It can be a tough pill to swallow.
Yesterday morning I awoke in a lavish hotel room in Beaver Creek, Colorado. I stayed quiet for nearly two hours and stared at the ceiling, ruminating; after all, my roommate Serge was still in the race. I was not. I'd be a very poor teammate indeed to deny him any extra sleep. Finally Serge's alarm started bleating, and we both arose and packed our bags. Serge placed his outside the door for the soigneurs to bring to the van, and trundled off to the dining hall for breakfast, whereas I brought my bags down to one of our team cars. The car was loaded with the bikes and bags of racers who'd abandoned, bikes and bags, no longer needed, bound for Boise. Bikes, and bags, and racers. I said my goodbyes -- this is the end of my season after all -- who knows when I'll see my teammates again, or our staff. I wished the mood were celebratory; it was almost morose. It's odd: I certainly didn't want to leave, and nobody wanted to see me go, but driving back to Boise was the only thing I could tolerate.
I had to get out of there.
On my way to the highway, I stopped for a(nother) coffee with Daniel and Emiliano. We waxed philosophical about racing bicycles, about getting dropped, and about the close of a season, the last paragraph in an exciting chapter, the other bookend. After another round of goodbyes, I flicked on the radio, found the on-ramp for I-70, and headed west.
Somehow, the cosmos united me with a fantastic radio station, and a stunningly gorgeous stretch of road to send me off. Here's a slice:
A poem, read to me by Garrison Keillor.
A song my math-dork friends would adore.
A winding highway through a misty canyon.