Thursday, May 28, 2015

Gravel Metric Ride (or was it a race?)

I didn't know what to expect walking onto the USD campus. I was pleasantly surprised by it all. The whole campus resides on one giant city block, which seems fairly easy to navigate given that the law school is in one building only. The meeting with the dean to discuss orientation options went rather smoothly. I was thoroughly impressed with how versed she was with Leadville, I had sent her the link before and we figured out some options. The rough plan is to fly out Wednesday and then fly back Sunday for the first day of classes. She said she would talk to the professors about not calling on me for the first week so I could transition and regroup after; law school is taught under the Socratic method so that was a relief to know, she just wants me physically there the first day of class. She was concerned about me missing a lecture on Thursday by the bar association on character and fitness to talk about the standards set forth about being in law school and a potential lawyer. I wasn't going to mention it but then my dad intervened (I knew I brought him for a reason), "oh, her mother was on that board for 14 years so we can handle that." or something of the variation. That settled it- that would be all I needed for a pass. We spent the rest of the afternoon meeting with a realtor and looking at houses. I'm sure I'll feel much better once I figure out where I might be living so I can get things there sooner rather than later. 

Sully and I then headed to Sioux City and rode mountain bikes, followed by road bikes in Madison, and mountain bike again in White Water, WI at the John Muir trails. All were pretty fantastic, except the road ride, it was a little bumpy. 

The gravel metric was something else. I didn't know what to expect, it's not advertised as a race, but I
Clearly excited about the unknown
could have certainly been fooled. It started with a 5 mile police escort to the gravel; they stopped us and let everyone regroup i.e. let all the guys go pee on the side of the road before starting us again. The ride started and the only advice I had to go on was to stick with a group. Which I tried with the lead group, but they were real fast so I was off the back pretty shortly after. I was riding by myself for a good 5 miles, stuck in between the lead group and the group behind them, not wanting to slow down but unable to reel anyone in. I got lucky when the course took us through a farmer's field, and it slowed some down that I was able to get back on to someone's wheel. I kept thinking the first 15 miles that this isn't going to be sustainable, I'm going to bonk at some point if this keeps up. Around mile 20 I was on my own again when a guy, Brad rode up and I stuck on his wheel, we worked to pull to the next guy and from there the three of us pulled up to the next two and then there was five of us. We stuck together till about mile 40, I chatted with an older lady who was only out there to see "if she could keep up with us youngins" she could. The course takes a 5 miles round about a lake which is over a snowmobile course, so you're really just riding through grass which slows everything down substantially and we were able to catch more people and get strung out through the sections. 

Clearly more excited- look at how fast I look!
I saw Sully on the other side of the forested area right before the check in point. He told me his rider was winning and one of the guys we know from another shop was up ahead and to go catch him. I rolled into the check in point, got my wrist band punched (super casual), right as a big group was rolling out, I had enough time to grab a banana and start fighting to get up to them. It took a while but I finally managed to catch up and slowed my pace when I ran into the guy I knew, who was carrying beer and pizza in his frame bag. I rode with him for about 4-6 miles, enough time to watch him fall into the creek and then he started developing IT issues and stopped to do yoga. I did not have time for that. From there I hooked on to a group of Sram employees and let them pull me in the rest of the way. I did take pulls through out but by then there were seven of us so never for any substantiated time. 

This was the finish line, I think
I was surprised when I finished that I had finished in the capacity that I did. I kept waiting to bonk. Unlike Colorado where a climb is followed by a descent, there were no sustained climbs followed by any descents it was just 68 miles of pure pedaling. I can't say I didn't like it, I'm still not sure if I liked it but I didn't mind it. I don't think I've ever spent as much time staring at the wheel in front of me as I did during this ride. I ended up averaging 17.2 mph over 4 hours- there aren't official results but Sully thinks only 3 or 4 women were in front of me, not that it really matters....

I got bumped by a car last night when I was riding home with Sully. It seemed strange because he was pulling out but had stopped and I was crossing in front of him but only after stopping to make sure he saw me. I'm still not sure how he didn't see me, I had look at him when he was looking at me, so maybe he thought I was clear on the other side already. I went and he rolled forward and then stopped and then rolled forward into me- still not sure how he didn't see any of this happening. He just bumped my back end but it was enough to rattle me. I got off and was on the side walk looking at my bike to see if any damage was done. Everything checked out but I had no idea what to do so I did what seemed logical and just started crying. The driver rolled down his window to ask if I was alright, Sully said I was fine and I was and the bike was so he continued on his way.  I'm sure I'm just extra sensitive to it after my last one being a hit and run. After he left I completely lost it and  my leg started shaking. It's not that I was injured or hurt in any capacity and I knew that at some point this would probably happen again. I was more just shocked by it all. It only left a scuff on my skewer but it popped in his bumper (so, I won, right?). At least he stopped to check on me and it was nice having Sully there to check out my bike right away. I took another minute before getting back on and finishing the 400 yards to our destination. My bike is fine, I'm fine, physically and mentally, it's certainly a different scenario when the guy doesn't drive off but actually stops to check on you. Fortunately these don't seem to be an every day occurrence so I thought I would mention it; let me just repeat, mom, I am fine. 
This was in Iowa, super smooth and fast 

This weekend is the grand junction off road, which is 40 miles. I'm pretty excited for, I definitely feel like I'm getting stronger and from what I hear it sounds like a fun course- I forgot to register online (Chris, can I get on the same program as Bryan with you?)- but it doesn't seem like it's full and offers on the site registration on Friday. And if not I'll just race bandit (haha, kidding, what did I just mention about the character and fitness of law students). 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

This is a Joke, Right!?!

"This can't be seriously happening!" I said as I kept double checking the start date for University of South Dakota's law school. There is no way, Leadville is August 15, with classes starting the 17th and mandatory orientation August 11-14th. And here I thought I would go into Leadville with no real stress, no brain injury, no broken bikes, just smooth sailing to close out this chapter of my life. Every argument against USD has been trumped by it being so cheap, and Kara lives really close so if I need to take a hiatus she has a whole house for me. Except for this - this has certainly thrown a wrench in it. I know the logical thing for most people would to be just miss Leadville this year and hope to do it later. I can't give it up though, I'm so close and so committed. Six months ago this might have been a different story, one where I would be traveling around passing the time till law school not thinking about Leadville, but here I see the finish line. I've tried to figure out the best option but I can't seem to end up with one where I win at both.
45 miles in the rain, I'm clearly enthralled.
I was contemplating this all the other day at work, wondering out loud what I would be like on the first day of class coming straight from racing Leadville, someone pointed out I would be the fittest one there. I'm going to be at USD this coming Thursday, Sully and I are heading to Chicago for a gravel grinder (60 miles on gravel) and stopping there on the way to check it out. I have set an email to explain my unique position and to talk to someone about options when I'm there- I'm hopeful but have some trepidation about it. My dad will be visiting there with me and my mom told me to take him to the meeting. I said I wasn't sure if he would see my argument for how much I want to do Leadville this year and might not understand why I can't just go to law school. She laughed and said that as a lawyer you often have no idea why your client decides something but you still argue for them. If it all works out it will end up being a funny story, but it's not there yet. I have thought about just going to another law school, some have given me enough money that it's not the same but close to USD but then I weigh practicing in SD and this makes the most sense. To have the entire network there and to know most of the lawyers in the state by the time you graduate is invaluable. I know what you're thinking because I'm thinking it too, it seems so silly to think about going to another school because of a race.
Finally got the WBR kit!

It's not just racing Leadville though, I'm really excited about being on World Bicycle Relief this year and want to see that commitment through. Why I want to go to law school stems from the same reason as wanting to be a part of WBR. We'll see what happens, and I'm sure I'll keep you posted. I know that this seems like such an insignificant problem to have and really I should be grateful to be in this position, right?

I have the Gravel Metric this weekend, which is a more casual 60 mile gravel ride and not so much a race. You just email this guy, pay $15, show up and he gives you a handkerchief with the directions on it, so that should be interesting. The weekend after I'm doing the Grand Junction Off Road, which is 40 miles on trail. I'm excited for the GJ Off Road to see how much I've improved in a month (since the Whiskey 50). There isn't too much to do until I figure out what the plan of attack is for everything, except keep riding my bike- and drinking coffee.

Right now I seem to have a lot of anxiety about the law school dilemma; I can't figure out, like most women, how to have it all.


*Disclaimer: I'm sorry if this comes off as I'm an ungrateful brat who should just be happy that I have all the opportunities I do.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Whiskey 50: Back With A Vengeance

"Ugh, how is this happening, again?!?" I expressed my anguish over the weather while I took cover under Sully's team tent. Whiskey 50 was the next day and the weather still didn't look great. I was in my riding clothes trying to pre-ride and stuck watching the ebb and flow of precipitation come down. The saying goes "chamois time is training time" and so I was able to get my pre-ride in by sitting in my riding clothes for an hour constantly checking the weather for race day and questioning why I voluntarily chose to come back. 

The rain wasn't suppose to start until noon for our race, but I wasn't convinced. I even stashed a third set of winter gloves behind the bladder in my camelbak just to guarantee they would remain dry. I even debated wearing shoe covers, Sully thought that was a little much but the constant flashbacks of last year had me questioning his rationality. 
All the layers!

The morning of the race I woke up and stepped outside to be pleasantly surprised with only a crisp chill in the air and cloud coverage, but no rain, no snow. I still put on a long sleeve base-layer, jersey, arm warmers  vest, and long sleeve jersey. As well as a hat, buff (to cover my neck), winter gloves and knee warmers, but no shoe covers. Sully talked me into leaving my long sleeve jersey with him at the start line which later I was grateful that I relinquished it. The start began with a bang (literally multiple guns), and with a rough game plan of trying to get as far up the front as possible to get on the single track first. I took off and began the longest training ride on my mountain bike of this year. Getting on the single track was effortless and I was surprised at just how much of a different race it is when you ride everything. At one point on it the riders bottlenecked and
everyone had to get off, not sure what was happening I was a little anxious. The lady behind me must have picked up on it and assured me it was fine, we were in 5th and 6th place so no reason to panic. I wasn't as conscious about my place as I was trying to make sure I didn't get cold again. 

The single track was really fun and over too soon. The next section is a fire road down to the turn around point, Sully told me it wasn't worth trying to mash down it and just ride it. I ate some food on the way
Steady decrease...
down- unfortunately I hadn't done the best job wrapping it in aluminum foil and so the peanut butter went all over my face as I tried to squeeze it out (good thing I already have a boyfriend!). At the turn around I grabbed a full banana without dismounting and  began the trudge back up the hill. The first 11 miles weren't bad at all, the last three were brutal. I had a bit of a biomechanical with everything beginning to ache. I just had to get back to the single track and so I schlepped along, and didn't put up much a fight when I would get passed. At some point during  long endurance races I find it becomes less of a race against everyone else and more of a race against yourself. I was at that point, I just needed to finish. 

This was before cramp hill...or after
I reached the single track and every ache I had seemed to go away. I'm sure it was more mental in knowing I was almost done and back to the fun. I've followed enough of Sully's wheels to feel pretty confident with my descending skills at this point. There was one concern I had and that was "cramp hill" I was informed that most people cramp on it but it's only about 4 minutes so if you have to get off and walk it's not too bad. I kept riding and each little hill would wonder if it was it, and then I wouldn't cramp and so would wait for the next one. This continued until I reached the pavement and realized that I still have no idea which hill was cramp hill. The last miles on pavement are still mostly down hill, I was  so excited that I was actually going to finish I didn't even care when it started raining. I came across the finish line and was so relieved that it was over with no snow- and no need for a third pair of gloves! 


All done! 

I ended up finishing 9th overall for women. Those last three miles on the hill I got passed by 4 or 5 girls and was only able to catch back up to one. It's early enough in the season that I'm happy with how I finished and I know I have somethings to work on; like preventing biomechanicals and doing a better job wrapping my food. Sully and I went for a ride in Prescott on Monday and wouldn't you know the weather was near perfect. So much so that one of the girls on his team is convinced that I'm the one who brings the bad weather. 
Skies out...thighs out



Friday, April 17, 2015

Trails That Lead Home

That's what I hear...
It's official, I signed up for the Whiskey 50...and got into law school (still waiting to hear from Harvard buuuuut I'm not holding my breath). It took less than a week to hear back from two schools (jury is still out if they even read my application- see what I did there?). It's nice knowing that I at least have some place to go in the fall (once I figure out if that's the cheapest place or the one with Whole Foods closest- only kind of kidding.) Knowing I'm in has made me definitely realize that the things I'm even slightly inclined to do-  I probably should just do them because the next three years won't warrant as much free time to go ride my bike. 

I took a break from thinking about law school to go to Fruita with some friends. We started with riding Friday in Buena Vista. Having never ridden the trails it is definitely
worth a trip back, if for nothing but the views. Fruita was great, for some reason I thought it was going to be warm and it was but not during the night in the tent, when I couldn't feel my toes. Riding in the exposed hot sun is brutal- you feel like you rode farther than you did and you need more sunscreen than normal. All in all, it was nice to take a break and just ride and camp. I think I'm starting to see what the appeal is with going to the middle of nowhere and sleeping outside (but don't get me any camping gear for my birthday- I'm not there yet).

I took Sully up to South Dakota for Easter. Unfortunately there aren't any trails out my back door yet; but there are some cow trails that we were able to improvise on. We had only planned on riding around 2 hours (I had already ridden one when I met up with Sully). Somehow we ended up on the wrong cow trail (I know all trails lead home, but not necessarily the most direct way). We ended up on a ridge looking at the house and had to backtrack another hour to get back. 
See the trail?
See our mistake? 
 It didn't hurt to spend more time on the bike but we'll have to go back and really map them out (or get Wayne to redirect the satellites for us)





Last week was my biggest time wise spent on the bike so far this year. It required some creativity in getting all the time in with work- I realized I should probably eat something before taking off on a 4 hour ride (I already knew this) but sometimes it's hard to get anything in at 6 in the morning. Working on it though. James pretended he wanted to buy brown rice hot cereal (because I'm allergic to most of the easily accessible breakfast foods) and said I could have some (isn't he nice?)
Some improvising while riding

Fundraising for World Bicycle Relief is going well, I'm at 20% of my goal! I have some more ideas in the works to get the word out- don't forget you can still donate!  
http://teamwbr.worldbicyclerelief.org/kate-ginsbach




Tuesday, March 10, 2015

"Every Passion Has Its Destiny"- Billy Mills

Chills, Anyone?
If you have never heard Billy Mills talk, put it on your list of things to do. Go find a podcast or youtube video. It's really an incredible sensation to listen to him describe winning gold in the 10,000 meter run at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. I remember listening to him describe the race and finished thinking I could accomplish anything! He was an underdog going in and a full minute slower than the favorite in the preliminaries. With two laps to go in the race there were only two other runners with him in the lead group. Down the final stretch, Mills describes the race where he is contesting the others and getting pushed around and at that moment he realizes that this is the closest he will ever be getting the gold medal. With that he surges ahead and wins the race. He goes on to talk about how he took on moment and turned it into a lifetime of giving. He co-founded a nonprofit group Running Strong for American Indian Youth. The group aims to fulfill basic needs of American Indian people and help communities gain self-sufficiency and self-esteem.


Might have to start focusing more than I have been...
I think of that speech a lot going into Leadville this year. I still get chills thinking about it. With the thought of going to law school this fall (acceptance, pending), I figure this is the closest I'll be to having the resources available to me, the time to train, and the overall well being to really go for it and try to get sub-9. Which means taking 1:20 off my time...no biggie, right? I have 100 miles to do it, actually 104. I actually got a coach for this year, who seems to fully back my crazy idea of crushing my PR (probably helps I'm paying him to believe in me). It's actually nice, I just get on my bike and ride, no guess work or thinking am I riding hard enough, far enough, fast enough. I just supply him with my numbers and he takes it from there.

The biggest thing I'm excited for about Leadville is that I was given a spot on the World Bicycle Relief team (only four spots). WBR provides specially designed, locally assembled bicycles to students, healthcare workers and entrepreneurs in rural Africa. What a great way for me to use my passion to help others be connected with education, healthcare and economic opportunities. Part of being on the team means I have to raise $5,000 for the group. I feel like it's the perfect opportunity for me to give back. I have gotten so much out of cycling in my life, that providing a bicycle to someone who really needs it not only  gives them a new bike, but a new outlook. If you want to donate you can at 
http://teamwbr.worldbicyclerelief.org/kate-ginsbach

Training officially started this past week, with a field test and lots of intervals (okay, not that many but definitely more than I was doing this winter!). I'm pretty excited for this season and to experience all that comes my way! 
Yay for riding 65 miles with friends!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Winter Training

Winter training hasn't involved much biking, well it has, but not the focused kind. After White Rim I took some time off and went up to South Dakota to work on my mother's judicial campaign. Which was a lot of fun and a lot of work. It began to light the underlying thought about law school.
One of the many supporters showing maximum support!

So warm!
I spent a few days in San Diego with Sully's family for Thanksgiving, it was strange, eating Thanksgiving dinner outside in 95 degrees. I didn't hate it. We spent time at the beach and went on a few runs.

The beginning of December I spent mostly in the library finishing a paper on Tuberculosis in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, for a graduate class. Which also sent the spark about law school burning brighter as many injustices stem from poor policies in place or even lack of a policy to hold people accountable. It also made me realize how much I miss being in a college library, with only the occasional drunken student running through and banging on trash cans during St. Patrick's Day. The public library attracts a bit of a different crowd-- one man brought his own mustard in and kept squirting it directly into his mouth. Not exactly my study food of choice.
Wayne loves taking photos

Sully came up to South Dakota with me for Christmas. Frank expressed his excitement by informing me, "I got him a present so he better get me something" nothing like the spirit of Christmas. We took our cross bikes and rode around and discovered some very under utilized trails.

Sully headed down to Austin when we got back for Cyclocross Nationals. With him gone I spent most of the time studying for the LSAT and watching "The Good Wife", which I attributed to studying because it's all about lawyers. 

I got a new bike in January, a Superfly FS 9.9- a full suspension cross country bike. I wasn't a fan of the color on the 9.8 and the 9.9 is fully customizable. The shop let me get it under their demo program and pick the colors. I think I did a pretty good job, although Wayne's first impression was, "it sounds like a hippy threw up".

February was weird enough weather that we spent the first half riding out side in a little more than jersey and shorts.
Usually requires a little "oomph"
I went to Hall with Wayne and Sully and make it up the big rock a few times which always makes me feel like a badass.
Wayne loves it when I take pictures
The weather finally realized it was Winter and so Sully and I headed down to Sedona to visit his parents and ride in 75 degree weather.
No snakes were seen this trip!!
Unfortunately when we came back it was still winter and thus back to riding the trainer and dreaming of Spring. I officially start tomorrow training for the Leadville 100 so thought I would catch you all up before jumping right back into it. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

White Rim: The Most Epic of Adventures

"What section of White Rim are you guys doing?" Sully asked. Not sure how to respond I said, "Uh...all of it...". "Okay, do you have an exit strategy?" He inquired. "Yeah, finish it and exit." That wasn't quite working for him. "What if something happens?" He probed. "Call Alex." "What if you don't have service?" "Ahh, we'll be fine. Don't worry." This conversation took place at 9pm on Friday as I was heading to Moab to ride the 103 mile White Rim trail the next morning.

The beginning of any adventure begins with getting there-Ha!
Dana and I had been talking about riding White Rim for a while and the opportunity presented itself when we'd have some friends there the same weekend. Done. We roughly had a plan, start around 8, go clockwise, just keep pedaling, and plan for anywhere between 9 and 12 hours. The route is about 75 miles on double track along the rim with the final 25 miles being on gravel and pavement going back to the start near the visitor's center in Canyonlands. We thought it would be best to leave a car near the 75 mile mark and shuttle the start. After a little putzing around, like sitting down to eat breakfast, we left Moab to park my car and begin. The road to park my car required some negotiating, the double track was rutted in some places and had massive rocks in others with sand pits scattered in between. I was grateful we wouldn't have to ride up it in the dark.
Hour 1 selfie
We got to a "Y" and were surprised not to see any other cars but didn't think much about it. We loaded up into one car and took off for the start. We pulled back onto the highway and about half a mile later saw the road sign for where we should have parked the car. "Uhhh." "Ohhh!" And then we both hysterically broke into laughter and laughed so hard that we cried. Alex pulled over and asked what we wanted to do. "Muh, we'll figure it out. We can always hitch hike to the car or have you come get us." After some confusion on where the start was we were finally on our bikes, it was only noon.  Don't worry we brought the guide book and a big map.

Guys couldn't hang
The start was great with a nice 3 mile descent into the canyon. About 15 miles in we came on a group of older guys riding it. We asked where they were stopping and then told us (about 10 miles from where we were) and that they started around 10:30. When we casually told them we were doing the whole thing they seemed flabbergasted. Dana and I rode with two of the guys and the guy I was riding with seemed to want to push the pace so I did. After going around a bend I decided to wait up for Dana. The guy stopped with me to wait for his friend as well. We saw Dana get off the bike but couldn't figure out what she was doing. The guy I had been riding with expressed his concerns about Dana being able to finish. I started laughing and informed him that she's one of the top ultrarunners around and knows how to do endurance.  He was stunned and offered me some cliffblocks, which I was about to tell him that I was carrying about 6,000 calories with me but the Wayne in me interjected and saw it as free food so I took it and thanked him. Those guys took off and Dana caught up saying she had to stop to go to the bathroom. We laughed about the fact that they were only doing 25 miles today and were concerned about us when we started 90 minutes after and still caught them. We also wondered what they do at camp all day, like why not keep riding?

The views never got old
After that we faced a steady incline, the kind you don't realize you are riding uphill until you turn around. It was only made worse by the fact there was a nasty headwind. When do we turn around and get the tailwind? We rewarded ourselves at the top with skittles. We kept cruising right along running into only two more groups riding. One lady was very excited, "That's just fantastic! Two girls, just two girls riding into the dark! Doing the whole thing! Just two girls!" Dana replied with, "Yep! Just two girls pedaling" which was our motto from there on out.

We kept saying how lucky we were because we have the best views watching the sunset from the top
of a hill. We were then greeted by a friendly family when we stopped by a campsite to put our lights on. We chatted and took them up on their offer for a buffalo chicken sandwich. They made sure we didn't need anything else before we continued. As we were walking away I quietly told Dana that my light was dead. She fumbled around in her bag and produced another headlamp. Good lord, it's not like I don't have access to multiple other lights and I pick the one that can't hold a charge. 

Dana crushing!


We took off into the night with about 17 miles left. Riding at night was pretty awesome. You could never quite tell when you were next to the rim except for a feeling of vast emptiness lurking right there. We even contemplated telling Alex to sit this one out, we were going to do another loop.
We were certainly slower in the dark but didn't fret much about it as we were only going to mile 73. Plus, the temperature had cooled off a bit making it more enjoyable riding weather.

The last 17 miles were pretty uneventful. We both fell, but it was more of a slow motion get stuck in the sand and then fall over, which if nothing else was more comical than anything. With some more navigating we got to the campground right around 10. Two people came out and asked if we needed
water, which we both had plenty of. What we really wanted was a ride but they weren't picking up what we were dropping down. Seven miles was the next push, and we figured we'd probably see Alex sometime soon.

The seven miles were flat and dead-ended into a "T". If we turned left it took us two miles down to Mineral Bottom, where we had initially planned on parking. If we turned right it took us up a ridiculously two mile steep climb before another 10.7 miles to the highway. We paused at the conundrum. We took the left, hoping maybe Alex thought to park where we wanted to. We descended down and reached a parking lot. We went through seeing no sign of his truck and stopped in sand gully. We looked at the two track leading out the other side and only saw deep sand going up. Not wanting to forage through that we turned back to head towards the highway. If nothing else we'll get cell service there and have Alex meet us. "Oba dee obladi da..." Dana would sing when we got back on our bikes, "just keep pedaling." And then we'd laugh. Just two girls pedaling. We climbed back out and passed by the road we had just come from and started the incessant climb. We stopped about halfway up and sat in the middle of the road to eat snickers. We contemplated taking a nap but thought it best to get a hold of Alex and then sleep.
Clearly not taken at night.
We persisted and crested the top and began an easy spin on the gravel. Two miles later Dana's phone pinged. Oh my gosh this is the best! Dana tried calling but not enough service to connect. I sent a text, "Alex it's 12:14- we are on mineral spring road heading to 313- please come get us :)" Not a moment later I got a response. "En route" Oh my gosh! This is it! "Dana! He's coming!" We continued cycling on, because really at this point why not. Debating what "En Route" meant, was he at the big campsite, or town or closer. We worried maybe he would take the wrong road but decided he probably wouldn't. We saw what looked like two head lights in the distance, "Hammer time!" We pinned it for maybe 2 minutes before realizing the closer we got the further it seemed to be.What is that? Is it a car? Even if it's not Alex, we're getting a ride (Alex later told us it was a well site, which made sense as to why it was not coming to get us). We kept checking in with Alex. I told Dana it was the longest I had been on my bike, she told me to join the club. At one point she biked closer to me and whispered, "So, four minutes ago...." thinking it was going to be something about Alex, I said "Yah...?" "I ran over a snake!" Still hushed. "Was it alive?" "Yah" "Okay, well thanks for waiting to tell me." Later I found out she was going to wait 5 minutes to tell me but couldn't wait that long. I thought to myself, this is why we're not sleeping out here, I'll have some snake cuddle up next to me and that would be the death of me.

The best shuttle bunny.
The rumbling of Alex's truck along with distant headlights made us euphoric. "Most epic adventure ever!" As we took off towards the truck. I told Alex I have never been happier to see any human at 1:30am as he rolled down his window. We recited the whole trip to Alex as he drove us to my car. We decided to all camp there instead of driving an hour back to the big camp. Marinating in 13.5 hours of sweat, dirt and blood wasn't my ideal condition but I still seemed to have a pretty restful sleep. When I woke up the next morning and got out of the car I saw Dana and we immediately burst into laughter. Like she said, "You know it's a good adventure when you wake up and just start laughing before saying anything." I couldn't agree more.