossible.

But I was there for fun. To ride. To explore. Why was I caught up in confusion about the super human racers there to beat my ass.  I am so stupid.

I should have known to sit down and re-evaluate. To pump up my tires. To fix my brakes.  And why was my perfectly tuned bike suddenly giving me such grief? I figured I would just take extra vitamins to cover up my discrepancy.  Whatever; I thought. Now I was forced to sit down and evaluate. I was out of the race … in 5 short hours… OUT! Not my decision. My kidney’s decision.

I am so stupid.

4 hours later I took a test lap because I was feeling better and back to eating and drinking.  But now my chest hurt. I figured this year’s race was totally over for me and went to bed. I woke up around 5 and people were still churning out laps. Whatever … I went back to bed. But I couldn’t fall asleep.

hat happened to me? Was my plan actually STUPID? I finally decided to try my game plan all over again. I got up and made some butter coffee. A half hour later I was back out on course FINALLY alone to ride at my original plan.  I felt great and ripped out 4 faster laps then the day before.  I had to do it. To prove to myself that I at least showed up with a good plan. Screw all the misguided jaw yammering and competition.  I know now that if I was there alone I could have held 1 hour laps and set a PR.

That was good enough for me and I drove home. So yea … my account is that I was very stupid. And I plan to remedy this entire thing by canceling some races in favor of some fun stuff. And maybe this will be my first smart decision ever.

6 thoughts on “Stupid 24 Hours of Rapelje Account

  1. Yo, Bill! You are a badass. Period. You, of all people, don’t need to be told that some days are diamonds and some days are stone. Keep on keepin’ on man….hope to see you at PH this year where I’ll definitely be riding for fun.

    1. Very kind words man … thanks. I am going to cut down on paying to suffer and do it for free. Except maybe cut back on the suffrage part. I believe that a campfire, bike-packing, and sleeping on the ground is the way to go. Do you want to team up and do FitzBarn? We can bike pack and eat brats …o/o

  2. Hope you’re not beating yourself up over this. It was all a grand experiment, no? I recently discovered this blog about running and philosophy that plays to my thoughts on endurance endeavors. Reading your post, this passage came to mind:

    “If running is not to be simply the repetition of the normal, if it is not simply narcissistic and self-indulgent, it must work patiently, yes, and madly, yes, towards the obliteration of the incessant vision of the progressive and heroic self that plagues our lives. It is only in such obliteration that experience shows itself: in those moments when the world shifts and whirls and our own selves become not heroic but absolutely alien, trotting aimlessly down the empty pavement. Or when the effort is impossible and yet still gives despite our intents to stop, there at the maximum horrifying intensity. Only there is the experience: there alone is the possibility of renewal. Everything else is tired and brutal mimicry.”

    1. Hi Jill, you know I hold your comments in the highest of regard and respect. But being feverish and cranky right now a couple things furled my brow. Not a grand experiment. Those are like aimless poking at the unknown. I dont feel aimless but instead informed. I have already made the lifestyle change and it has improved everything in my life except being a monster fast super hero.

      Yes, beating myself up because I deserve it. I mean there was a plan and it would of worked out. I proved it the next day. Beating myself up because when the time came I just went with tired and brutal mimicry.

      But I am more determined then ever to find the perfect form. A place where electricity flows at 100% efficiency across my hardened mitochondrial cell walls. Kidding. I just want to have brats and bike pack with a friend.

      1. I get it. You should know that I consider everything in life a grand experiment. But I wasn’t suggesting that you didn’t know what you were doing. You are trying something different than you have for most of your life prior to this year, no? Something out of the ordinary? Recalibration usually takes time. As I said earlier, I respect your journey … however, although I don’t believe absolute “perfect form” is possible for anyone, I do believe it’s possible to test big limits and still occasionally eat brats on a mellow bikepacking trip. 🙂

        1. Are you suggesting we do the tour divide together next year 😉 of course we would have to sign an agreement to not get all rambled up and take off for the record. Have you considered a snow bike great divide. I mean we would have to make a route that uses the GDR that is sno-mo-bile trails and when nothing exists link them all with road sections.

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