Uncle Paul - 1,910 miles, 78 hours
Dear Uncle Paul,
I've been meaning to write you now for quite some time, but ever since arriving in Denver things have been pretty quiet on the bike. It's been a dream come true to get to ride the bike every weekday back and forth to work, and then on the weekends head out for longer rides in the mountains of Colorado. Sometimes out here you just hop on a road, and it seems like the people that paved it meant for only two wheels to touch the asphalt at a time.
Just the other week I was heading up through Boulder to catch up with my long time buddy Pat Morgan, and I hit a bit of rain coming from some clouds that had just passed the front range. Shortly after the rain started, I came up behind another group of riders on Harleys and the 5 of us continued to battle it out in the rain for the next 20 miles or so. After it seemed like things weren't going to let up from the west, we all decided to head east and beat out the storm. We turned right to head toward Longmont, and all kicked it into 6th gear. Not only did we get out of the rain, but after another 20 miles we popped out from under the clouds and were met with a ray of sunshine so bright, I must have dried off completely in just a few minutes. At the next stop light, they pulled into the left turn lane, and I into the right. After riding as a pack for about an hour, we simply exchanged nods and went our separate ways.
This camaraderie that there is amongst riders is something I cherish the most about being on the road, and I'm sure you've felt the same yourself many times before. Driving in a car can be so mindless and dull at times, but the moment you step onto the road with your bike, you're right in the action and you can almost feel the support from riders you pass by or get the chance to ride with, even if only for a few moments.
Now as I said things had been pretty uneventful on the bike aside from the beautiful rides out here like the one I just mentioned. But after a few weeks it almost seemed too good to be true. I hadn't had any close calls, no one swerving into me on the highway, no one cutting me off, etc. and so of course, I was due. When I told my dad the following story, he even said it seemed like I nearly willed it into existence.
One day after work the traffic on the highway was real bad, and so I decided to take a different route home. As I was passing through a neighborhood of Denver, I began to take a long curve at around 30, when unbeknownst to me, there was a stop light in the middle of the bend. It went yellow as I approached and given there were other cars at the intersection I slammed on my front brake in an attempt to make a quick stop. Before I knew it, I couldn't get the bike totally upright in time, and out goes my back end. The next set of events happened so fast I can barely even retell it now, but I guess somehow I popped up off of the bike, let it slide out under me, ran over to the fallen hog, jacked it back up on two wheels, and took back off again through the intersection.
I pulled over and one guy stopped and asked it I was alright, to which I replied, "Yeah, I think the bike is fine." He laughed at the fact that I responded with the status of my bike and not myself, but took it as I was okay as well and scooted off. So, just like that, about a month into the trip, I dumped the bike and somehow got off with no injuries aside from some cosmetic blemishes on my hands and the saddle bags.
To tell the truth, I'm actually pretty happy about how everything went down. I'd be the first to admit that I may have been getting a bit too confident on the bike, and this was a good reminder that while there's many a beautiful thing about the roads we get to ride, it can get ugly fast when you take them for granted.
I'm headed out of Denver on Saturday for another bigger ride out to Salt Lake City, and I can't wait to strap everything to the bike again and set out for some major miles. There's still a lot to do around Denver on the bike, but I'll just have to tag some more of it next time with you.
Live to ride, ride to live.