Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Jay's in the home stretch

It is now a race for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place...and beyond. Peter Basinger, of Anchorage, AK, arrived in McGrath at 7:40pm local time and broke the previous record by 20 minutes even though he had to ride an extra 33 miles through Hells Gate. A huge congrats to Peter for an incredible ride.

The three chasers, Jay, Jeff, and Rocky, were still together when they arrived in Nikolai at 9:45pm last night. Have they formed a pact and agreed to finish together or will someone attack on the last leg? That sounds so ridiculous. How in the hell could someone conciously attack after having ridden non-stop through interior Alaska for 3 and a half days? Think about the strength it would take to decide to leave the safety of the group and forge ahead alone when you suspect that first place has already been decided. At some point, even the strongest "racers" must switch to survival mode and simply want to finish right?

Depending on what time they leave Nikolai, Jay, Jeff, and Rocky might face some brutally cold temps on the way to McGrath. Wind chill values were -40F at 6am this morning.

I have a feeling that Jay has his head down right now turing the pedals over towards McGrath just focused on the finish. Good job man, almost there! I had huge respect for Jay before this race but he has blown the needle off of the respect meter with this one.

And let's not forget the rest of the racers still facing their personal demons out there. As of last night, female biker Lou Kobin is still on pace to beat the women's record to McGrath. Many racers still have 185 miles to go and the most difficult part of the trail ahead of them. I hope everyone makes it and accomplishes what they set out to do.

I also want to know the details. What are people wearing on their hands & feet in the -30F temps? How many times did they have to break out the stove and melt snow for water. Were they warm in their bivy when they were forced to sleep on the trail? Did a crowded checkpoint force them to leave early?

Thanks again for the updates Kathi! It has been great to feel so close to the race while being so far away.

EDIT 2/28: Jay, Jeff, and Rocky left Nikolai this morning at 7:30am local time to ride the final 50 miles into McGrath. I hope they have firm trail and can finish in the daylight and milder temps.

EDIT #2 2/28: Jay, Jeff, and Rocky arrived in McGrath in a three-way tie for 2nd place at 3:20pm local time. Incredible. 4 days, 1 hour, 20 minutes


Dave Harris said...

This whole thing has captivated my imagination the past week. It's hard to fathom racing in those conditions - the challenges faced earn a ton of respect for all.


Jill Homer said...

I second the feeling.

Jay is inspiring. Four days is fast ... and even more amazing because he is pretty new at this whole winter cycling/Alaska backcountry thing (from what I hear. Geoff talked to him for a while after the 2006 Susitna 100, and he told him he had just started ice biking that year.)

Anyway, when you see him again, tell him congrats for me.