The honeymoon phase of the ride is over.
The excitement of starting is gone.
Denali and Top of the World Highway, two “must do” portions of the ride have passed.
The scenery has not changed much in the last week, except to get less spectacular.
My route has been meandering and circuitous, taking the scenic way whenever possible, meaning it has taken me a month to get a tiny way down the road.
And I got a cold.
The last five days ride from Dawson City to Whitehorse, the capital of the Yukon Territories, was a real slog. The road was flat and straight for much of the 350 miles, all on the same highway. The primary wind direction is from the south, meaning I battled a headwind for most of the riding, and the scenery was a tad boring. I found myself in a funk, anxious to get to Whitehorse and take a day off to rest and recover. The only way to get my wish was to ride, to amplify in the suffering into a few longer days.
I have settled into a rhythm; transformed into a well oiled, mile crushing machine. Each morning, I groan as I wake and wipe the drool off my lower lip and sleeping bag. I roll over and fart, ahhhh, a perfect start to the day. Upon finally deciding to exit my sleeping bag, I quickly retrieve my food from my usually haphazardly placed bear bag, fire up the stove for water, and stare off into space as it slowly comes to a boil. If I’m feeling spicy, I start splaying my shit all over the place early, pulling a rare, Big Ron Morning Pit Stop (BRMPS). To the untrained eye, it may look like a nuclear bomb test facility, but no, it’s just all my shit on the ground before I go to work with my patented Cram Packing Technology (CPT). Mike has resisted my attempts to show him CPT.
After finishing my voluminous morning meal, Mike waits around for about 30 minutes as I futz around. Then, we ride! Usually, within about 10 minutes of starting to ride, I need to pee. After about an hour, the feeding starts and doesn’t stop all day. If it is a good day, there is restaurant. If it is a particularly good day and I’m feeling frisky, I partake in their food, like this grilled cheese, bacon and tomato sandwich that cost me $13.
On this section, it became harder and harder to motivate after lunch. Momentum was stopped, legs became dead and heavy, and inertia took over. The wind picked up at about 2 pm every afternoon, and the few hills on the route usually showed up at about 5 pm. After a slog of a day, a gravel pull out presents itself at an appropriate time, and we hammer our tent stakes into pure rock, cursing and avoiding mosquito’s the entire time. I eat the same meal every night and climb into a sleeping bag that is varying degrees of damp. Some nights, it rains. Others, it sounds of rain because of the amount of bugs that get trapped under the rain fly and are too dumb to figure out how to get out. The sun relentless beats down until about 11 pm, making it hot and sweaty inside the tent, until it changes to freezing cold in the span of minutes.
I climb into my bag, exhausted and try to read. As my eyelids close, I put in my earplugs so I don’t hear the incoming bear attack, roll over, and for symmetry, fart and fall asleep.
This was one less than stellar section in a month’s worth of riding. A bad week at the office if you will, and this is vastly preferable to being in a real office. Just like anything, I had to push through and find the good in the bad, and it’s all good.