Labor Pains - Thompson Pass Says It All!

Today was a long, hard day, beginning with an early wake up call so we could be at the ferry terminal by 7:00am, in line for the 8:30am departure to Valdez. How, and did I mention that it was raining again! Even with lightweight rain gear, when you're riding a hand cycle that low and close to the road and its raining, you're going to get wet!

Plus, it was a very cold and a long and demanding course today. What made it interesting is there were no facilities where the race started after the ferry ride to change your clothes, get ready, use the facilities etc. Everything had to be done on the ferry so that when you disembarked you were pretty well race ready.

The scheduled event today was 55 miles long, taking us up the extremely steep Thompson Pass, followed by a very rapid descent. The race officials collaborated and made a ruling that today's stage would be shortened to just 26 miles. This was due to the fact we had a very late start and the weather conditions were really pretty bad. By the time I made it to the top I was pretty well drenched again. If we would have continued it would be a very long downhill section which presented problems such as hypothermia (not good). As it was, after I made it to the top I had do wait for my wheelchair in those very wet and cold conditions. I had to be covered with blankets in order to stay warm until the pilot car arrived with all of our things. Once we cleaned up, we had about an hour and half drive to Glenallen near where Saturday's stage began. I've been able to maintain some of my early overall position, but I've slipped due mostly to some great performances by some other riders. I'm currently sitting pretty solid at 15th overall in my division, and 3rd in the 55 year old and above category. Two more climbing stages to go. Right now sleep and recovery is crucial.