After Canada I had a couple of weeks to kill. The team was nice enough to loan me a car and I headed from Cleveland to Michigan for a little R&R.
First up was a camping trip with Paul. We headed up to Boyne City, Michigan, stayed at a very expensive state park, and road some terrific hilly roads around the area. To be camping again was great, even if it wasn’t my usual accommodations. Paul brought along a spacious 9x9 tent and two vintage cots. Luxury!! It felt great to have time off again, the racing team has me working a lot of hours and a lot of days. Too soon though, we had to head back. Paul hasn’t achieved retirement yet and the j.o.b. was calling him. Retirement will come soon, we hope. Plans have been made....
Next was a trip to Grand Rapids to visit my adopted family, Jeff, Catrina, Amelia, and Justine. They were, as usual, wonderfully hospitable. I forced them to go to a bike race to watch the famous Breezer in a race. They even pretended to enjoy it. The real tell will be when they start riding their bikes. Then I’ll know they enjoyed it...
My stay of lazy days included a 4th of July weekend and pretty soon it was time for me to return to work. Back to Cleveland and then I was off again in the team van, towing the trailer full of racing supplies, heading to Boise, Idaho, then Bend, Oregon.
The long drive got me thinking about the places I’ve been since February and made me realize this job has really taken me on a wild ride. Here’s a recount of the driving I’ve done since I reported for duty in February for spring training:
Flew to Milwaukee, drove the van and trailer to Cleveland, then on to Florida for camp, back to Cleveland, back to Milwaukee. I drove to Phoenix, drove to Los Angles for two weeks of racing, drove back to Phoenix, then to Truth or Consequences (New Mexico).
From there I went to Silver City (also New Mexico), Phoenix, Sacramento, Lake Tahoe, did the Tour of California, left Los Angles on Sunday evening and arrived in Greensboro, South Carolina on Thursday. Drove to Philadelphia, then Cleveland, then to Burlington, Vermont. From there we went up to Quebec City (Canada), back to Vermont, back to Cleveland. Then I headed to Idaho for one night of racing, then to Bend, Oregon, which gets us to the present day.
Along the way I’ve watched the guys win races, and I’ve seen them suffer badly for 30th place. I’ve seen them crash and it tears my heart out each time. I’ve lost count of the hours I’ve put in to this job and always worked by the mantra I learned long ago pit-crewing for a friend at motorcycle races: “You can’t win a race in the pits, you can only lose a race in the pits.”
I’ve only got a couple races left to work, which might be the cause of my melancholy thoughts. I’m heading to ElK Grove, Illinois for a short stage race, then back to Cleveland. Then I’ll be done till November, and I have several interesting plans.