2023 SCBR – Day 3 – New Direction

Looking at the rest of the official route (not paying attention to any checkpoints at this stage) I was able to find safer and less mountain focused routes that my scooter could handle in a proper amount of time. Direct routes shaved off a significant amount of distance each day, and my goal was to just push on as much as possible past the 4,000-9,000ft elevation band. There were still areas where my route would cross paths or even directly align with segments of the official route, and of course that’s perfectly fine.

I had a little bit of a rough start to day three, and when I finally sat on the scooter I thought all of the negativity was behind me. Just look at the map and head on. I knew the first few hours would have me on the official route so it was easy to simply view my GPS screen and ride along the dotted lines. I remember the course started off right away with a North bias, but I wasn’t paying close enough attention and ended up using the previous day’s route. I was going backwards.

The previous day’s official route had riders going through about 30 miles of gravel and sand. Most riders went down at some point in this section. I was about 10 miles into this when my phone leaped from my scooter and was then immediately squashed by the support truck. A few miles later I went down pretty hard.

In retrospect it was a good thing because it forced me to really evaluate the map and discover that yes, in fact, I bled for nothing.

The scooter sustained a decent amount of damage and I bruised a handful of ribs as well as my hip. Also some bleeding, but otherwise alright.

This was the moment of total emotional devastation. Grieving the various losses.

I spent close to a year planning and building to execute this 8 day assignment. Site analytics showed about 250-300 people visiting and keeping close eyes on my progress. I dragged several people into this stress fueled expedition and spent tens of thousands to ready myself for it. It was a lot to process on the side of a road. I feel like I let everyone down. It was traumatic. It was rough.

I put the damaged bike in the trailer and headed back to the start of day three. Perhaps the adrenaline and forced mindfulness session allowed me to realize I can’t “stop” now. I have to make it to the finish line regardless. There’s a lot in play here beyond just me. I have other riders depending on my support truck and logistics. I have a plane ticket on the other side of the country. I have to keep going.

I chose a slightly different route involving a bit more highway but this time I would be protected by a close chasing truck to create a safety layer.

We had some fun with the remaining route and visited a famous spot in Gallup, New Mexico. I also navigated South to Albuquerque as it was the only viable town to buy a new cell phone.

We arrived at Los Alamos, NM later into the afternoon to find riders were exhausted with their 9,000ft climb. Many questioned the route at this point and for good reason. The hotel accommodations in Los Alamos were far from ideal for 150+ riders and crew. Perhaps a closer eye on attendance reports would signal a more graceful and safe landing in Santa Fe? : – )