I wanted to quit yesterday. If a Grayhound bus would have pulled up to Goldstone Pass, I would have paid my fare and taken it to Any-Town-Not-On-The-CDT. Luckily, no such thing exists. It was a bad day in the office.
But, with all situations, I think there’s a takeaway message, and I think this one is: I hate riding with a heavy bike, but I REALLY hate riding hungry, rationing food, and worrying about food lasting.
The thing with this trail is is that we never really know how long sections are going to take us. With hikers, they can predict their milage within 10% pretty easily, most go between 24-28 miles. If it’s a hilly day, a few miles less, a flat road walk, a few miles more. It makes food planning relatively easily…plus there are countless blogs to read to see how long sections take people.
For us, we can range anywhere from 19.5 miles (full day, camp-to-camp) over Parkview Mountain to nearly 80 miles through the Great Basin. So a 90 mile stretch of trail is going to take…yeah, your guess is as good as mine. Too little food, you starve, too much food, you go slow and the riding is miserable and then run out of food anyhow because you’re going so slow.
We’d left Lima saying “Two nights, three full days of riding.” We discussed, on the side, out of public eye, “We’ll probably be out for three nights.” We continued to pack for two nights. I’m not sure where the disconnect happened, especially as we left Lima at 1pm. Pro bikepackers, we are.
We started rationing food 3 hours of of Lima. I started whining that I was tired 3 hours out of Lima. Said two activities persisted for three days and three nights. I felt like a great bikepacking parter (not), which of course put me in an even better frame of mind.
Lesson: It’s not all rainbows and unicorns and I’m occasionally not the most pleasant person to be around, especially after having the hangries for 3 days straight.
Lesson learned: Pack more food.
The riding wasn’t half bad. We met up with Beef and Pepper at Lemhi Pass, filled up on water, saw a giant grey owl (which made Birdy a little envious, I hope she got to see it), opted out of a few miles of vertical trail in exchange for well-graded road, hopped back on the trail for some lovely flat riding through the woods, climbed some hills, descended some hills, climbed some more. It was fairly civilized…or would have been if we’d eaten decently the day before.
Marmot and Gabrielle caught us as we were having a Wi-Fi 4G break before Goldstone Pass. They were so chipper, it improved my mood for the next hike over a rubbly peak and down to Goldstone. I suffered like a dog up the next climb even though it was beautifully build and graded trail.
We descended a handful of long switchbacks down into the next valley and faced a 600 foot climb over a small pass. Scott rode. I walked. I got so angry, thinking about how much more fun I would be having if I could just ride. Good headspace, anyone?
The trailbuilders crammed a couple dozen switchbacks down the other side with about a bike-length of space between each. Scott rode. I walked. I thought maybe hurling a rock off the side of a mountain would make me feel better…but that’s a Y-chromosome thing to do, so I didn’t.
Some glorious trail, which I did my best to enjoy, I really did, brought us to camp just a few miles shy of our turn off to Jackson. We ate fry sauce mac and cheese and some pine nut quinoa salad (pilfered from the hiker box in Lima) for dinner.
I went to bed straight after hoping to convinced myself that I wasn’t THAT hungry. I was done with the day.
30 mile day. Oof.