The wind has swept the clouds, the weather is magnificent. You can clearly see the whole Alaska Range and Mt Mc Kinley (Denali) in the background. I take many photos, the trail can wait. The sun is on the horizon, the doubts of being here have been blown away. I am well, I am serene, this wild landscape is so beautiful. So wild.
After 10km, part of a roller coaster to Shell Lake. The track becomes hard again, logically the cyclists overtake me again. I am tired, these climbs by force of arms exhaust me. Many traces of moose draw my attention. I have to be careful, they can be dangerous. They are in their home. I was not invited. There is so much fresh snow this year that they prefer to stay on the harder trail and no longer want to leave their territory. Two Italian cyclists have already been charged this year. Danger.
Like every day, the last kilometers are endless. I probably should have made a stop to swallow a soup, a meal. The pasta is far away, the batteries flat. 80km in the same day is too much, maybe too much. When there are 10km left, we say to ourselves: I am not stopping, I’m there… We are wrong. When there are 10km left, it can mean: another 2.5 hours of effort overnight, or much more, at -25°C, with wind. You have been skiing for 70km, 14 hours of effort,… it would be wiser to stop, put on your down jacket, take out the stove, and boil 1 liter of water…. Stop for 30 minutes or more to win 5 hours!
Again, a lack of lucidity, of reflection. I arrive at the lodge around 10 p.m. completely empty, haggard. Cold too. The wind was freezing over the lake. The Kiwis finish their burgers. I am unable to eating anything: upset, vomiting. It was really cold, I used up all my internal ammunition. After 1 hour in an armchair in front of the stove, I order a soup and a beer. They hardly go down. Beat goes back to the trail when I go to bed. He is always available to share his experience with everyone and never stingy with good advice. A great guy. Thanks Beat.
1 a.m. I collapse on my bunk in “my cabin in Alaska”, happy to have achieved my 80km goal, to have “done the job”. The Kiwis will take care of the wood stove overnight. I just snore. Thank you Graham and George.