I've been back home since Friday and I'm very self reflective at the moment. One part of me wants to quit everything and go lose myself in adventure. I have about 6 books right now on various bike tours and other adventures. Willie Weir, Matt Biers Ariel, Cheryl Strayed, Alastair Humphries.
To be honest I'm also feeling negative, like my experience was a failure, rather than accomplished. This is a familiar feeling. One that I've had since I was a kid. My therapist and I talk about something called a nourishment barrier, where a person doesn't let good things in. Usually because bad followed good, and an early mistrust of the good things was formed.
I don't know if that's what is going on, or if I'm just regulating my emotions. If I start to do a comparison of myself to other riders, or even other folks who recount their experiences online, I find myself very self critical. I don't want folks to feel sorry for me, or for people to tell me to feel differently, I just want to note that this is how it is for me. Right now it's like this.
Having put that out there, I think I can talk about Day 2, Monitor Pass. We were approaching from the Topaz side, and it's 9 miles at an average 6.5% grade. Most of the portion between mile 2 and mile 6 was 8%.
The first couple of miles were fine, overcast, pretty even, I adjusted to the constant climbing and we were doing ok. Then the sun came out and we were exposed and the grade was HARD and there were vast distances between us and anything. We were moving at a slow pace, stopping every half mile. I was tired, hot, ready to give up.
Mile 4 I started looking for cars that I could hitchhike. It was not successful. Though a truck with a camper did stop with the intent to give me a ride to the top, turned out they were overheating and he ended up turning around to go down and find another way. He was super nice and gave us water, in the end we decided to camp nearby overnight.
We found a scamp site that had obviously been used before. It looked like the trees had been cleared for logging or something, and there was even a porta potty out on the road nearby. It was a good site near a creek, the bad part was the bugs. Evil biting flies and bad mosquitoes. I set up my tent hidden behind a tree so that I could get inside it as soon as possible.
Then I put on long sleeves and bottoms so that I could ride down the hill and make some calls where last I had cell service. I felt desperate sitting on the side of the road in what felt like the middle of nowhere. Writing this feels overly dramatic. I just want to say thanks to everyone who listened and offered to help when I called.
That scamp site was pretty sweet. Cool. Quiet. The next morning, we rode at a steady pace up a much cooler Monitor, with even a little rain. It was great to reach the summit.
We enjoyed the 'screaming descent' (quote from a Death Rider at the summit) and ate a ton of good food at second breakfast in Markleeville at Ali's Cafe.
Day 3: Monitor mile 4ish ---> to be continued
Mile 7 or 8
V is for Victory.