Mistake #1. I was worn out and have not been riding consistently. After spending the previous two weeks moving the shop, building shelves, starting to organize etc, was worn out. Starting something like this worn out and tired, is not setting up for success. I'm not sure that is something that I could change. Having a full time plus job, being a full time husband/dad, it is part of life. When the bikepack window opens, I have to go.
But, I could change my goals. Kevin Hessler reminded me that I should go out there without a plan. He is partially right. While the plan was to finish the loop, I need to be more flexible.
Mistake #2, I didn't drink enough. The long arduous climb up 215 is tough, especially at 2pm with 85 degrees and no shade or breeze. I kept thinking I was almost there and judged my drinking by how far I had left to go instead of time. Almost 2 hrs passed, and I only drank 3/4 bottle of fluid.
Mistake #3. I panicked. By the time I got to the gap, I was hurting. Not totally done but hurting. I had already decided to scrap the ride, and get back home on Friday night, so I could get to the kid's last soccer game of the season. My choices were to continue down towards Waynesville, turn around and drop back down to At The Ridge, head to Davidson River, Pisgah or Bent Creek to camp. I considered camping on the side of the parkway, but needed water. Several other spots crossed my mind as well. I foolishly decided to head down to Davidson River. I thought that once I got past the climb at Devil's courthouse, it was mostly down hill. It was not. There were at least 4 climbs before reaching hwy 276.
Mistake #4. I didn't let myself recover. I should have stopped and done what I needed to do before continuing on. It is nearly impossible to recover while still spending resources.
Lots of mistakes and lots of lessons learned, I hope I learned.
Long live long rides!