Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Slow goings

Check out the speed plot of Mike's trip thus far.

(I highlighted the different days, but since that is a plot of speed vs. time you can see each night's rest as the gaps in the plot).

Today was a serious slow down, compared to the first three days. Actually it appears things got slow -- like walking slow -- late Tuesday night, and they didn't get any better in the morning. Likely it is the combination of warm temperatures and fresh snow. Bad conditions affect Mike even more than the Iditarod Trail Invitational racers.

Despite that, he has passed a fair number of the runners and some cyclists. I have to wonder what they think of Mike, out there touring with his tank of a bike. It's kind of funny, but I don't think it's immediately obvious just how heavy Mike's bike is, or that he's even carrying that much more than other people in the race. Here's his bike, from 2009:

To this date, I still think he uses some kind of magic to pack all his bikes. How can there by 24 days of food and fuel on that bike? Some of the racers look like they are carrying nearly as much!

Those that remember his 2004 Great Divide Race setup know the magic of which I speak. I've been on several bikepacking trips with Mike, and though I have picked up little secrets here or there, I still don't understand just how he does it.

Mike's magic packing combined with his natural humility probably lead some of the riders/runners/snowmobilers/mushers he encounters thinking he's just a racer like anyone else, or maybe on a pleasure tour, enjoying burgers and toe warming fires at all the lodges along the way. In a way, it is a pleasure tour, but he's definitely biting off a pretty serious endeavor, as always with Mike.

Finally, I am somewhat well versed in the science of hike-a-bike and these SPOT points are proof positive of it:

Took him an hour to get up that hill, yet no points are on top of each other, suggesting he wasn't stopped. It might have been a multiple trip hike -- one the required ditching some of his bags for second go 'round. That wouldn't show on the SPOT, unless he had the presence of mind to take it with on both trips, purely for our amusement!

Here's to better trail and weather tomorrow!


  1. That was my take on that hill — that Mike probably broke his bike down and did multiple trips. You can see from the topo lines it's damn near vertical. I had to drag my bike on its side up parts of that hill in 2008 because it was too steep to push, and my bike weighed half as much. Then again, I'm not even half as strong.

    Looks like it's going to be a slow day over Rainy Pass tomorrow. I wonder if he'll take a break to climb that mountain again.

  2. Thanks Jill and Scott for the updates and commentary.


  3. Thanks for the updates Scott. Interesting stuff. Is there a photo of his bike set-up for this ride out of interest?

    What weight did he start off at?