I'm running out of adjectives to describe the adverse weather conditions that we've faced every day: wet rat, soaked dish towel, drenched etc. Today was cold (at times my fingers hardly worked to shift) and raining so that at times I could barely see. So, what's the "lone ranger" reference? An optimal stage race depends on your ability to stay with a group of riders and draft off of each other. Even two working together will increase your overall speed rather than being left out there by yourself. It improves your time significantly, conserves energy, and gives you perspective. The toughest time of any race then is riding alone, hence, the lone ranger. This was not by design but I was unable to keep up with the lead pack who were much faster in front, and I can't really wait for the slower riders behind me. So, I'm left out there by myself. It's a good time to sing and praise God but it doesn't help me go faster! But, I was still able to gain about 5 minutes today on my closest competitor. Some of the racers have definitely improved as the week has progressed. Now the real challenge begins: the three longest, hardest stages of the race with some major hills and sustained climbing. Our itinerary tomorrow begins with an 8:30am ferry rid3e to Valdez, AK which takes approximately 3 hours. We basically have to get off the ferry, drive to the start line and get ready to ride. It is one of the hardest stages of the week with almost 3000 feet of climbing over Thompson Pass. After that, we'll see how everyone feels and how things sort out for Saturday and Sunday's races. Thanks for your prayers!