Climb to Safety (Day Twenty-Three)
Day Twenty-Three started with a comment, from Kevin, that it was going to be an easy day. We were both feeling refreshingly lighthearted, and the blue skies and cool weather were pleasant. The course was supposed to be an easy one. But…something didn’t really jive. I felt like the day that we talk about things being easy is the day that we’ll get bitten by a dog, hit by a car, or just caught off guard in some way we didn’t expect. So, we had a quick conference and decided to use the day to work on some communication strategies to make us safer out on the roads. Plus, we were still in Colorado, so it turns out that we weren’t finished with the climbing.
Safety officer Mincio was really on his game, and by mid-morning, we had established the ‘rules’ for two distinct and different calls. By the day’s end, we’d used one of them.
1) ‘SiLLS’ stands for Stop, Look, Listen and Smell. It’s a military term that is easy to yell, distinct to hear, and generally means that there is a potential of danger. One example might be if we were coming around a corner and the opposite side of the street had a dotted line, meaning that a car could potentially pass another, but they wouldn’t be able to see us. And so on. No specific danger, but a anticipatory suspicion that there may be some danger.
2) ‘Budweiser’ is a different thing altogether. If you hear Budweiser, you don’t have but a second to react, and more than likely you’ll be ditching your bike. It could also mean that you’d have a slight chance of evasive maneuvers, but very slight if that. Budweiser is not a word to whisper, and you’d rather not hear it.
At the day’s end, we used a SiLLS call when we saw a passing car coming at us. This time, it was a legal move, as there was a dotted line. Still, the car was passing on a single lane highway, and right at the point where we were riding. The call allowed us to be proactive in avoiding an accident. Just figured I’d tie out with everyone and show that we’re taking measures to avoid any unnecessary dangers, especially after last week’s incident when Kevin almost took the business end of that F-150. Glad that we didn’t have to call a ‘Budweiser’ yesterday, and every day that we don’t is a win!
We had some long steady hills, and they were enjoyable. They took us up and down some passes, through some mountain meadows and across some rivers. Some of these back roads had an intimate feel to them, and I was reminded of the California Wine Country with the way that some of them rose and dropped. They would often open themselves to lush prairies, pastures and plains that had their own history, their own secrets. As we got further from Salida and the Arkansas River, it got a bit more dry and hazy.
During a curvy stretch, we were greeted by around 20 bikers (as in Harley Davidsons) coming the other way. Right off the bat I knew that they were either veterans reacting to our colors or they had seen us on the news or maybe the newspaper. They were pumping their fists and yelling to us. It’s always great to get that support, and throughout this trip, I have to say that few groups of people have been as outspoken in their support as the free-spirited bikers. There have been Hells Angels and recreational bikers. Motocross people in Nevada to weekend warriors in the wine country. For some reason, they dig us. Just sayin…
As we pulled into Westcliffe, I noticed some clouds approaching, again at a rapid pace. We had already checked in when the thunder and rain came. It was pretty cool.
This weekend will be rich with opportunities to raise money and awareness for the Families of the Fallen. Matt Corry, our MFIC, has gotten us a booth at the ‘Rollin on the Riverwalk’, which is a music festival held on the 4th of July. We’ll be able to chat up the cause quite a bit. This is in Pueblo, where we will arrive the afternoon of the 3rd to a reception and some additional media opportunities. Two of them, to be exact. On the morning of the 5th, we have an intriguing guest rider. Max Durtschi, a USA Cycling Team member, will be joining us, which will be a lot of fun. Plus, maybe he’ll let us draft him!
For the Families of the Fallen…To the Limit,
Care Creates Community,