JayP Backyard Fat Pursuit Part 4

[Part 2, Part 3]

The Journey, The Teacher

I awoke to Kim covering me up with a blanket but drifted off again. Then my eyes shot open and found that I had been out for 30 minutes. By the time I got myself together and out the door to the Man Cave I had been stopped for an hour.

I rode to the end of Quaker Lane and then over to the Sawtell Resort then doubled back on what seemed to be the snowmobile trail West. But soon I realized something was wrong. No fat bike tracks and the snowmobile trail seemed to disappear underneath drifts. I climbed drifts and walked for about 15 minutes before consulting my GPS. It was now obvious I went off course. I tried to cut over to what I “thought” would be the official route. After 20 minutes of swimming through arm pit deep snow I just returned to the point where I left the course. Which I may add is what you are supposed to do.

Once on route someone pulled up to me looking for  Rebecca. I gave no advice because I only knew she was out here somewhere and reportedly “hurting”. The person convinced me that I was “almost there” … “closer then you think”. Which … I was not.

But in perspective to the entire ride I was almost there and the energy started to return to my pace. I even started to hopefully catch people. I was flying and hoping I was indeed almost there.

Then a rider appeared. I stalked them for about 30 minutes and when they stopped and started walking I rode up. I didn’t want to start racing now because I felt I was getting shelled again.

It was Rebecca.

“Are you OK, is there anything I can help you with”, I asked.

“I don’t know, I am spitting up blood and have asthma …”, her voice trailed off.

She looked pretty bad and my concerns were that eventually she would stop and get cold. “Do you want me to send help”, I inquired.

“No way”, she came to life for a moment. “I don’t have $500 bucks”, referring to the “rescue fee” in the race rules.

“Well you know what to do then …”, I suggested while at the same time berating myself for saying something that stupid. I meant that I had respect for her and I knew she had the capacity to make it out. This was Rebecca Rush for god’s sake.

As I rode off wondering if I should of done more I realized that my energy levels was also draining. I flicked on my GPS and calculated that I was going to be out there maybe three more hours. Still on Stamp Meadows Road I really did not want to ride any more. I thought.  And I went into my “safety place”, a dream state where I could sit on the couch and think about things while outside in the real world my body would be on auto pilot.

I thought about expectations and perspectives. One should not sit in a certain perspective where expectations were possibly unattainable. I mean for me to expect this trail to be groomed was the wrong expectation. And this is what the adventure has taught me. My mind raced back to the last check point when I asked  JayP if the rest of the trail was groomed. The answer was a snicker and finally “No”. I ran into a snowmobile ski rut and stepped off my bike. Nope, not groomed.

When people, both real and imagined, tell you that it is “all downhill” or “your almost there” you should just smile and giggle. Who cares. No expectations means not to buy into it. Be comfortable in the moment and don’t expect these things. I came out of my dream state to focus on my GPS. I was lost again.

I went back and forth on Old Shotgun Road, one of the very few times we got to ride on a road, about 50 yards worth. After settling down I found my way again and rode with new enthusiasm, new trail, maybe almost there, maybe downhill. Good thing I now was not expecting it … because it was all false.

A hard mile or two of power line riding lay in front of me. I checked in with my body and it told me no way. I immediately went into my dream state. I could not bare reality.

I was alone and really I had to keep going. I had been going for almost 30 hours, right? I knew I could keep going. I really did not need didly-squat. I was right where I wanted to be. I was content. I slipped out of my dream state to really savor the rest of the ride. I passed the final test … and was about to graduate from JayP’s “Facts of Winter Life Challenges”.

The last three miles I soaked it all up. This spaces I experienced both real and in my head were rare. It was finally over but it did not need to be.

I rounded the last corner to see my partner waiting and one person who obviously was going to document my finish. I stopped to hug Mo and searched inside myself for the old Bill. The one everyone knew. But he was missing. Nothing left. No competitiveness. Just a mellow adventurer with a new perspective.  With appreciation. And no expectations.The goal really wasn’t the finish and the journey  became the teacher.

4 thoughts on “JayP Backyard Fat Pursuit Part 4

  1. Bill, There is a great deal of pretty intense detail, emotion and very important information in those 4 entries that are worth reading for any endurance athlete, especially one who may embark on JayP’s Backyard Pursuit…almost required reading I might venture. I appreciate your humility in the moments when there may have been, objectively, a more efficient choice on offer. Your “trip” between West and the Man Cave is pretty extraordinary! Sorry I didn’t get more of a chance to visit up at Togwotee last weekend, but I guess I spent most of that time in my own mini-slog, but I will take note of this blog, and hope to meet you again somewhere down the trail. Best of luck w/ your Bozeman lodging, which was never easy from memory.

  2. Great report, Bill. I just got around to reading it. I had to laugh at your comment about trying to cut over to the course when you took the wrong trail. Just the other day I was chatting with Dave Johnston about winter races he directs in Willow, Alaska, and people who try that. “What do you do if they get lost?” I asked. “Oh, it’s no problem, they usually don’t make it very far before they’ve wallowed enough and come back to the trail to go back the way they came.” Everything else seems pretty par for the course for a winter endurance race. Welcome! You’re hooked now. 😉

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