Stage Six: Baker to Kelso, 34.90 miles. Elevation Gain: 2920′.
“Leaving Baker, you climb a gradual but relentless 2500 feet in 20 miles (Mountain Section Eight). It may be heating up, so drink plenty. A long descent leads to Kelso at mile 418.”
Sunday Morning at 10:55 am. Almost 28 hours into the race, and the crew is looking a little tired. They are doing a great job out there. They went ahead of me going into Baker to refuel the van. When I checked into the time station, I took a few minutes to clean myself up, change kits and brush my teeth. I can’t tell you how good that felt. I rolled on ahead of them while they hunted down something for me to chew on. I was hoping it would be a double cheeseburger, add bacon…and they didn’t let me down. Here they are feeding me and getting me ready for the 21 mile Kel-Baker climb.
The 21 mile climb is not very steep, but it is totally exposed and there just isn’t anything distinctive about being one mile further up the road. It looks just like the last mile you climbed, and that mile looks a lot like the previous five miles you climbed. It can also be really hot through here. I felt good, but I had to conserve energy because the last 100+ miles has a lot of climbing in it. Eventually I started playing Pac-Man and chasing riders down. It is fun to do, and it helps to break up the monotony.
In the following video I talk about how I can’t stand the 21 mile climb from Baker and the question arises “Then why do you keep coming back?”
I spent another 21 minutes off the bike in this time station. Added to the 2 hours and 5 minutes I have now spent 2 hours and 26 minutes off the bike. In 417 miles in 30+ plus hours on the bike.