Assuming I can organize my thoughts, and the rest of life allows for the keyboard time, this ought to make for a decent post - if nothing else, a good log entry for the "I've had worse" files. A pretty challenging day -- started in the upper 40's with a hard rain, and light winds... sporadic enough that at times I swear we had a slight tailwind, and at other times it felt like a headwind. The rain continued for the next 6 hours until tapering off, and then the winds shifted, strengthened, and the temperature began to drop with a strong cold-front passage. Terry and I waged battle with 20 mph north winds for the entire return trip, dropping our pace into the basement. Mental math was all over the place - and amid random thoughts of phone calls and cashing it in, at times it seemed the pace and the control closing times would decide our fate for us. The goal of ten hours passed, then eleven, then twelve... it was brutal. Digging into layer after layer of reserves, Terry and I pushed to finally finish just under 13 hours. Not my worst ET for this route - surprisingly - but, one of the toughest rides in recent memory - and definitely a mental wringer. More details to come, in usual style -- but for now, very, VERY happy to have February checked off. March seems far away, still... but time to take the slow, base-building pace from this ride and build the arsenal for some spring-time fun.
More to come -- thanks for reading!