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Ride Captain Ride (Day Twenty-One)

‘What you think creates how you feel’, said The Coach.  He’s correct, as far as I can tell or assume is obvious.  Practicing this – successfully – is easier to say than it is to do.  It’s pretty straightforward, though, right?  Yes, you’re right.  It’s simple.  Why, then, is it a journey unto itself?

Telluride, also, is a journey unto itself.  Boxed-in by mountains and filled with warmth and passion, it’s a town in which even Peter Pan could run the risk of being known as the stodgy one.  Its vibrancy probably created its trademark waterfalls, as opposed to the other way around.  The community has seized the opportunity for healthy living and they take their fun very seriously.  If Telluride was a Christmas present, it would be wrapped in thick, hand-made paper and it would have snowflakes glittered all over it.  Not real glitter – it would have actual snowflakes, unmelted yet cold, all over it.  Yes, they would figure out how to engineer this.  Perhaps Peter Pan could help if he was there, as opposed to being exiled for his stodginess.   Inside the wrapping would be a blast of adrenaline-flavored newness that’s somehow familiar and meant-to-be.  Yet new.

We left town with a renewed purpose and feeling fresh. For me, it was great to feel healthy again, as the desert’s doom was forgotten.  The road that took us to Montrose was beautiful.  As we left town on a slightly downward slope, it was almost as striking as the road that had brought us in just 36 hours before.  Only issue I had with the road that took us away is that…it took us away.  My favorite part of that initial stretch is that it made me promise myself that I would return to Telluride.

The path stretched through some unbelievable rocky cliffs and settled itself, with us, to hug the Delores River.  Grins prevailed as we took cool breeze from the living river, whitecaps aplenty.  I was thinking about how it really didn’t seem fair to behold such greatness when another forest of Aspen trees sprung out to greet us.  My recent connotation of the Aspen tree is about wonder.  Each and every time I’ve seen them on this journey, they have been a joy.  Their spade-shaped leaves owe their greatness to their bright green color.  Their trunks (which, by the way, look like mere stalks) are somehow bright, yet they are gray.  I think I want one, maybe as a dignified pet.  I’d call him ‘Walter’.   He’d listen to all of my ideas and that would be great.

We pedaled to Ridgway, CO where we took a break and ate lunch.  Ridgway is a place where the Cowboy and the Hippie seem to coexist in harmony.  While we were only there for around 60 minutes, I’m certain that I’m correct in this assessment, and the film crew, amongst others, concurs.  In fact, it was initially their observation.  While visiting Ridgway, a patron of our lunchtime establishment recognized Kevin from a recent newspaper article and thanked him for what he’s doing. Caught him off-guard, and it was great to see that happen.  It was definitely better than the next time I saw Kevin caught off-guard.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it.  We were cresting a hill just east of Ridgway, still jumping toward Montrose.  Some idiot (to put it nicely) decided that it would be a good idea to pass a bunched group of motorcyclists by jumping over a double yellow line on a single lane highway.  His charcoal-colored Ford F-150’s tires cleared the opposite white line that was the shoulder of the road.  If Mince’s reflexes were not what they are, he would have been hit, straight on, and by at least 85 MPH.  Instead, Kevin dropped his elbow/shoulder and head toward the downward-sloping gravel embankment.  He didn’t lose control of the bike, amazingly. But, if he hadn’t committed so fully and quickly to aversion, he would have certainly lost his life.  We were both in a despondent state of reckoning as we gathered ourselves.  What bothers me at this point is that I can see, clearly, the front of that truck in my mind’s eye.  The chrome was polished.   It had shiny rims and a fresh coat of wax.  Someone cared about that truck, yet didn’t think about what they were doing while driving it.  I kid you not: Kevin almost got crushed today.  Ask him, he’ll tell you the same.

But, we got through it and will be sure to be on the lookout for other dim-witted, so-called drivers.  Kevin’s nerve gave us an opportunity to be grateful that we have a tomorrow.  It was close though, and I’m talkin’ inches, if that.

The Rockies are really something to behold, especially on a bike.  Purpose, renewed, is something to celebrate.  Being alive is something to appreciate.  When all of these masters come together, it’s an amazing opportunity.

Back to The Coach’s wisdom, and with an adage:  maybe it’s not only about what you think, but also how you think about it.

While I’m thinking (and I’d bet Walter would agree):  The only thing that’s going to slow us down will be our brakes, and they’re overrated.

For the Familes of the Fallen…To the Limit.

Care Creates Community,

Matt Sauri