I think we can all agree that Sunday was an adventure. A great story. Mine goes like this: “Well I was PRACTICALLY over Berthoud when the highway patrol forced me to turn back. Only after they subdued me with nightsticks and threatened to arrest me, did I agree to wait in Empire.”

You can’t prove that I wouldn’t have made it over that pass.

A photo this awkward belongs only one place:  the internet.

A photo this awkward belongs only one place: the internet.

Today (Monday) was another adventure. My bike was brought to the corral so late last night, that I decided to get it in the morning. And by morning, I mean 9:45. My bike was already en route to Steamboat Springs on a semi-truck. Oops, my bad. By the time I got it and was delivered onto the course, I was starting my ride at mile 65. Crushing disappointment. After some cold climbing, however, I decided to pack maximum adventure into my meager 30 miles. Once I made that choice, it all turned around.

I met Karen, from Fort Collins, who has never battled altitude adjustment as a native Coloradan. Nice gal, but that’s (gasp) infuriating. There’s Brian from Philadelphia, here 10 out of the last 12 years for RTR. Chicago Johnny descended part of Rabbit Ears Pass going no-hands and whooping like Arsenio Hall. My team split somewhat, allowing my dad to find his own pace and triumphantly conquer the climbs like a boss. We took silly videos featuring mind-blowing scenery and celebrated with everyone we could high-five at the Continental Divide.  It might have been a bitter let down, but it wasn’t. It was an adventure.

Riders here share a common spark. We could be relaxing by a pool or doing something classy and dignified. (I don’t know, maybe museums?) But, no. Today we woke up early, laughed at someone’s inappropriate joke, ate our 14th Clif Bar, desperately smeared chamois cream everywhere, packed up our stuff, and climbed on gritty bikes with dirty shoes. Then we rode.

Timothy Brown: He called this look “Cold Steel.”

Timothy Brown: He called this look “Cold Steel.”

Have you met Timothy Brown? He’s the hand-cyclist beating you down the mountains. A triple-amputee who was injured just three short years ago in Afghanistan, his bike has a vanity plate that reads, “Asshole.” Heh. Thank God Tim doesn’t take himself too seriously, otherwise he might not tolerate all the road spray to the face. When I saw him today, he was doing extra miles to complete a full century. You know, because hand cycling is such a breeze. Tim could make choices other than competitive para-cycling, and enduring the questions of awe-struck strangers like my dad and me. But he chooses adventure like the rest of us. His choices saved other Marines, and now they no doubt encourage other soldiers and average adventurers alike. I’m glad I met him, and hope to see him really race one day.

Now don’t you go worrying about my RTR mileage. I’ll make it up on Tuesday’s optional ride, which is 100% guaranteed to be another wild, excruciating adventure.