by J. Dunn
That last one was fun let's take another dive into the *archive. This one was from the last Rapha Gentlemen's Race in Colorado. It was an exciting time to be alive back when things were fresh and new and suddenly we realized that we couldn't call something a "race" legally. So, that was a problem. But, there was so much about this week that wasn't a problem. We did a number of rides. Sometimes two in a day so that at some point they all blend into one big ride.
However, I remember one of the rides for a very specific reason — and the chance meeting capped off an awesome day on the bike. Which, is the way to end any bike ride really, because a beautiful ending can mask any tough situations that happened during the day. But, before we get to the ending there was all this stuff that happened first.
There were rides in the mornings that started cold and somewhere the sun was almost too much to begin. The Gentlemen's Race was that weekend, but we were also in the middle of a Rapha Continental trip, just another one of these long chunks of Continental films that never made the cut and saw the light of day. (We've got a Japanese one that's worth revisiting too, but we'll save that for next. Because today is an important day.)
Kansas crashed during the race. That was one of the first memories that pop into my mind. There was a "hairy" left turn that most of us missed and when K-Money came upon us already circling back he tried to jam on the brakes and make the left. He did not. For some reason, I think there was a father/daughter in a jeep that sort of picked him up and out of the dust. His jersey was torn.
"What is going ON here?" Jesse Anthony was out training and was super confused. We tried to explain to him that it wasn't a race, but that is hard for bike racers when they have their race brain on. "Why would you go that way? It's going to be super rough on those bikes," was what he left us with as he turned back onto silky smooth pavement. "I need to keep doing my workout."
There were "Gin & Milk" drinks doled out the night before. Gin and Milk. It's a thing. So, apparently was the weed. It had recently become recreationally legal in Colorado and so it was everywhere. The lady behind the counter must have thought that Aaron and I were a sight when we clopped our way into her store, giggling and professing that it was indeed our first time. Gin and milk and weed. LETHAL combination. There was so much weed going around that we were hiding it, unbeknownst to the drivers, in company vehicles that were soon heading home. Add "drug trafficking" to our list of Continental Offenses. Hopefully that statute of limitations is up on that.
We rode with Allen Lim for a while and we talked about his company Skratch Labs who had been making food and getting everything stoked all weekend. He also cursed his teammates for leaving him and praised them for it in the same breath. There's a good shot of him in the Gentlemen's Race film mulling it all over. 02:56 is where that lands. Serious Challange: If you can correctly count the number of guest sock appearances in this film you'll win a prize.
Big fat drops of rain came down near the end of the day. It was hot enough that no one seemed to mind much. You could hear them sort of "thwap" against the soft dusty road. "Thwap." There was dust in everything. The rainstorm also came in black and while we were descending back towards Boulder I had the closest call that I've ever had to a photo vehicle. Like, dumb close. It made a cool shot, but it would not have been good.
We stopped back in town at one of the swimming holes for a dip. How cool is it to have a lazy river making it's way through the middle of town? This must have been a day or two after the race because as I remember it, we were all pretty worked and were content enough to just set our big dumb legs in the cool water. Of course, we couldn't pass by without hitting the rope swing, so Dan made us all look bad with some backflips or something of that nature. I remember that the girl in the bikini was particularly impressed.
It must have done something for the others because as we turned back and up the relatively steep pitch back towards our house these guys took off. Aaron and I read the look on each other's face and in an instant let them go.
At the final rise someone, our eyes blocked by the sun behind him, stepped out of his driveway and motioned us over. "Hey guys! What's up? You need something to drink?" Aaron and I looked at each other and then at the tanned fit-looking man standing in front of us. Andy Hampsten had just walked out of his garage and waived us down.
"I saw your friends tear by and when I looked out to see what was going on I saw you two lollygagging behind." We laughed at our lack of speed at this moment, but also at our good fortuned to not have sped past and out of view. "Of course we have time for a drink."
We could see that this was the sort of thing that happens in this household often. His wife smiled at us politely but the look was still there. "Seriously, another couple smelly cyclists? Didn't you just spend the last couple days helping make the route and then hanging out at the finish line?" We could read all of that in just a glance. But, we were there and he did want to talk over everything. "Did we like the route? It contained a few of his favorite training routes, even if he didn't give away all of his secret passages." We spoke of the riding in this whole area and his love for it. And olive oil and the riding in Italy and his love for it.
I'm not sure if we said anything. We were content enough to have just been invited in. Sure, it all came pouring out in a flood as soon as we got back to the house, but as far as I can remember, we just sat there with shit eating grins on our faces and enjoyed a beer with our new friend Andy Hampsten.
*Let's be honest here, I'm laid up and realized that going back and revisiting all these rides, pouring over photos (literally the reason that I take so many - to remember) is good for me. It's helping me focus on the future rides by remembering the past. // Double side note: I'm laid up because I had a gnarly knee surgery to fix an old injury. I'm not looking for sympathy, just a way to deal with the downtime. So, if you've got a way that you were dealt a heavy blow to your physicality (an injury) send it through, I'm looking for stories about comebacks at this point: email@example.com
Also from the archive: Summer Riding in Eastern Oregon