Freedom Challenge, Day 4
Short day. Spent more time bumbling around and looking at maps than riding bikes. Frustrated but what a beautiful spot to stop.
Trang here, blogging for Beat since he's gone off for the weekend to run the Bryce 100. I spoke to Liehann this morning shortly after they finished day 4. While it was a short day, it was probably not as short as they would have hoped. Liehann and Jill are now riding with Di and Steve, who have done Freedom Challenge twice before and also started on this year's race on the same day as Jill and Liehann. (We ought to give them a team name.) All of the other folks who started with them but who were only going to Rhodes are now long gone - those riders seemed pretty familiar with the route and also didn't sleep much.
There's been a lot of walking in the past two days and that's taking a physical toll on Liehann and the others, but Jill is a machine and still going strong. I think Jill's running fitness is a distinct advantage in this case. Navigation continues to be a challenge, as the cue sheet sometimes contradicts the map and cattle trails are hard to spot when you're as little as 10ft away from them. In light of the navigation challenges and the added difficulties of navigating at night, J/L are giving second thoughts to their race plan and may not double up on as many days as originally planned. But, the riding should get easier after they get past Rhodes, so they'll play it by ear.
Liehann continues to have a plethora of gear issues out there. The recent casualties being a winter sock that was melted when it was being dried too close to the fire. It was his warmest pair, so he's a little bummed, but will hopefully manage with the other 3 pairs he has left. He's also blown out one of his bike light chargers. Fortunately he had two, so for now he can still charge his lights - he just has to do it one at a time. This may pose a problem if they have to ride longer nights, but for now it's ok.
Tomorrow should be a tough day - distance-wise it's not so bad, but navigation will be tough and it'll be more climby than today. J/L are trying to pack it in early tonight to catch up on some sleep.