Yesterday I had more to say about the KTR. Today…not so much. I think I just want to put the weekend to bed, and not dwell on it too much. I finished the race, in spite of myself. I would have quit had there been a convenient way to do it. But since there was not, finishing seemed like the best alternative.
By far the best thing coming from the weekend is the number of finishers. A record number of riders completed the route. Some fast, some not. But everyone crossed boundaries that they had previously not approached. That’s the beauty of the ride, the reason we do it at all. Call it a race, call it a ride, call it whatever you want. Make us pay a fine, or make us get a permit…none of that matters. At all.
What matters is the individual accomplishment of pushing beyond the everyday acceptable level of normalcy and into a world that is only available to those willing to explore it. How could I expect a BLM agent, or a judge, or anyone else who had never been there, to know what the inside looks like?
The spirit of the KTR was sapped dry for me, before I ever turned the cranks over. But for many, if not all the others out there, it was alive and well. Kokopelli danced through the night, his faint flute leading the way through the desert, into the sun, and up the mountains.
I followed the tune as best I could, and just before sundown I finished the ride. 20 hours, 47 minutes after I began. I finished with 3 other good friends. Chance, and mutual bonkage brought us together, and an unspoken knowledge that any one of us on our own would probably end up a shivering mess along side the route kept us together. In fact I did end up a shivering lump, atop N. Beaver Mesa. I was ready to curl up in my space blanket and let the sun set. Dave, Derrick and Fred talked me out of the sand and back on the bike.
Alone, I may still be up there….
As I look forward, I get the feeling that it is time for a new obsession, a new event or race or route to occupy my thoughts. The Kokopelli Trail will wear my tire tread again, but perhaps not for some time.