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Brutal. Absolutely brutal.

August 10, 2011

Even those words don’t really describe it.  The total vertical climb was over 30,000 feet.  Yes, 30,000 feet.  The hills: “Oh my!”

They were steep.  I though NASA was building a road to replace the space shuttle on some of them.  Up, down.  Up, down… up, down…

The road was paved with peaches.  Err, I mean peach size rocks.  Of course, there as finer gravel, but peach size was not uncommon.  Hell, bigger was not uncommon.

When it rained, the road simply became impassable for a bicycle.  The mud was viscous concrete mix of dirt and gravel that could not be overcome.  It clogged the fenders.  It clogged the brakes.  It clogged the derailleurs.  It stuck to the tires.  It stuck to the rims.  Digging it off was an exercise in futility: Dig it off, ride ten feet, and have to dig it off again.

I’d stopped in the rain, huddle under a piece of plastic seeking dryness, and eat my lunch.

You carried all your own food and water.  When you ran out, you begged from passersby or did with-out.  I never ran out.

I shivered at night in my tent.  It was cold.  I slept on rocks every night.

The pot-holes were impressive for their continuity.  Pot holes and more pot holes.  Miles of pot holes, each a crater 1-2 feet in diameter and 6-10 inches deep. Miles and miles.  When the pot holes stopped the wash-boards started, shaking your teeth out.

There were so many times I wanted to give-up.  I hit “the wall” on day three.  From there on, I was humbled, walking up hills, too tired, too beat to ride.

After day two I had a headwind.  It never stopped for the next two weeks.  I had to peddle down hills with a 7% grade it was so strong.

More to come: Fun on the Dalton…


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One Comment
  1. Linda B (Sean's Mom) permalink

    Victory is certainly yours, for sure!!! Such a challenging ride, but you did it. I really thought you’d have many, many difficulties riding on the Haul Road from Deadhorse to around Coldfoot when the road began to be asphalted. All the trucks going up and down the haul road must have been an extreme challenge. I’m sorry I wasn’t there to see you at the end of the ride this year and congratulate you in person. You are truly an amazing person, with a lot more will power than most!! Next year from Anchorage to Homer??? Linda B, Peters Creek, AK.

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