ITI 2014 thoughts...?

The recent finishes to Nome and story telling with Tim & Loreen Hewitt, Donald, Jill and Beat have spurred the thought that I have not touched an ITI writeup yet.  Typical post race decompression, thoughts that are prominent at the finish start to fade.  Retelling and sharing trail stories reminded me that the ITI is a race of issues and how we overcome them.  This success is what breeds victory- whether it's fast cycling, ridiculous pushing, waist deep rainy pass snow, consecutive days of -30 and colder or ITB pain, swelling, bad knees and bad trail. This year I was very very stoked about my ride and credit a lot of my success to LW coaching. I had a balance of enjoying riding alone mixed with loneliness and excellent fun riding with Jeff-- (my only regret is not being faster to ride together more). The experience was challenging and so completely different from the 2010 and 2008 Nome race. This year was all about strategy, racing and uncertainty of where people were at; these were huge factors that made the race interesting... and frustrating. Being so far ahead of iditarod also left a much much more genuine experience too... the villages and trails were real in the sense that there was uncertainty and no tourists at all.  It was cool, lonely at times (but I am great at entertaining myself with the most creative hallucinations and stupid oopses that Jeff got to witness fist hand) but mostly it was a significantly 'genuine' experience.  Like if I walked out my door in Nome and just rode the trail.

Jeff and I getting ready to depart McGrath (not sure who took photo)
While I was happy with the ride overall I just couldn't get into a groove leaving McGrath. The saddle sores lesions forced me to stand up and ride from Poorman to Nome. The non resolving pain and increase in intensity over time I simply couldn't sit down if I wanted to finish to Nome. Sound gruesome?  Yeah it was but wait there's more to come...

Leaving McGrath (not sure who took photo)