Thursday, April 26, 2012

Here goes nothing

Right now it's 38 degrees and clear in Idyllwild, California. I arrived in town this afternoon after visiting my sister in Huntington Beach. Less than two hours of driving through traffic-choked Orange County sprawl and into the mountains landed me in this awesome little mountain town at 6,000 feet, with wisps of new-fallen snow on the ridgeline just above our heads. By Saturday afternoon it's supposed to be close to 100 degrees in the low-lying desert just a few miles south.

I spent the evening with my friends Sharon and Michael, who flew all the way out here from Anchorage to escape Alaska breakup and soak up a little Cali sunshine. I'm splitting a hotel room with Eszter, the supa-fast mountain bike goddess who is gearing up to crush my Tour Divide record this summer. The Stagecoach is just another training ride for her. Interestingly, we spent most of the evening talking about Alaska.

I head into this ride with an open mind and a lot of food (really, I have a lot this time. I checked.) My hope is to put as many miles across the brutal desert tomorrow before the heat really returns, and then see how my body holds up for the following days. The race is starting a bit late because of tracking issues, around 10 a.m., which is fine with me. Now I have time for one more meal with Sharon and Michael. I was fretting about my perceived physical state earlier, but I've mostly let those fears fade into the background. This is bikepacking, after all. After the first day, it all hurts the same.

You can follow my progress on the Stagecoach 400 tracking page, http://trackleaders.com/stagecoach400. I'll probably be plodding up a mountain, or dripping sweat on the soft sand of a desert wash, lecturing my legs to stop hurting and singing catchy pop music to myself like AWOLNATION:

I say ya kill your heroes 
and fly, fly, baby don't cry. 
No need to worry cuz everybody will die. 
Every day we just go, go, baby don't go.
Don't you worry we love you more than you know.