Saturday, March 1, 2008

Almost to McGrath

Mike is rockin' again, covering over 50 miles today. He's currently 12 miles outside McGrath - the 350 mile mark and the end of the "short course" version of the Iditarod Trail Invitational.

Check out his speed plot.

Again, that's his entire trip, with the middle slow part showing quite a bit of bike pushing and slow travel. Yesterday evening's ride picked up quickly, lasting most of the way to McGrath. According to the race website:

Kathi reported very good hard packed trail from Nikolai until 15 miles from McGrath where the wind has filled the trail in with snow and they pushed most of the way. She described it as a slog and for Kathi to describe something as a slog.. well it's a slog.

We are seeing just that, a drastic drop in speed 15 miles out of McGrath. Time for more Snoots pushin'.

While riding a slow, sandy wash today (the closest thing to snow here in Tucson) I was wondering about Mike's thoughts on his setup as a whole. The current rig has an ungodly number of hours of planning, wrenching and "thinkering" put into it. Only a tiny fraction of those hours have been documented on this blog. But you know he's already got a running mental list with a dozen or so things that need fixin'. By now he's well aware of what he got right, and probably even more painfully aware of what he got wrong. It's all about the process for him, and I've been lucky enough to see some of that process (mostly through email).

But for now, he's stuck with the decisions he made, and so far everything seems to be going quite well. He's almost a third of the way to Nome, in less than 7 days. He's 150 miles further than he made it last year.

Finally, check out the following report and pictures on the Dalzell Gorge trail breaking from racer Dave Hart. There was slightly more of a "trail" when Mike went through, but it's still hard to imagine negotiating his pig of a bike through there. There's one pic of Jay P. shouldering his bike that made me think of the fact that Mike can't even lift his bike off the ground.