The ten egg omelette
So, it was indeed Kurt, Jefe and then Paul, and now Ethan, Robert and Parker have made it to the finish too (well, we must assume Parker has, as he apparently left Silver City with Robert even though his SPOT still has him between Cuba and Grants). I don’t know if there’s that much I can say about such amazing rides. It made for a fabulous spectacle, which was absolutely the last thing that was needed by someone still trying to wean himself off the Tour Divide.
All three front runners have called in now or posted updates. I liked the fact Paul Attalla was reported as asking for an omelette made from 10 eggs. That’s TEN. It sound a bit like that probably apocryphal story from the French revolution, when a nobleman on the run – disguised as a starving peasant – was doing fine until his hunger caught up with him and he ordered an omelette with 12 eggs at a local inn. Old habits die hard, I guess. At least Paul fell asleep during his, rather than having a rendez-vous with Madame Guillotine.
I think the state Paul must have been in to order such a dish – and then doze off while eating it – says it all about how far these guys have pushed themselves. Maybe fans of the TD have experienced something along these lines at some point in their lives (or at least know someone who has). But few of us will ever do so in quite such an extreme setting as the TD. Pro athletes do it regularly, but mostly in the velodrome, or on the track. Or, in the Tour de France, with a whole moving circus of backup to help them recover.
For us mortals it’s possible to get to such a point of exhaustion once in a while, but generally only in much tamer surroundings than the TD. I once rode 80 miles over the Mont Ventoux with some former pro cyclists having only eaten a slice of cake for breakfast. For the last ten miles I started hallucinating about food, and only made it back home by scrumping some unripe pears and apples from the orchards I was cycling through. After dreaming about food for what seemed like eternity, it then took me about three days to recover my appetite. But I was at home, so it wasn’t a problem. To have the combination of experience and courage to sail so close to the wind even when the consequences of getting it wrong are so much more serious is what sets these guys apart.
A word of warning from Kurt, though, for those still pushing as hard as they can on the course. The new route into Silver City from the Gila is hard and bereft of water supplies. He said five of the six who had ridden through it so far had run out of water while doing so, ‘well before the end of the singletrack above Pinos Altos’. Matthew Lee suggests re-supplying 2 miles off route, west on Highway 35 to Lake Roberts store. No matter how tough people are, not enough water can equal game over.
Finally, some encouragement from Jefe:
“I have tons of respect for anyone who makes this ride all the way. No matter the speed, this is one tough mother and it deserves lots of respect. Hope everyone is safe and smart out there, keep it going, keep your head up, keep smiling. Jefe”