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Jul 26, 2001
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July 28, 2001--The Race>>>
Jul 28, 2001
July 28, 2001--The Race>>>

July 27, 2001
Mounting Evans(reconnaissance)

On Friday, July 27, I drove 80 miles from Colordao Springs to Georgetown, Colorado, where I had motel reservations, about 13 miles from the start of the race--25 miles outside of Denver (I never did stop in Denver). Check-in wasn't until 3pm so here I was again, tired of driving, hungry, needing to get a good ride in, and no where to go. I checked out the start area of the race to be sure I didn't get lost the next morning. I had three hours to kill, so I decided to drive half way up Mt. Evans. The next morning I'd have to race my bicycle from the bottom to the top. Once I drove half way to the summit, I changed my mind and went for the summit. This is a photo from my1991 visit which I shot of the halfway point of the climb.

Eternal Rest Area...14.1 miles
The road was more difficult than I'd remembered from 1991. Here's a section of road I photographed at Summit Lake, about six miles and 2000 feet below the summit. If you look at the top of the mountain, you can see where the road winds back on itself. The race was about 28 miles of this.
Summit Lake
Nearing the summit, the roads became very scary. I had never, in my 15 years of driving, been so frightened in a car. The roads were very narrow and steep, and if you looked in front all you saw was sky, and to the right, SKY!!! If you look down...oh well, just don't look down. Just a lot of flaming, burned out automobiles with skeletons strewn around them and hundreds of vultures with giant paunches circling overhead. The screams---oh the shrill screams, the burning flesh! It's enough to give you indigestion. I knew the next day I'd have to ride my bicycle up and then DOWN this road.
This is where I started hyperventilating

There was very little room for error, and I was so scared, I froze up twice. I kept blowing air on myself and trying to catch my breath! My hands were frozen on the steering wheel. Here's a shot off one of the cliffs from 1991 when Miimii and I drove it.

Ladies and gentlemen...twenty feet to the right and you will meet Jesus Christ
...and the same photo, zoomed in on some unsuspecting vehicles...
He's in the white car
And here's Alexandria, bicycle gagged and bound in trunk, luggage packed inside, at the summit of the highest paved road in North America, still muddy from Pike's Peak the day before. I bet the other Accords will be jealous.
Mike, are you sure this will make my paint look softer and younger?  I'm getting nervous
You can't tell from the photo but she was completely drowned with mud. She was a mess! I left the mud on for three days until I arrived in Indiana because it was from Pike's Peak. It was special mud, and after it was removed, Alexandria's paint had a youthful glow. I eventually had to clean the windows though--there were two large mud spots on the driver's window, and I kept thinking I was being followed by airplanes because I'd see them from the corner of my eye. So I wiped those UFO's off my window. Then I drove down (duh). I made friends with a yellow-bellied Marmot, one of the commoners of the mountain.
My fellow Marmots...if elected I will make all Marmots proud to...AHHH!!! THERE'S A HORSE TRYING TO EAT ME!!!
My fellow Marmots, if elected I will make all Marmots proud to--AHHH! THERE'S A HORSE TRYING TO EAT ME!!!"
Then I ate him...slowly...painfully...squeak...squeak...crunch...crunch... So I got my motel, went for a 33 kilometer bicycle ride, and slept early. Georgetown looked like something out of a western movie, nestled in a deep valley between two walls of mountains 2000 feet above the town. Very very small, but gorgeous! I should've been a cowboy.

I couldn't sleep that night. I was so nervous and scared after that drive the day before, visions of Toonces the driving cat hurling off the side of the mountain flashing through my head. I munched on a Subway sandwich alone in my room while watching a Dave Matthews on VH1 Storytellers. I knew I was very strong but hadn't climbed well all year, and I knew I had to make the summit at all costs if I had to crawl. Failure was not an option.
I was so lonely. I set up the bicycle, checked and rechecked everything. I'd phoned Ha the day before I left Virginia and told her I'd phone her back after I finished the climb. To make sure I didn't fail, I dug up her wedding ring and wore it so that when I felt like quitting I'd see her ring and remember, I had to phone her after I reached the summit. I tried to call Ha, Cathy (ex-girlfriend), Mommy, and couldn't reach anyone. I did a lot of praying. I apologized about all those terrible things I did with my last girlfriend, promised to visit old people, recycle, be a better person, fart less...

This is what I was facing. And the recurring thought I've had, hundreds of times as I try to fall asleep the night before a big race is,"What have I gotten myself into? Why do I do this to myself? I could have stayed home and been cozy in my bed, not a care in the world. I need to stop doing this".

Mount Evans, Colorado...14,260 feet...highest auto road in North America
Mount Evans, Colorado...14,260 feet...highest auto road in North America
Mount Evans, Colorado...14,260 feet...highest auto road in North America