Tuesday, April 5, 2011


i really put alot of effort into preparing for barkley this year.

hearing the conch at midnight wasn't a complete surprise, but i definitely wasn't pumped about it.
adaptability means making the best of whatever hand is dealt....no point in doing anything other than adapting!

loop 1 went basically perfectly, i had a few minutes of concern during the hailstorm, but that ended up not being a problem.
coming down from chimney top, brett commented, "so, 5 loops seems doable."

obviously i, too, think 5 loops is doable, but i sure don't remember having that much confidence immediately upon finishing MY first loop back in '08 :)

leaving on loop 2 i decided to let brett and alan go ahead, so that i could go at my own pace rather than be influenced by these two guys who were moving so quickly with ease. it turned out that a nature stop allowed travis to catch me right at the top of bird mountain, and i think we were both fine with company. we nailed everything for the remainder of the loop, and after some discussion we decided to take 50 minutes to shower and rest before loop 3. i ended up being unable to fall asleep, and decided to let travis go ahead, but make sure i got the rest. when i got up after an additional 30 minutes i found that travis had decided to wait so we'd head out together.

loop 3 was definitely the toughest. travis was sleepy and i was plain fatigued. leaving at 11pm meant we had a long time to go before light. travis seemed a little more coherent and strong, but that may have just been my perception since i knew i was struggling. without going into too much detail, we botched hell, zipline, and the bad thing. the worst of these 3 was the bad thing, where i imagine we lost a solid 40 minutes.

after our third 15 minute nap of the loop, travis finally had to cut me loose while i struggled on rat jaw. when i sat down for a few minutes i downed a cheeseburger i found in my pack...that got my blood sugar up, and i was able to keep it up for another complete loop!

i charged up the rest of rat jaw, descended pighead (although i made another bad mistake here) and charged up meth lab. i was really cruising and then i looked at my watch and realized i could still get in under 36 and make a bid for 4+ loops. i never looked back. i ran down spectacle and caught travis. i was surprised and pleased that he immediately picked it up and i figured we'd both make the 36 hour cutoff, but i knew we couldn't lolligag. since the sun was up it was a little easier to focus and i just concentrated on hitting some calories near the bottom of each descent, not making navigation mistakes, and keeping the effort as high as i could.

i was interesting to have my brain needing to concentrate just to maintain normal function. a few times on the NBT i would have my head down and notice a rock and think, "man, i just saw that rock 5 minutes ago, did i turn around and start going CW without noticing?"
i tried to think ahead and make sure that if there were any trails junctions ahead i'd get past them without doing something stupid. i was confident in making the cutoff and heading back out, but i haven't had tons of experience with this much exhaustion, so i wanted to concentrate on maintenance. at bald knob i noticed travis wasn't behind me, but i assumed he'd just stopped to pee. by the time i reached phillips creek i had some worry in me about him, since we'd lost contact so long ago, i hoped he was close, but wasn't willing to miss 36 hours to wait and see how he was!

i ran the whole way down from bird mountain, i kept up my excitement coming in to camp. the "easy" button was a highlight - i smacked it with authority! i was moving easily, and really excited that at the very least i was going on loop 4. byron backer and i have been talking about this for 4 years, and finally one of us was going to do it.

my dad, scott b, my buddy james, and jb (maybe others too?) helped make a few decisions for me as i took a 15 minute break and waited to leave on loop 4. i assumed travis would come in a few minutes after me, and even thought blake had an outside chance of joining us, but with 8 minutes to go, everyone was rushing me out of camp. i didn't feel an urgent rush to leave, as i knew a little rest wasn't going to ruin me, and i was definitely going to accomplish all the tough navigation of the south section before it got dark.

i took off with 7ish minutes to spare, right after dad reminded me that, "ok, your goal is to finish this loop!"
honestly i wasn't even trying to wrap my head around anything in particular, i just wanted to get to the next book!
between camp and rat jaw i needed to lie down 3 times to let my brain rest, but when i was moving it was with purpose. the warm afternoon hit me a couple times, because i had left camp without my extra water bottle, one of my crew must have thought it was trash, because it wasn't in my pack anymore...whoops! i should have checked for it!

it took me 6:40 to get to the fire tower, if my memory serves me, which meant i had 5:20 to finish the loop....but on loop 3 i had crushed this portion of the course in daylight, and it took me almost 6 hours - i knew i couldn't make it. i also knew that i was going to need a serious nap when the sun went down....my plan was to get to the fire tower and hope there was someone there who could contact gary or my dad and let them know i would be several hours late finishing loop 4 and not to worry about me. as i neared the tower, i didn't hear any chattering, and got a little concerned. when i crested the lip, i saw that indeed there was no one there. i was pretty disappointed and sat there for a few minutes trying to think of another option that would keep the search parties from getting called out. i was hoping some random hiker would round the bend looking to catch the sunset from frozen head and i'd be able to hijack them into delivering my message, but no such luck. after 10 minutes, i realized that i could still be REALLY happy with my effort, and i should just forget about continuing. i headed down s old mac, running most of it feeling quite well.

what a weekend, thanks to all who made it so cool. it is quite a privilege to be a part of this community.

i had a hilarious laugh with james on the ride home when i realized i hadn't thought about sex in 3 days. when else does that happen?

barkley, the 5 loop libido killer!

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