BaseCamper Ken Carl shared his experience at Rebecca's Private Idaho 2023.
RPI 2023 the on going grand adventure….
No, no! The adventures first, explanations take such a dreadful time. Alice in Wonderland.
I can only agree with Alice. So often it is easier to share with others what you did as compared to trying to explain, defend, qualify or even justify what you are going to do.
RPI, especially if you are engaged in the Queen's Stage Race, is truly in the category of grandest adventure. You prepare for everything and anticipate even more. Look around at your fellow riders at the finish, all elated, some so exhausted they can only sit mute for the moment, there are hugs, tears of joy, relief, and accomplishment. We did more than we thought we could. Slayed the dragon of doubt while expanding our horizon of confidence. We shared this amazing adventure and that will always be part of our story. This was also a BaseCamp story. Accepting the RPI challenge, committing to the training, travel, planning is significant. French Fry to QSR every rider is 100% amazing.
This was my second QSR, yet I would feel more correct in stating that this is my personal ongoing RPI QSR. In that sprit I have now done six stages of RPI with an undetermined number to go. Each stage builds knowledge with ability, along with new questions, reoccurring doubts and renewed desire.
In the QSR there is a unique opportunity for deepening the shared adventure. The group is smaller. There is a greater awareness of each other. This is best illustrated by post time trial ride to French hot spring. Most every rider finds a place to sit side by side in the river. As we settle in Rebecca Rusch appears with a massive cooler of beers welcomed by boisterous cheering. Is there another race in the world where the director brings the riders beers at a hot spring to complete the day?
The first two days set my stage for Sunday. The background cumulative fatigue is undeniable. Still race morning I awoke before my alarm. Pre dawn quiet, I embraced that relaxing my thoughts. Going through my breakfast and movement session I began to focus. No phone, no text just the task at hand. Arriving at the park my energy was expanded talking and creating pre start photos with so many fellow BC. I began the rollout easy because it was neutral start. The usual hard heart pounding rush was thankfully not in effect. Then I realized neutral or not the time cut was a hard reality. My group was now 100 yards up the road and so were those valuable minutes. How easy it is to lose focus. Coming out of the rest stop at 24 miles I was in full race mode. All those hours of dong 3 x 20’s and threshold work were paying off well. Every rider ahead became my rabbit. The clock was running down yet I was also running down the kilometers. My Wahoo clock showed 11:29 when I almost ran over Rebecca getting the green light high five. A group of us were too long in self congratulatory mode so Rebecca threatened to remove our green light status if we did not get out collective butts on the bike.
Heading into the storm…Copper Basin. Everyone talks about Trail Creek. I think the real test is the relentless incline up to 9000 feet, 18 solid miles testing your strength and desire. This day there was also the cold wind, rain and heavy clouds in Copper Basin to overcome. Yet in those gray skies there is beauty, strength. I found time, desire to stop and capture the photographic moment. I plan to be here again yet I know it will look and feel different. Be in the moment, be the moment for it is uniquely yours. The rains came and went. Riders were all on the rubber band. We would catch, talk, pass, and fall back yet always moving forward. My most fun moments were powering the miles from Copper Basin rest stop to the beginning of El Diabitio with fellow BaseCamper Dennis Wojcik. We rode together as if we had been doing so for years. Taking smooth pulls in harmony. Each better because of the other. Dennis was much better on the rough stuff so he forged on ahead. All good. For the most past I finish the ride alone and that was fine. My spirit had wings as I joyfully burned everything I had left in the tank in those closing miles. Fast, fun and free. I could not have been happier.
As many of you know this ride was a powerful affirmation returning from a broken hip twelve months ago. Yet it is so much more. My heart desire is to share the inspiration for our ability to see and take action for to be our best self. Impossible can not be our first thought. For the stronger we are more we can do good, be good and share. Personal note: My wife Cindy and friend Tessa we volunteers at the Wild Horse aid station. Betting they help fill you water bottles and shared a smile. No man is an island. I came with love and friends and left with more than i came with. That is the best!