June 19th on Luke’s Facebook:
Just set a new bar for suffering. 2 hours of snow Ice and rain temp 29 on top of mt Fleecer. It was touch and go…
Luke called this morning to give me a run down on his situation. The last day and half he has suffered from a stomach bug and been unable to hold down food. He estimated that he’d only consumed 1500 calories in the last 36 hours. He seemed to be feeling somewhat better today and faced a nearly 150 mile stretch of nothingness between Boulder WY to Rawlings WY. We’re talking about desolation here, miles and miles of nothing in every direction.
As I write this Lukes riding along this vast arrid wasteland at 6.7 mph and is about 80 miles as the crow flies from his destination and he probably has less then an hour of daylight left. I guess its going to be a night roughing it.
I was eager to find out the details of his “touch and go” facebook post and he obliged with the full story. It had rained and hailed earlier but the weather seemed to stabilize so he carried on with his ascent of Mt. Fleecer. About halfway to the top it began to rain, then hail, then snow. in a short time he was pushing his bike through 3 inches of snow. The trail opened up into the large Alpine meadow. His directions said, “Turn Right in Meadow” There was no indication of where exactly to turn right in the rather large snow covered meadow, it was dark, snowing, cold and he couldn’t see.
Luke considered pitching his tent in the meadow and waiting until morning, but he risked freezing, so he zoomed in very close on his gps and just tried to follow the line on the map as close as he could. Eventually he came to the trail down out of the meadow which was composed of ice covered rocks. He had to slide on his rear end and hang onto his bike for a quarter mile until it became walkable.
We talked about a rider named Don that Luke road with early in the ride, apparently a Navy guy. Luke said he seemed like a good rider but was suffering from a crash he had the first day and was riding slow. Don crashed out a few days ago and is now out of the race. He has 2 broken ribs, a collapsed lung, and three fractures in his pelvic bone. He thinks he actually collapsed the lung on day one and had been riding with one working lung for most of the ride. Tour Divide is a harsh mistress.
Craig Stappler who I wrote about in my last Tour Divide post was passed a couple days ago by Mike Hall. It’s important to note that Mike recently broke the record for riding around the world. 18,000 miles in 3 months. Stappler decided to quit despite being over a day ahead 3rd place. “I came to win,” he said, but lost his drive.
I asked Luke if he had considered quitting and he said he hadn’t even thought about quitting but it would have been very easy to think about quitting on Mt. Fleecer.