As I drank a quick coffee John Runkle told us that Carl had turned up a couple of hours earlier, had a quick meal and then moved on.
Why was I not surprised that he had caught up and overtaken. Apparently he had landed at Rohn that morning and was riding within ten
minutes. I fully expected not to see him until the end.
Bison camp was nestled in a small depression, as I crested the adjacent hill towards Nikolai there was just flatness all around
illuminated by a full moon. This was to be psychologically a tough section. The flatness lead me into a false sense of security,
I expected the trail to be fast, in reality it was no faster than any other section, I don't know why. Sullivan's Bridge was the
first landmark after 15 miles. A small bridge over a small creek it took forever to get there, so long I thought I must have either
passed or bypassed it. When It finally came into view I was depressed at how slow I was travelling even though I had been riding
pretty much all the way. The thought of having only completed a third of this section hurt. However, there was no point in getting
all morose about it, just keep going and eventually I'll get there.
At 10am I arrived in Nikolai. From across the river a bunch of kids out practising their skiing came across to welcome me. I have
to admit being unenthusiastic for small talk at this point, I just wanted to eat and drink. As luck would have it the checkpoint
was at the far end of the town. I rode through what was the biggest settlement since leaving Anchorage. At the checkpoint I found
Al and Carl asleep in a spare room. I sat at the kitchen table and drank juice followed by hash browns and eggs. I got my head down
for 45 minutes deep sleep, one of those sleeps when you wake up you don't know what time it is. Andy and Aidan had arrived and eaten
and were ready to go again soon. I sat back down at the table and drank coffee followed by a large helping of freshly made lemon
meringue pie which just hit the spot.
At 1:45 Andy, Aidan and myself left Nikolai for the final stretch to McGrath, only 50 miles to go. Carl and Al had already left.
Andy said that Al always storms this section, we would not catch him.