Monday, July 11, 2011

Went to Hell...Didn't Go Back

While puking up every bit of hydration and then some for the 3rd time, my mind was saying, "Note to self - NEVER, ever do this ride again." At that point I was ready to be done with riding a bike, ready to be home, ready to cash in all my bikes for a motorcycle. The ride was Doug's To Hell and Back 180, but I had previously decided that I was not going back to Hell once I left. Instead I planned on leaving from my house (about 30-miles from the planned starting point) the day previous, camp overnight somewhere along the planned route, then finishing back home the next day. I anticipated a 200-mile loop with around 14k of climbing.

Considering I was going to Hell I brought some protection from the evilness out there.

All started well with a late afternoon noon departure. There was plenty of cool air climbing 4000-ft up Joseph Canyon, plus some refreshing trail snacks and eye candy along the way...

It was incredibly beautiful up there in the late evening when I got up on top with a setting sun. My camera can not show the beauty I saw at the time.

I rode until the half-moon set, which was about midnight. The total distance at that time was 74-miles. Plus it was getting cold and I was ready to fall asleep while riding.

I was back up at 0450 the next morning and everything was frozen, including my camera...I was certainly glad that I had brought a few extra layers. The frosty layer can be seen on my bag here...

After coffee and hot oatmeal I started off again at 0545 after filtering some fresh water out of the creek I bedded down near. The morning was so nice up there, again more beautiful than anyone could imagine.

Then it was back to the desert on the way down to Troy, Oregon.

I was well hydrated and still feeling well at this point. However, the climb out of Troy was aweful, hot, and full sun exposure. For me it was the beginning of the end. About halfway up the 5000-ft climb I was feeling the illness come on, one that I'd experienced several times before. I tried everything to stop it, but really I needed to just stop riding which my stubborn ego would not let me do. So I suffered up to the point of pure agony. I finally quit after 183-miles, and 14,000 feet of climbing. I humbled myself and called for a ride home (20-miles away). It took a few hours for my stomach to come back on line - then miraculasly I was fine.