It was hard.
I don't really know what else to say because the fun of the post-race banquet, several beers and love and admiration from my dearly beloved have all made the hellish parts of last week fade. The sun even came out on the last day so our photos at the finish look like it was a great week:
But it was hard. The trails were muddy, rooty and cow shit covered. The changes in elevation often came at an insane grade. I learned that I am a lousy hike-a-biker. The weather was often abysmal.
There were times - especially on stages 3, 4 and 5 - where I was in the depths of a personal hell. Not exactly a pain cave, something different. I was desperately despondent and unhappy. I've never really felt that way before and trying to write about it now, days later, trying to recall my mental and physical state feels fake. The weird thing is that stage 6 was probably the most hellish day (they cut out part of the route due to horrific weather and the risk to participants of suffering hypothermia) but by that point I was almost accustomed to the suffer-fest.
Had I had taken the time to write about the stages as we completed them, perhaps my voice and recollections would have more purity. All I can say now is that I am proud that our team finished the race, disappointed that I personally did not complete stage 6, grateful for the support that Tony provided us, and thankful that Sierra agreed to be my partner.
Over the next week I might write reports for each stage, but that will depend on how I am feeling about the whole experience. You can read Jill's take on the week over at her blog, Jill Outside. Her August 16th post even includes a photo of Sierra and me on the rollout for stage 5. Jill talks about how some of her her racing experiences have 'torn her from her comfort zone' and I suppose that's how I feel about my TransRockies experience. It was hard - as I knew it would be - but what was hard about it wasn't what I expected. And I suppose that's a good thing. It's almost enough to make me want to try it again. Which is crazy.