Friday, June 25, 2010

Sleeping on the Divide

[For the last couple of days i've been working on a post about Kent's sleeping arrangements on the Tour Divide. When he told me that today would be the end of his ride, he encouraged me to continue the Divide related posting for the next couple of days at least. In addition, the Tour Divide is a HUGE undertaking, but Kent lives this way a lot. He rides long, hard miles into the backcountry and unrolls the bivy sack quite frequently. I'm sure he will do so again soon, and i look forward to riding along with him. Tonight the Mountain Turtle is resting, is cleaned up and is sleeping inside for the first time in 3 weeks.]

Kent has been enjoying sleeping outside. "Got away from the bright lights of the big city [the small town of Banff Alberta!! -ed] and into the mountains to sleep. I made the right choice. Tarp & bivy working great. Rain & temps in the 30s and I was cozy."

The Turtle has been sleeping at places called Uncle Sam Creek, Calf Creek, Snowshoe Lake and Empire Mine. Evocative names that summon the image of a majestic spot to sleep. Often see his SPOT stop on the side of a mountain along a big climb. I try to picture the area, probably very scenic, based on the times I have ridden with him and we've called it a day (usually I'm ready to stop way, way before Kent is!). I'm a little jealous -- I love rolling out a bivy in the forest... I don't do it often enough.

So far Kent says he's sleeping well. He's slept a little bit more as he's healing from his encounter with a fence at speed. He's doing the Mountain Turtle thing, pedaling from dawn to dusk. "I sleep when it's dark. I'm usually well settled in by 10:00 PM. I try to get rolling around 5:00 AM."

I asked him if he's been napping. In the last few years, as i age, i've come to really appreciate a short nap during a long ride. (Kent is 4 or 5 years older than me, and yet when we're riding together, he usually uses my naptime to explore a side trail!) "So far, no napping. This may change. For example, if it's super hot or a storm is blowing through, I may do a mid-day nap."

A couple of mornings, a couple of chillier mornings, he got a late start. His bivy system is so well assembled that it's "just a little too comfy"!!! He's so comfortable at night, and sleeps so well, that a few mornings he's had to encourage himself to get out of the warm bag and onto the bike by deflating his sleeping pad before he dozes off again!!

Many racers take advantage of the wonderful hospitality of the many cabins, lodges and motels along the route. You can hear the relief in their voices once they are settled down inside. The Mountain Turtle stays outside, stays in the zone. He doesn't have to get used to it again every morning. And he's up and on the bike. I think he spent one night inside in Banff, after his arrival a day too early, but otherwise, on both the 6 day prologue and now 13 days into the race, he hasn't spent a night indoors.
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