Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"One of my worst dayz out there" by Ryan Zimny, a lad with a DBD membership offer in his future?

The fifth installment of “One of my worst dayz out there” comes from the rugged off-spring of a comrade-teacher of mine from Esko Schools. Below, Ryan Zimny (a high school fizsicks teacher and ski coach), cut from the same raw hide as his dad, recounts a vignette relating to an epic trip he took crossing the Great Divide from the Mexican border to the Canadian border some years ago. (FYI: His dad met him near the halfway point and together they road in glory to the Canadian border.) Little Z (as I like to fondly call him) is tough as nails and always ready to accept a challenge, as long as there is desperate desolation or forlorn danger involved. Regarding Little Z's propensity for steadfastness, Mallory once was heard to mutter, “I like the cut of that lad’s jib.” Read on and marvel at this youth’s resolute demeanor:

Charlie, I've been enjoying the tales of woe on the blog as of late, and thought I'd throw in a tale of my own if you so choose to include it:

The summer of my 21st year found me looking for an excuse to avoid the misery of another summer of manual labor in the pallet factory between my scholarly pursuits. I had come across a small blurb about the newly mapped Great Divide Mountain Bike Route stretching between our northern and southern borders in a Bike magazine, and figured it could provide an adequate diversion from "respectable" work. After an inadequate period of training and gear procurement, I made my way the day after my last final to the Mexican border in order to start my ride north, under the assumption that I could follow summer on my journey north. This assumption worked fine for the first few weeks, where I would find patches of melting snow at the higher elevations to balance out the unbelievable desert heat at the lower. That is, until the day after I crossed from New Mexico in Colorado and started a long slog up to 12,000 foot Indiana Pass, near the Summitville Mine Superfund site. I had just crossed the 10k foot elevation mark, looking at the scarred remains of a bright orange mountain peak as a monument to human destruction and greed, when I hit a significant snow field. The weather was pleasant, probably around 50 degrees or so, and when I pedaled into the snow, my wheels sunk into the heavy cement enough that it became a challenge to push my way, dragging my fully loaded BOB as a sled behind. Two hours later, my legs were covered in cuts from post-holing my way in waist deep hell. I was soaked, and getting cold. Really cold. Reality hit when I realized I no longer could tell where the forest service road lay beneath the alpine meadow, the wind was blowing a lot harder than before, and the sky had become a dark gray. Realizing the stupidity of the situation as I had made less than a mile of progress over the last couple hours, and starting to sink into hypothermia, I set camp beneath a stand of pines and crawled into my summer weight sleeping bag. Every article of clothing I had went on, and I laid there spooning peanut butter into my mouth, weighing my options. Struggle back, and make a hundred mile detour around this mountain or continue on. If I went forward, I still had 10 miles and 2000 vertical feet before the pass would allow me to drop back to the heat of the desert. Once the shivering had subsided, I stuck my head out the door, and looked into a full-on blizzard. I crawled back into my tent, and tried to get some sleep as the walls of my cheap 3-season tent were pressed into my face by the wind. Somewhere around 3 AM, I woke up to the sound of silence. Sticking my head out, I saw stars, so I stepped out to water a tree and found solid, frozen snow underfoot. It was cold. Cold enough to firm up the snow. Salvation! I packed up as fast as I could and headed off in the direction I hoped the road led. I was able to make good time over the frozen crust, breaking through only occasionally. After a couple hours, the sky lightened and I was able to find the road often enough to keep my bearings. Cresting the Pass mid-morning, just as the snow was getting too soft to ride, I was able to at least struggle downhill until I escaped the last fingers of snow and coast a vertical mile over the next 20 miles, down to triple digit temperatures and a cold beer at the first little bar at the outskirts of town. The saint behind the bar let me set up camp out back, and I laid down in the heat and passed out.

Great stuff!!!! Expect more from this young man.
Note: While he will run from the cops, like most of us, he does not run for recreation, like most of us…

1 comment:

  1. Charlie,
    Have a great Holiday season. I can´t wait for 09 and I can´t wait to ride in Iowa again. Today I got 4 teeth yanked and will soon rid myself of tooth pain. I am ready to attack the trails and roads!