Back in the day Mad Rhino of BPR Arizona coined the term: single speeding ain’t easy and it ain’t cheap. That’s the truth.
Iditarod Trail Invitational v2018. It was over before it started. AND it didn’t realize it until I was a few miles up the Yenta River.
I hesitate to document The History… The Publish button scares me. I’m still debating the decision to post this info. Why? Well, there is no death, destruction, chaos, BPR Ludacracy, etc., associated with this history. So it’s boring. And you, the readers, get bored. I’m positive of that.
My ITI 350 adventure in 2017 was so crazy, so nuts, so awesome, so unreal. (https://backofthepackracing.com/2017/03/25/iditarod-trail-invitational-v2017-the-race-350-miles-of-ludacracy) And because of my 2017 experience my monumental collapse in 2018 is hard to deal with, hard to rationalize. It’s just f*^k’n hard to think about. So my motivation to assemble this info is like zero. Yeah. Zero motivation. Just because.
But I’ll document The History. Cuz it may matter. Someday. Who knows.
But Before I get started…
Just a Few Pics…. Cuz that’s What We All Want… Pics and No Jibber Jabber NonSense
Some Details… before The DEEP DIVE
The Crew… at the back of the pack… on the Iditarod Trail
The Philosfizer aka Judd… ITI 350. The mental blockade hit at Yenta Station. Over and Out and Done… like dinner.
The Morale Chairman aka TeddNeck… ITI 130. Got screwed by The Philosofizer, at Yenta Station, sucks to be the brother of The Philosofizer.
Stout aka Jim… ITI 1000. Stopped the adventure at McGrath, just because
Donald aka The Dude from Scotland via Australia… or something like that… out at Nikolai. Trail rumors about a busted up knee
Full on Ludacracy
Did the New Mexico flag get redesigned lately? Know what I’m talking about?
Part1: Reindeer Sausage Eating Contest
When you should be out on the trail but find yourself at Humpy’s and there is a Reindeer Sausage Eating Contest… you gotta enter. Especially when there is like $150 (combined) money on the line. That’s right. I ‘won’ Round 1. Jordan won the eat-off. And we walked away with $150. Almost enough to pay the dinner and bar bill. Almost.
Part2: The Gold Miner
So The Morale Chairman and I were chill’n at the Knik Bar (Wasilla AK) just minutes before the ITI start. A cool dude, Rudd, came over and started talking. The dude is a gold miner and follows the ludacracy at the back of the pack. Anyway. Cool dude. Fun talking to the guy. Meeting people like Rudd is Full on Ludacracy. Just because.
Part 3: The Backpack
I’m a backpack guy. Although I don’t want to be a backpack guy. My ITI backpack strategy was simple. A simple backpack to put my cold weather jacket(s) in. Then collapse the backpack on day 3 and move on. Well. Hell. There was room in that backpack, like lots of room So I decided to pack the backpack, pack it with everything I could jam in there. Just because, because I can. Awesome strategy. Huh.
Ok. The Deep Dive. The Deep Dive into The Brain of The Philosofizer and the Events of ITI v2018… at the back of the pack.
The Reality of It All…. A Strategy for Everything = A Strategy for FAILURE
In early April I submitted my entry for the ITI 1000. The 1000 has been a dream of mine for 7+ years. I was all in. Yeah. So I thought.
In May I started planning for the biggest physical challenge of my life. I figured I better prepare like never before, I had to have a strategy for everything. Yeah. So I thought.
- My initial strategy was based on RESEARCH & GEAR. What gear was required, what gear wasn’t, how to lighten my load, how to survive bad weather, how to survive the unknowns. I figured the fitness and mental toughness would just evolve over time. As it always does. Well. I spent too much time debating myself. Too much time thinking. And then a few in my family circle started to freak out about the adventure… which led me down the path of more indecision, more doubt, more time wasted. I turned into a ‘thinker’. The single speed maniac was no more. I was just a thinker and worrier and doubter and…
- As 2018 approached my thoughts drifted to The Time Off Work thing. Yeah. I should’ve thought about that in 2017. Anyway. After development of some fancy algorithms…. I had it all figured out. Until I didn’t. So in late January I decided that 5+ weeks away from The Local Prison camp was way too much. Sometimes a dude (me) needs to man up and realize that responsibilities require responsible behavior… like showing up to work. F*^k. Why did I have a conscience all of a sudden? So, I backed out of the 1000 and moved into the 350. So my strategy was BE RESPONSIBLE, BUT RACE THE ITI. And then all hell broke loose in my head. It’s like the 4AM demons at a 24 hour race. The Demons took over, my race was over and I didn’t even know it.
- So my 350 strategy was awesome. Just turn the cranks. Sleep when required. Avoid resting at checkpoints. Use the 350 opportunity to BUILD SKILLS that would help me survive the 1000 in 2019 or 2020. Great Strategy. Right?
- About 10 days before the race I switched my strategy. Hell. Why should I push myself? I’ve had a busy 3 or 4 months. My stress and anxiety derailed my fitness. So, I’ll just CHILL OUT on the trail and roll the 130 with The Morale Chairman and continue on the 350 with The Ti-Machine. Awesome Strategy. Nothing but fun. Right? Well….
- T-26 hours to race start. I was checking my rear tire pressure and found some damage in my carbon fiber HED rim. F*^K. My mind exploded. Ti-Machine was back in Iowa, he couldn’t make the race due to the RESPONSIBILITY thing, but I was able to get in touch. Through some communication with Ti-Machine and the HED dudes it was determined that the rim was destroyed and should not be used. Yeah. My brain was toast. But Ti-Machine contacted Speedway Cycles and a replacement wheel was doable. So. I went from OUT of the race to IN the race… and it all happened in like 3 hours. And. My strategy went from CHILL OUT to JUST RELAX and SURVIVE. I figured that I could cruise the 130 with The Morale Chairman and by the time I hit Finger Lake I would be back in the groove.
- So Race Day. I was a mess. My head was still numb. The Demons. The Doubts. I just wasn’t functioning. But once the gun went off. Everything was better. Better until we hit Flat Horn Lake. We knew a storm was brewing. But I kept telling Tedd “we gotta get to Flat Horn Lake. We gotta get to the river. The trail will get better, we’ll see dup after the lake”. The trail conditions were OK up to Flat Horn. So we were optimistic about the conditions on the Susitna River and Yenta River. Well, we hit the lake, then the snow hit, then the snow and sleet hit and then it was just grinding through the night. Yeah. Grinding. Cuz Single Speeding ain’t easy. So we ran out of water about 1:30AM. It was a snow / sleet storm. We decided to bivy up and deal with the water creation, i.e, the snow melting, once the sun came up. Well. It was a crazy night. snow, sleet, ice. We had it all. But it was ok. We packed up and were moving by 9AM. Moving Slowly. There was like 10 inches of snow. Some tracks. It was tough. We stopped after an hour and broke out the stove. And then broke the stove. So, my numb head, which just exploded like 48 hours earlier (and reassembled on race day) exploded again. F*^k’n stove broken. Most of my fuel was gone. The stove was just blowing air. Anyway. We finished the water melting with Tedd’s stove and moved on. By this time I had NO STRATEGY. I knew that I wouldn’t make McGrath with no stove and no fuel. Sure Tedd had a stove. But he wasn’t carrying much fuel due to his 130 race. And we burned through 1/2 of his supply. (And his stove burned White Gas, not universal fuel. Thus the ‘get some gasoline at Yenta’ option wouldn’t work.)
With a Strategy of NO STRATEGY. S*^T just fell apart… in my head. My mind, body and soul were destroyed. Destroyed due to a buildup of ‘stuff’ over the months leading up to the ITI.
So, the take away, the lesson(s) learned -> One strategy is enough. Commit to the strategy. Make the strategy work. Don’t let the strategy change weekly, daily, hourly. Commit to the strategy. Make it work. Because a Strategy for Everything = A Strategy for Failure
…. Since I presented The Reality Of It All, above. Let’s just move on with some random comments. Cuz reality sucks, at times. And when reality sucks it’s time to jump into The Alternate Reality.
Single Speeding Ain’t Easy
I think most people will agree. Single Speeding ain’t easy. And single speeding on the Iditarod is not only hard, it may be insanely STUPID. Maybe.
Yeah single speeding on the Iditarod trail was tough. The soft snow, the snow storm, the ice storm. The 8 to 12 inches on the Yenta River. (From 2 storms in a 3 day period.) The sinking rear tire. The exhaustion. Our massive bodies, I mean sweat machines. The 20F+ and high humidity. All this culminated to a terrible single speed experience. Yeah. Single Speeding ain’t easy.
And then factor in the bike + gear = 70+ lbs. And if you have a solution to the 70+ lbs that we were dragging through the snow… go to the end of this posting, check out all the numbers and tell me how to reduce, simplify, i.e., take the fat out of the phatness.
But, just in case you don’t have a solution, I actually have a solution. I’m gonna figure out how to get my bike + gear < 60 lbs. I have some ideas. And then drain the fatness out of the phatness. Like roll out at 6′ 1″ and < 200 lbs. Geez. Now I’m talking crazy s*^t. I’ve only dropped below 200 lbs for one day since I was 16. No joke, jokester. But I can do. I think.
Yeah. Single speeding ain’t easy. But it ain’t that bad either. I think.
Single Speeding Ain’t Cheap
Bikes ain’t cheep. Bike racing ain’t cheep. Single Speeding ain’t cheep. Seriously.
In terms of this trip… the busted HED rim, the replacement rim, the broken stove, my busted brain… it all added up.
After the HED rim issue I started running numbers in my head. The 1s and 0s were going crazy. My thoughts of ca$h, ca$h flow, credit cards, foxy mamas, landscaping, home maintenance. My brain was going crazy. After I decided that 350 was a no-go with no stove. I decided that the 1st Option Out must be the Cheapest Option Out. We talked to Dan at Yenta. He said “about $250 for the plane to Willow”. Shit! Done! That’s what I was thinking. I figured that was my best chance to just escape, recover and prepare for another day. I figured that flying out of Finger Lake could cost me big bucks (flights for 130 finishers were included in the race fee, but not in the ‘scratcher’ fee.) So Decision Made. Then… plans changed. Planes changed. The willow plane was booked. A plane from Anchorage was coming in. The bill… $490. Figures.
Yep. Single Speeding ain’t cheap. And once you (I) start calculating costs, start thinking about reality, you’re done. Done like dinner.
The Psychology of It All
Looking back. Why did I really scratch at Yenta? I don’t know why. There are many reasons why. I think the mental issues started to grow exponentially when I pulled out of the 1000. I spent almost 9 months thinking, preparing, strategizing. But then was paralyzed by a stream of consciousness when I realized that I couldn’t take 5 weeks off of work. Yeah. Once I backed away from my goal, once I walked away from my dream, my mind crumbled.
Yeah. Just more excuses.
I think the only real rational reason is that my head wasn’t right, in many ways. I don’t think I can diagnose my thoughts and actions. I think something in me just said “ENOUGH. MOVE ON. REGROUP.”
And I have. It’s been about a month now. And I’m OK. But I still feel HORRIBLE that I derailed The Morale Chairman’s 130 race. TeddNeck could’ve made it. But I think it’s a family thing. The Big Brother saw his little brother crack into a million pieces. So the big brother did what big brother’s do. Pack up the little brother and head home.
Sounds stupid. But that’s how we roll as a family. That’s how we roll at the back of the pack. Brothers stay together.
Yeah. I still feel like s*^t about all this.
In The End….
Yeah. I may be taking all this a bit hard. My mind isn’t exactly settled, yet. Especially because I saw it all unfolding before me… before I even left New Mexico. And I couldn’t stop it. Wild. Weird. Insane.
But, in the end… I’ve done some pretty cool and crazy stuff during my time on Planet Earth. So I’ll bounce back, regroup, move on… whatever the current hipster positive lingo is these days.
Whenever my brain goes numb. Whenever I debate the events of ITI v2018. I just stop and realize that this is only the beginning. I’m just getting started.
If You’re Still Focused, Still Have Energy. I’ll swamp you with data and pics and lists… Judd Style
the specifics. not really that interesting.
just a set of plots. cuz I like data, I like plots… I like visualizing data
ever wonder about the cruising speed and cruising altitude of a ‘206’ during a route from Yenta to Anchorage. Well, wonder no more.
all the pics, in agonizing volume. whatever that means
The Gear. The Weight. The Ludacracy
And Some Tunes… On my ITI Playlist.
Although, as usual, I left my iPod behind. Just Because.