Monday, October 15, 2007

stage five – shoshone to baker

56.3 miles, 2186' vertical

sun almost ready to peek over the mountains now, mindy took off with that big tailwind on her way up ibex pass. need directions? the MTNT column (miles to next turn) in the route book read 124.81. just go. and go she did.

i'm guessing ibex pass is where the solo champ and mayor of furnace creek, michael alpine ibex emde, got his totem. since i lost the election for kelso town clerk, we got the capybara...

at 7 am, when the van needn't more follow the rider closely, tom called a catnap. we made sure mindy was well supplied, then pulled over. i was riding shotgun, still in my kit, sucking down a recovery drink that i hoped would make me feel better. we both set cell-phone alarms for eight minutes, and i just sat still in the predawn light. before the alarms, i heard tom take a quick breath, looked over to the drivers' seat, and saw him bright-eyed and alert. did the trick. back on the road, another leapfrog up ibex pass.

mindy was cruising, even on the climb. she was set to absolutely fly into baker. from the summit, you can see maybe thirty miles of road, almost dead straight, down the hill, across the plain, through baker, and up the hill on the other side, chad's upcoming stage. let 'er fly!

riding shotgun, i slipped in and out of full consciousness. but every time i came fully back, the picture was the same: mindy ahead of us in a crouch, sailing down the slope, the road straight down, across, and up like always. happened about six times. the picture didn't change.

with about five miles to go, we left her to get chad set up to take off from baker. she was smiling big! she averaged over 20 mph for her second stage, and rolled into baker uphill at 30 mph, on a high. boo-yah! pulling onto town, all of our phones buzzed or rang. the first cell service in probably half a day, and all the well-wishing text messages came pouring in. mindy alone got fifty. good to have friends. but now i was going to have to disabuse them of the notion we were winning...

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