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Saturday, May 15, 2010

ITI 2010 (7): Home

This will be my last post on 2010 ITI and put another year of it out of my mind. The writing was slow and the processing even slower.  Things are already fading readily in the background and am glad I was able to put something down in the form of a race report that turned out quite a bit longer than I anticipated. I look forward to next years ITI. Will I do the Nome race next year?  It is just too much time away from the family.  My co-workers and family conspired to have me sign a "contract" not to do the long race only the short  version next year. However, maybe the following year...   _______________________________________________________________
  
Day 15 - 17

Elim - Nome ~ 130 miles



Home Stretch
I shot out onto Golovin bay where there seemed to be a temperature inversion from the hills. My thermometer showed -20. I had to wear my goggles even with a little wind. By 9am I was in Golovin, went to the store warmed up and then continued on to White Mountain. The trail became better and better. I was in White Mountain at 11:00 am, went to the Iditarod Checkpoint and they offered me all sorts of food. An iditarod volunteer and cyclist, Granis Stewart, took these White Mountain pics and sent them to me.

I left White Mountain at 1pm and was in awe. The sun was out, the trail was hard as a rock and I was almost home. Holy ##**&. I was so anxious to get to Topkok, the notorious premiere blow hole of all blow holes. The topkok hills were a lot longer than I remember. I crested that last big climb before the coast and boogied into Topkok cabin. It was calm, sunny and actually a balmy 0 degrees. Very rare. Due to the (usual) extensive wind the next five miles were wind blown hard packed sand and the snow was concrete (as seen in the photo below). I was hauling the next 15 miles to the Council road. (A road in summer and trail in winter).



For some reason the snow went from hard packed to absolute mushy granular powder. I was still awestruck that it was 35 miles from Nome!! Typically there is so much snow machine traffic this trail is concrete. This is where I train and have always been able to ride a skinny tire MTB, what the heck? I saw two snow machiners pull up and they waved their hands. It was a friend, Erika and her sister. Holy mind trip. We talked a while and I told them an approximate time to expect me in Nome. The next 15 miles to Safety were rideable but slow. Right before Safety a helicopter landed close by, it was Russ with Bering Air flying a sight seeing group and he waved, gave me the thumbs up before he took off again. Another wow!! I motored on. By the time I was close to Cape Nome I had to push the bike because of snow but Nathan and Nora pulled up in a snow machine too. We hugged. It was super exciting. I kept pushing around the cape, there was little trail all snowed in but shorter than the Iditarod trail that goes over the cape. Chris pulled up on snowmachine then another guy Jeff. All wanting an ETA. It was hard to push a bike so close to home. I was only 10 miles out!! Yet the trail and road both usually hardpacked was mushy. One can decide to take the road in or continue with the Iditarod trail. I opted for the trail since the road is usually an infrequent snow machine track and lots of massive 20+ ft drifts. Then my headlamp started blinking. I was out of batteries and my spare was busted. I turned it off and then put it on the low setting. Hopefully it would make it.
                                                              
I pushed, ground my pedals furiously and grunted my way on to the trail. Finally it re-intersected the road 5 miles out (plowed road). Unbelievable!! I hopped on the road and rode freely. I easily could kick it up to 13 mph. Cars and trucks rode out and back cheering and honking horns. Nora met me 1 mile from Nome with her bike and we rode the last mile into town, down front street to a huge gathering of friends and my wife with Hahnah were there. I rode under the arch and hugged my family for the first time in 3 weeks. It was glorious. It was incredible. The last 73 miles from White Mountain took 11 hours. 19 hrs from Elim. The adrenaline factor must have been huge and I just couldn’t get over the fact that I rode home.


Video Link of finish.
















ITI Follow up


The afternnon after my finish I found out JP and Tracey were out of White Mountain and asked my friend Chris to snow machine out to give them a moral boost and let them know that he would be hosting them. We cheered them into the arch for their finish. They left town the next day so didn’t get a chance to chat much, however, the next few days I cheered in Tom Jarding, Tim Hewitt and the legend himself, Mike Curiak (for his self supported crazy endevour).

Here we are at my house after a great meal and some tales from the trail. Outstanding! Thank you Chris Miller for hosting all the plethora of racers on my behalf this year, it was a lot harder to have guests in our small house with a light sleeping baby. This year the recovery process was an interesting experience of fluctuating moods and energy levels that lasted over a month. Surprisingly, I had no knee pain or injuries. I simply can’t believe I was able to finish this animal of a race after such intense injury, nerve damage and edema 2 years ago.


I'm going to say it again... Thank you everyone who made this possible especially my family, Sarah, Hahnah and co-workers, Jamie and Dana. And Chris for letting the racers crash in his bachelor pad.



!!For the LLS We raised: $1630 for grand total of $21,600!!


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