Monday, 30 June 2008

GDR Day Nine and a half

Jenn put in 160 miles on Saturday to arrive in Rawlins around 11pm. She sounds tired, but there was a reason behind all that pedaling...

"Hi its Jenn, I'm in Rawlins. Got in late last night about 11.00pm. Ended up doing the whole of the Basin in one go, which started from South Pass so it ended up being 160 mile day so I'm feeling a bit rough today. In retrospect probably a bit of a stupid thing to do but that place was so unbelievably horrible, so desolate and everything about it I just hated and wanted to be out of there. So it's done and out of the way. I'm going to have an easy day today, just 100 miles., get lots of food because I didn't really eat much yesterday, feeling a bit shaky. Just done a gas station raid... a convenience store raid and I'm going to find a diner and head out. OK, bye."

The call is at 17.49 minutes/seconds into the podcast and despite the tiredness and hunger Jenn sounds in good shape. Sitting here drinking tea and marveling at the fact that 100 mile day could ever be considered easy.... and desperate for the next update of course.

I'm not often lost for words Jenn, but it's hard to articulate just how awesome we think you are right now. Eat, drink, sleep. Ride your bike.


Sunday, 29 June 2008

GDR Day Nine

Nothing on the call in from Jenn as of this morning. Simon Kennet, who she was riding with on Friday left a message saying he was staying in Atlantic City for a while because he had a tummy bug but that Jenn had headed out at 9.00am Saturday with David Blaine to try and make Rawlings. This would be one hell of a push across the basin and very dependent on the conditions but David's SPOT tracker shows him at Rawlings this morning. Of course we have no way of knowing if Jenn is with him. I'm hoping they will do a Sunday morning podcast that we can pick up this evening because the progress site has posted a message saying they won't be updating for 24 hours so to listen to the broadcasts...

Right, before anyone wakes up and demands pancakes, I'm off for a ride.


Saturday, 28 June 2008

GDR Day Seven

24 hours without word had us biting our nails, but a waking up to nice long message from Jenn on the podcast (32.23 minutes/ seconds) was hugely reassuring. She was calling in from Boulder, and was about to head on out with Simon and David and I have to say I'm happy she's got company riding around her. From the separate calls it sounds like it's not actually a cosy chat-fest out there  on the trail and that they drift apart once they get riding, and it's probably mis-placed but I feel reassured that she's not the only person for miles.  Although it sounds like two people is about all she can handle right now. This is what she had to say:

"Hi It's Jenn, I'm at Boulder - just about to leave. I forgot to phone in from Pinedale but we left Pinedale at one minute past four exactly. Stocked up on food and water and we're going to head out and see how far we can get towards Atlantic City. I've been riding with Simon most of the day as usual and David has just rolled by so we're going to head off together. This morning was gorgeous. Union Pass was just absolutely stunning - beautiful over the top, really lovely. I saw the (inaudible) wonderful sunrise. It was a gorgeous place - I couldn't get out of Pinedale soon enough. Now in a bar in Boulder which is really busy and noisy. I want to get out to nowhere really, rather than places with lots of people and noise and stuff. OK, cheers. Bye."

Jenn is on target to beat her own personal deadline so far - but listening to the TD reports (anyone else get teary eyed when they hear Dominic's messages home?) there's some testing terrain to come. Hey ho, Jenn will probably just phone in a report on how pretty the snow crystals were as she hike-a-biked over them for two hours...

Jenn, this is for you. Lorraine has developed a wicked carrot cake and after a lovely ride yesterday we ate an extra piece each for you. See how much we care? Completely selfless, that's us. I'd use the proud word, but we can't be doing with me crying again can we? Happy pedaling.


Friday, 27 June 2008

Jenn from Flag Ranch

You can find Jenn's latest call at 11.30 minutes/seconds into the latest broadcast. She sounds far too chirpy for one who's ridden so far- but then she had just eaten. This is what she had to say.

" Hello it's Jenn. I am calling from Flag Ranch, I think it's about 10.00am. I've just had a HUGE breakfast and feel much better for it.... rode in from Squirrel Creek this morning, it took us about four hours..... (can't?) get over unbelievable mosquitoes - properly hideous, kind of reminded me of Hitchcock's 'The Birds'. Just as soon as you stopped they would just descend and it was just awful - scary. So we're doing everything indoors in the shopping complex before we go outside to the bikes.... all mucky and horrible. So plenty of tarmac which should be nice - a bit of a rest. Yeah, that's about it really. Just keep pedaling. Alright, bye."

I'm guessing the 'we' is Simon Kennet who called in from Flag Ranch at around the same time. Looking at where Jenn's riding next I hope so, and that she has some company for a while.

Jenn if you read this, Lorraine and I are riding bikes and eating cake today. In your honour obviously. Pedal, pedal pedal.


Thursday, 26 June 2008

GDR Day Six: Part Two

So Jenn made it to Flag Ranch by 10.30am today, no podcast to listen to yet but the call summary reports her sounding full of energy and describing the mosquitoes as 'improperly hideous'. Am now desperate to listen to the whole unedited message of course, not only to giggle at it myself - but at the thought of what everyone is making of this crazy English girl with the 'petite' voice and interesting turn of phrase. Some of us are just properly scared for the mozzies...

She heads up Togwotee Pass next and then there's lots of snow on the road to Brooks Lake to get through. Positive vibes everyone please.


GDR Day Six

No podcast last night, so there are two calls on the one dated 26 June. Firstly an update from Tuesday evening and Jenn's call from Lima. This is at 11 minutes in, and despite the official blog reporting that she found it tough going on a singlespeed Jenn sounded pretty sparky. She said she'd 'had a good feed, which was lovely' and managed to stretch her sore legs. Oh yes, and that her 'arse had taken a bit of battering'. Somehow that hasn't been transcribed elsewhere.....

By Wednesday mid afternoon Jenn had made storming time to reach the the next call in at Island Park. You can find the call at 19.40 minutes/seconds on the broadcast. She sounds in amazing spirits (and is it just my calculations or is she catching some of the TD riders now?) and after riding by Red Rock Lake was wondering why she's leaving such lovely places (but clearly planning to come back already). She was going to press on to the border and signed of with 'more pedaling'. Blimey, it's just like hearing her voice from over your shoulder when you're out riding with her.

Everyone else is reporting difficult conditions to Flagg Ranch so I'm expecting to hear Jenn tonight commenting on the odd puddle and mucky patch. They're promising to try to broadcast again at lunchtime EST so I should be able to pick that up at tea time here, so hopefully we'll get another post today.

Oh yes- and by my sums, at this point Jenn is on schedule for the women's record.


Wednesday, 25 June 2008

GDR Day Five : Part Two

Nothing from Jenn on this mornings podcast, but it's being reported that she called in from Lima at 10.40pm last night, which puts her nicely ahead of the six day cut-off point. She said that it had been a long difficult day on a singlespeed - no big climbs and therefore no really big descents to rest on either. It seemed to be just lots of steady downhill and rough trail conditions.

Just to clarify, the racers' days run from noon to noon because that's the time the race started, so technically they will be into a seventh day by day six- but until noon on that day it's still day six for them. Once you've factored in the time difference as well you'll be really confused too...

The cut-off times for anyone that doesn't know are as follows:

Lima (Montana) 6 days
Steamboat Springs (Colorado) 12 days
Abiquiu (new Mexico) 18 days
Antelope Wells (New Mexico) 24 days

If the broadcast goes out at the usual time the next update will be around 7pm tonight.


Tuesday, 24 June 2008

GDR Day Five

Just listened to the latest podcast with Jenn calling in from Wise River at 5.36am on 24 June - presumably before heading out for the day. It's really short because the call was cut off but if you want to hear her saying "Hi it's Jenn, I'm in Wise River....." then jump to 12.45 minutes/seconds into the second 24 June podcast - use the quick link on the right.

Now lovely though it is that everyone thinks your 'petite' voice is cute - Jenn, if you read this - for god's sake woman, speak up! I had to turn The Simpsons down to catch what you were saying. It's doing my nerves no good at all.

More in the morning after they broadcast the calls from tonight.


GDR Day Four

Just listened to two calls from Jenn. The first from Helena (the podcast dated 23 June, morning edition) when she said she'd had a 'good ride today' (that would have been Sunday) and had managed to get a shower, which was pure bliss. By Monday at 3.00pm she'd reached Butte but the going must have been tougher because she described Elk Head Pass as 'unbelievably horrible'. All said in that Jenn voice that leaves you with the feeling it was fun anyway.

I've been listening to all the calls (it's sooooo addictive) and hearing the few riders ahead of Jenn describing things as being difficult in very fatigued voices, and starting to worry. Then up she pops making it all sound as though she's on a trip with a group of Girl Scouts. Carl Hutchings (another rider) described her as 'that insanely strong English girl...'

I'm going to be a puddle of emotion by the time this is done, read it and laugh Jenn - my life is one long sniffle at the moment. Now have a big hug and go and ride your bike some more.


STOP PRESS..... Jenn called in from Wise River last night complaining that her English bug spray doesn't work. The podcast isn't up (11.00am) so no more detail yet. She's still making good time despite what everyone is calling difficult conditions this year.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Podcast from Jenn

Jenn called in from Whitefish and sounds really really happy. Listen to the podcast here:

If you want to skip straight to Jenn she's at 13.50 minutes/seconds into the recordings.


A Good Weekend

Back from Mountain Mayhem - with a dry sun burned face that comes as a bit of a surprise after the filthy weather that prevailed for most of the weekend. It all kicked off Friday evening with a toast to Jenn as she rolled across the start of GDR and an ocean away. It was appropriate somehow that we were all together in the familiar setting of the field at Mayhem, but funny how everyone seemed to have something in their eye just after raising a glass... And there was much to make us think us of Jenn - the teeming rain that I heard on the tent in the middle of the night that would make her smile and pedal that tiny bit harder. Whenever anyone showed signs of weakness in the face of mud that turned to concrete and huge chunks of course that had to be walked we consoled ourselves that at least it wasn't at altitude and there wasn't snow and bears. Good stuff happened too - My Knees Hurt, the singlespeedy team Mr Minx subbed into, won the vets category, Lorraine rode an amazingly consistent race to come sixth in solo women, and I managed to catch up with sometime Minx blogger Fi to give her big hugs after she came in third.

Early copies of The Ride, had been rushed to its creators who were also racing. Simply put, it's a collection of words and pictures about riding bikes but it is also a thing of great beauty and there was much sighing and ohhh-ing and ahhh-ing as we peered over each other's shoulders between laps and tea-making duties to get a look. Seriously - it's so lovely you never want to reach the end. Get yours NOW because it is a limited print run.

But page turning. racing and ice cream eating over, our thoughts turned again to Jenn. We tried to hook up to the blog via a bad mobile connection but to no avail, so it was into the door, to the computer.... and ohmigod...a story about a guy and a bear... but scroll, scroll, scroll, down, down, down - and there it is! A picture of Jenn, who they say is scorching and ahead of the pace for the single speed and women's records. Try to contain self because it's day three and this race is so hard people have already dropped out. But quietly saying, "That's our girl."

Damp key board not pictured.


Thursday, 19 June 2008

Eureka just a small, one-strip town, where if you sit long enough at the cafe today you'll see loaded bikes rolling in from all directions. Said goodbye to Canada, a peaceful, epic place that i'll return to soon; hello to the US, with its vast Montana skies and super-large, super-friendly everything. Feeling much less daunted now that I'm here with other Great Dividers to share thoughts and worries with; amusingly we're all aiming for the golden 20 day time so if things go to plan for everybody it might as well end up being one very long stage race. Much talk of how the Tour Divide is panning out, and hopes that they were at least organised whn trudging through the snow pack and have trod us a nice neat path to follow.. No bears yet but I'm keeping tight hold on my bear spray, bell and singing voice; the 380 miles I've ridden to get here have been the remotest of my life and I confess to being very, very scared and lonely at times, and equally exhilerated by the size of this place. A little more nail biting to come this evening and then, tomorrow, a final coffee and we're off.




Saturday, 14 June 2008

here she is... banff, last night before hitting the wilds. not so worried about bears now, i saw a wolf yesterday, which brought home how big this place is. snowy peaks all around and not a lot in between them and the sky. met lots of nice people, mostly in bike shops (The Bike Store Clagray and Mountain Magic Bannf particularly) to remind me that my people are bike people. if i leave for the border tomorrow (which i am - seeing off the Tour Divide group this morning has made the wheels itch, though i'm still going to take my time over it as this is truly (almost) the most stunning place i've ever been) then the wind that was in my face all the long way from calgary will be behind me. not going to make the hills any easier but the fantastic send-off you've all given me will help things along.

thinking of you all.


Tuesday, 10 June 2008

There She Goes

Jenn jumped on a plane to Calgary, Canada today to start the Great Divide Race Minx said her goodbyes on Friday in person and via mobile phone (with sniffle interference) to the airport Costa coffee today. Jo sent these words back after waving her off.

"One bike bag and one Camelbak for 2,500 miles and about three weeks of riding, less kit than most people take for a weekend of trail centre action. Everything parred down to a minimum, the jeans and shoes she's traveling in are going to a charity shop as soon as she starts pedaling, she won't be needing them on the trail.

Lots of tears and nervous laughter over pre-flight coffees, she's frightened, excited and determined, and she certainly takes everyones good wishes and love with her.

Godspeed Jenn. Godspeed."

Wednesday, 4 June 2008


The last 10 or so days I've been struck down with the mother of all colds and feeling very sorry for myself as I've been poorly enough to not be able to ride. Today though has just been too sunshiney, so with more snot streaming down my face than was polite and slightly wheezy lungs I put in a few miles on the bike in the hills. I feel much better for a pedal and have the start of my t-shirt tan, hmmmmm, maybe I do need a sleeveless jersey!


Monday, 2 June 2008

cure for nerves

doing a lot of saying goodbye to people at the moment, and feeling more involved in the world around me as a result. riding tonight with biff and tim, had a crap couple of days feeling panic-stricken to the point of paralysis (moving house does that to me). eventually got the work done and then the rain started... never occurred to me not to ride and sure enough two and a half hours later i’m rolling back in the door soaked to the skin but warm and happy. legs buzzing with vicious nettle stings, muscles feeling free and easy, head full of trails and the hazy silhouettes of my friends coming down the hill behind me through the mist of a south downs fug.

bikes are good. so are the people who do not let you down.

but “see you in california” is an odd way to say goodbye.


Minxyness North of the Border.

Hi, A happy cheery post for my first on the blog.

Just winding down from my first race with Roberta as "The M1NX G1RLS" at the 10 Under the Ben enduro in Fort William. What a day! Could you imagine ever complaining that it was too hot and dry in Scotland?? In spite of the oven-like heat whilst riding, it was a superb weekend on ace trails with a great atmosphere. Loads of support amongst competitors, newbies and experienced alike. The midges descending at twilight put a bit of a dampener on the post race festivities, but the band were troopers and played on, albeit with the drumer with a towel over his head! Best memory of the weekend was from during the 7pm downpour where I decided to rinse my sweaty, salty, dusty hair under the run off from the gazebo. Two of the guys with us were inspired by my action and took the opportunity to have a proper wash, shampoo and all.

It was an extra bonus to get Minx Jerseys on the podium with a third in the Senior Female Pairs.