At the NOME 1049 sign, I noted that we had to take a track to the right. Forest, in front, leaves on the left. He’s already far away, I can’t talk to him about it. I don’t see a track on the right, but I’m not seriously looking. Mistake. I should have looked better, taken out my GPS, taken more time to analyze the situation. I had the ideal track on this one. The route requires an almost 5km extra on a hellish track. Lars and Greg went to the right.Best choice.
The track continues with “Up and Down”, we are still sinking as much. I join Forest and decide to stop to eat. We take this opportunity to talk about the race. He leaves a few minutes before me. It takes me over an hour to catch him.
The progress is really slow, the skis sink into the “deep”. The pulk is not really an advantage. Around 9 p.m., we reach the swamps of Flathorn. A dozen bikers have already passed and have plowed this track. They are on foot, pushing their bikes which weigh between 30 and 40 kg, terrible, transforming the track into a narrow trench. I’m happy to be on skis. My pulk, too wide, turns into a snow plow bulldozer. Skiing becomes a real fight, I’m sweating despite the -5 ° C. I barely overtake some cyclists.
Around 11 p.m., the 2 leading runners caught up with me. The terrain leveled off, we crossed frozen lakes of overflows (the water passes between snow and ice) which nevertheless went well on skis. It is midnight, I have traveled 51 km, an average of 4.25 km / hour, including stops. Not really what I imagined. This upsets all my plans: at such a speed, I will have to cut back on my sleep to finish on time.
This race will not be very fast and it will take looooonnnng days to cut down the kilometers. With a hard trail, we would go much faster.
No way to go to Yentna. I’m exhausted. I decide to pitch my tent at the edge of the trail. The snow is soaked, heavy. Not very lucid after this trying day, I forget to cook dinner and fall asleep quickly, all dressed in wet clothes. It’s -10 ° C. I am warm, however, in my down bag rated for -40°C. By participating in this adventure, I wanted to get out of my comfort zone. My hopes are fulfilled.
I’m here. I adapt. I fight.