01 September 2009

Ahead of the Pack

17 June 2003
Day 3
Montrose to Delta
34 miles

I left Montrose at 6 a.m., unknowingly went off route, circled back and made the remainder of the 32-mile ride by 8:15. I was passed nine times, and five of those were while I was taking pictures. I beat the early truck by half an hour, and I got to see what goes on before we arrive in the each town.

People hanging banners. Crossing guards waking up. Organizers staking off where booths, trucks and the massage tent will be. Shower trucks being hooked up. Teachers putting signs on school doors and roping off sections of the school where indoor campers will not be allowed. High school students and early riser cyclists forming a brigade to unload the trucks as they arrive. MOUNTAINS of luggage!!!

And all these people are volunteers. None are paid to do what they do.

This was the only chance I will have to experience the background work. I expect to be one of the late arrivals tomorrow, even though I plan to be on the road before sunrise.

No vendors were at the first rest stop. I almost beat the bike repair van to the second rest stop. About nine or ten cyclists were hanging out at the second rest stop waiting for the breakfast burrito vendor to heat the grill and cook the food.

This was the first town where residents actually lined the street to welcome riders, but I missed it because I arrived too early.

Because I was about the 20th cyclist to arrive in Delta, I got the best camping spot in the entire city. Ha ha! Then I got to play sand volleyball for about three hours straight. Woohoo!

Throughout this ride, "Agent Orange," a nameless, faceless RTR volunteer, scouts the routes prior to our Rides and marks road hazards with neon orange spray chalk. This secret agent also plants humorous and inspirational messages along the way. Today, after a sign reading "Pea Green Cemetery," the orange message on the road inquired, "Is Pea Green a place? Or is it what you do after you drink green beer? Mmmm! Beer!" Near a junk yard, the road read: "Look! Retired SAGs!" My personal favorite, however, was along a very bumpy portion of the country road, which facetiously asked: "Aren't you glad you brought your knobby tires?" YES!!!

Wednesday's Ride

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