Thursday, June 25
Yesterday was a whirl-wind day for both Chris and I.
We had breakfast together in Kremmling, then I drove to Breckenridge to meet him for lunch. I found where the route meets Main Street, and I no sooner sat down on a bench when he rolled up. I estimated it would take him until about 2:00 to get to Breck and he rolled up at 12:30. He was on fire and riding like it was his first ride in months. You would never guess he'd been riding for 1800ish miles in the last week and a half!
Since Chris can't accept a ride from anyone, to anywhere, I ran alongside his bike as we sought a lunch spot. We came upon an absolutely delicious pizzeria. It was delicious. By 1:30, he was suited up and ready to start riding again. He thought that if he really pushed, he could make it to Salida by midnight. It'd be a long day, but he wanted to make Salida -- in the end, he got there at 9:00.
I drove to Salida under the most beautiful sunset I have seen in a long time. As I rolled into town, so did he -- extraordinary timing as always.
This morning we got to have breakfast together again... this time in Salida... with some delicious french toast (well, okay, Chris had french toast, potatoes, AND a full bacon omlete -- wow, shocking even me!). Chris had to wait for the bike shop to open at 9 am. A few days ago I overnighted some spare drive-train parts to the bike shop, since the mud in Montana and Wyoming had really done quite a job at eroding his chain ring and cog. When the bike shop opened, it was awesome to see them usher him in, hand off the boxes (thank goodness they made it there -- expensively, but made it there at least!), and do whatever they could to help him get the bike into shape. An hour later, the bike was looking good and sounding a lot less creaky!
In the drop-box, he also had a fresh pair of bike shorts. I really thought he was going to cry with happiness when he saw the fresh shorts. He bounded off to the dressing room and returned looking like he was walking on air. Ahhhh, it must feel good!
He had to send the old and extra parts (and shorts!) back via the post office (race regulations don't allow for him to just hand the box off to me -- even though we were both headed the same place...home). It was funny to watch him try to maneuver his bike with this box in hand around the town of Salida. The best part of the morning came when the post office worker asked him if his package had anything fragile, perishable, or potentially hazardous in it. He said: "nope, not unless you consider the bike shorts I've worn for the past two weeks and only washed once hazardous!" The lady looked a little shocked and then laughed -- little did she know but he was serious!
He sent off the box, stopped by the gas station to resupply, then was finally off on the trail around 11:00. A late start by Tour Divide standards for sure, but you have to do what you have to do to get your bike reliable for the last 1000 mile push through no-man's land.
It was certainly hard on both of us to leave each other again -- but we know it'll only be about a week until I get to pick him up at the end. He knows he is behind Kurt and now also behind Jay/Tracey because of his two long stops the last two nights, but he is in a completely different place than he was when I first saw him on Tuesday evening. Tuesday night he was essentially dileriously tired, making random comments that he wouldn't even remember saying the next day. His eyes were blood-shot and his heart was racing even when asleep. When I left him this morning, he looked fresh, excited, and motivated to get to Antelope Wells. He's well-rested which, assuming his bike and body hold together, makes him a serious force to be reckoned with.
(Oooooh, in the box he sent home, he also included his first memory card from his camera. When the box arrives in the next few days, I'll get to download and see all of his pictures from the route so far. I also have permission to post them... so stay tuned!)