The towel, she’s been thrown.
But before we get into anything at all, I have to renege my previous statement declaring the following photo to be the best race photo ever;
-as it turns out my traveling companion, Amy Sheridan actually swiped that honor from right out of under me;
We can all pack up our things and go home. The party’s over.
So anyway, upon last communication, we had just wrapped up the Ft. Collins stage.
-After which I’d shaved only half my face due to a crappy razor blade, made a failed attempt at doing laundry, closed down the hotel bar with the management of the Jelly Belly team, and in a drunken stüper bought a new Christmas sweater.
I would also like to note that at no point during my time with said team managers did they offer me even a single jelly bean.
We left the Collins and lazily made our way to Denver, which for those not in the know is the capital of Colorado, and just east of where in 1986 I felt my first boob.
As a matter of fact, and for the sake of full disclosure, it happened right at this exact spot while driving 30 miles an hour in the fast lane;
So by the time we’d arrived to Denver, the race was in full swing, and for just a moment I stood behind this guy, who had one of the biggest heads I’ve ever seen;
After marveling at that for a while we wandered over to the finish line area to rub sweaty elbows with everyone else who had the same idea.
The photo doesn’t really do it justice, but I would estimate that there were approximately eleven billion people in attendance.
It was then that I started randomly bumping into people, like for example, this lady;
Besides catching up with old friends like Meredith, I was also doing double duty slapping hands with even older friends from high school, as well as the occasional person of questionable taste who reads this here website.
The crowds were swelling by the minute and I did all that I could to get a shot or two of the race, both of which were mediocre;
Being that I was there in attendance and in conjunction with that one beer company, I naturally was in charge of muling their wares around to folks like announcers extraordinaire Brad Sohner and Dave Towle.
Of course this meant having my bag checked numerous times, being threatened with confiscation, being sternly told “you’re coming with me” by security heads and so forth, so coupled with the crush of humanity, it took hours to get anywhere on the race course.
I finally borrowed a VIP pass and snuck into the closest proximity to the finish line I could get to, only to execute (in contrast to Amy’s photo above) the worst photo ever shot at any race ever;
In my defense, part of the reason it went south for me at this exact moment was because in her excitement, a young woman in a salmon colored dress spilled her flute of champagne down my back.
The VIP tent is just as rowdy as everywhere else, but filled with people in a higher tax bracket.
Upon the race’s conclusion, we found Peter Sagan had won the stage, Optum-Kelly’s Ryan Anderson was in second, United Healthcare’s Alessandro Bazzana nailed down third, and Colorado’s favorite son Tejay van Garderen took the overall win.
With the sea of humanity flooding towards the podium, I once again did battle with the race’s security forces as I smuggled four cold ones to my long time friend and compatriot, Ben Jacques-Maynes;
That Ben sat on my right, and we were later joined by another crusher of the bikecycle Ben Lieberson;
I was the meat in a Ben sandwich, and we all quickly caught up, solved some of the world’s problems and marveled that the dome on the capital had finally been replaced by a grain elevator;
Ben went one way, and the other Ben went another as the circus began pulling up stakes and leaving town.
Walking off into the setting sun to meet up with one final friend from my youth for drinks and dinner, I felt crushed by sunburn, road exhaustion, road burn and sun exhaustion.
The following day I bid farewell to my beloved home state, as well as friends both new and old.
I want to thank Amy Sheridan, Roger Lootine for being solid human beings, Michael Bussmann for being the best babysitter ever, and New Belgium for taking a leap of faith with this project and seeing it through.
We spoke of doing round two next year which the powers that be seemed interested in.
That is until they get the credit card bill for my last night in town, on which I charged an array of hookers and drugs.