Four Winds 2002
Day 7 - The midnight downhill to Currant Reservoir proves to be a test of the entire team's abilities. Rocks best described as “baby heads” litter the trail. There is no escape for the next five miles. The trail is quite steep. It’s very dark. Although it sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, we work extremely well taking the trail in steps and leading each other through what we believe is the best path. We maintain good speed without any major falls. I’m quite impressed with our run as a team.
We reach Currant Reservoir at about 3 am. Our spirits are high as we come across one other team, New York Adventure Racing, sleeping in the parking lot. We wake Randy, Jerry and “Checkpoint Charlie”, and learn our challenge. One teammate has to put on a wetsuit while all four circle the lake to the CP on the other side. Once on the other side, the wetsuited teammate goes in the water about 10 yards to the checkpoint and we’re done. Sounds easy and a possible opportunity to make up time. Danny agrees to suit up and go into the reservoir.
At this point, we learn some news from the crew. On the way to Currant Reservoir, they lost two bags off the back of the truck. (We’ve nicknamed the support crew vehicle the “Sanford and Son Mobile", after it’s teetering mass of equipment, both inside and outside the truck. It was only a matter of time before things started flying off). The good news, both bags were recovered. The bad news, the bag containing all our paddling gear, including wetsuits, PFD’s, bilge pumps, etc, was involved in a head-on collision with a semi. Plastic items like bilge pumps and stove lights were obliterated. Most wetsuits and PFD’s seem to have survived, but my wetsuit now has a large tire print running up the center.
Danny suits up and we begin the dark trek along the lakeshore. Halfway to the CP, we lose the trail, and in our tired and agreeable state, we all decide to get a couple hours sleep, hit the CP at sunrise in 2 hours, and take off. Through the evening, we’ve said that our goal was to get to the horses before sleeping and we hope that this stop doesn't hurt us too much. It’s getting late in the race, now on day 7. We’re starting to see the end and hopefully not getting too confident yet.
After a couple hours rest, we wake and get ready for the swim. As has been a common problem for our group throughout the race, it takes us well over an hour to get ready to go to the CP and another hour after that to get on the bikes. This will hurt us!
The final bike leg before the horses follows the same theme of long, gradual thigh-burning climbs. The roads are better than most sections have been and we’ve got an opportunity to pedal during the daylight. Tom is strong as an ox and is powering up all the hills. Danny’s feeling really strong today too and offers to take on the day’s towing responsibilities. Together, he and Colleen crank hard up the first 5-6 miles of hills, putting a significant dent in the days ride.
After topping out on this road near 8400’, we are treated to a long fast downhill run, it seems to be the first truly enjoyable downhill run in many days on the bikes. Cows again figure into the action, this time numbering over 100 and they're all standing in the road, of course. We race through the herd yelling at the cows to move as they begin a stampede in front of us. We’re riding pretty close to them as they reach the hoof grates in the road, realize they cannot continue, and begin darting left and right, knocking each other over like bowling pins in the process.