Eric B. checks in from Platoro
You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.
Yeah, hi, Eric Bruntjen calling from Platoro, Colorado. Pulled in last night, pulled my bike up in front of the local bar -- it’s a one-bar town -- there was three people on the deck waiting for me. They’d been watching me on the Internet, and I pulled in and they said ‘Come on in,’ and they made me sign a leaderboard they had printed out on the wall. There were a couple lumberjacks in there, fishing guides, they all had laptops open watching the race and talking about it. I’ll tell you, if you ever forget this is a competition, the locals will remind you. There’s no other race like this. Matthew Lee’s out front, he may be shutting this thing down today, there’s no telling. But anything can happen -- I think there’s at least three or four guys that could catch him.
There’s only one Italian left, or I should say there was only one Italian left. I caught him for the last time day before yesterday outside in the desert between Salida and Del Norte. He was pushing his bike with a broken seat post -- just snapped clean in half out there in the desert. Just shook his hand and left him there; nothing I can do. His race is over, I think. I guess I don’t really care what they’re saying on the Internet; that guy, he’s got guts. If you don’t speak English and you come from a different country to do this particular race, boy, your guts are bigger than the Montana sky, because this is a tough, tough race, even if you know the language. And it was great fun racing against him. I guess I got about eight guys ahead of me. They told me in the bar yesterday they’re at least half a day ahead of me, which is probably too much for me to make up, but you never know, so I’m gonna try. I’m getting an early start today to try to beat the afternoon thunderstorms.
Things are going pretty well. Not too many mechanical issues, my body’s still holding up, starting to feel a little fatigued at the end of the day but I’ve been having some big days. The day before yesterday not so big, but I got chased back about four miles off-route by a big thunderstorm. Knocked on a rancher’s door and he let me stay in the bunkhouse; for 40 wet and moldy and muddy dollars, I got a room, no lights, no water, no heat but a working roof and what I swear to God was a horse-hair mattress. It just felt like heaven, though, compared to the weather outside.
Then yesterday had a really terrific day -- four passes, two 10,000-footers and then the mack daddy, the biggest one of the whole race -- Indiana Pass, 11,900 feet. Came out of Del Norte, which is I think below 8,000, and just climbed up a monster hill into the storm. But I just had great lucky yesterday with the weather; I just followed a little hole, had sun most of the way, only had to stop and hide under a tree once. When I got to the top of Indiana Pass, there was a little notch there, and the wind was blowing so hard I had to push my bike through it. But other than that I had pretty darn good weather. And then there was Stunner Pass after that, which was a little smaller one. Coming up Conejo Pass yesterday morning, came up behind a cougar. That was ... I came up right behind him, he didn’t hear me until I went over some rocks. I still had my bear bells on, and the bear bells shook and he took off into the woods.
Having a great race so far, hopefully today will be another big day. Today I’m going to make it into New Mexico. Bye.