August 3rd/Day 62 - Loveland to Denver, 70 miles
The last day of a tour – he says as if he’s done all this before – can do funny things to your head. The beginning and end of the day were super-duper fantastic, but it dragged pretty hard in the middle. The problem, of course, was thinking we were pretty much done when we actually had 70 miles to ride. Avoiding an “are we there yet?” mindset was pretty challenging. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves!
We had a spectacular breakfast thanks to John and Judy, and packed our panniers for the last time. As we rode off, we kind of felt like it was the last day of the Tour de France, that it was just a glory leg and that people would be cheering us on. Sadly, the frontage road on the I25 was not filled with admiring onlookers, only a few prairie dogs. Knowing that we were so close to Denver altered our riding habits: usually we’re good about eating before we get hungry, having long, chatty drinks breaks etc. But today we pushed fairly hard, sometimes forgetting how long it takes to ride across a major city. Honking up hills (standing up on the bike), passing slower cyclists on the Platte River and Cherry Creek bike paths, Zoe in particular faded in the afternoon, and needed a Gatorade and a sit probably only 15 minutes from our destination. All the while, Caleb rode like a madman – he lost us a couple of times – and could almost smell his home.
Spirits rose, however, as we realised we were only a few minutes away. (Caleb: “The good news is we’re almost there. The bad news is we kind of live at the top of a hill.”) As we got closer and closer we also got sillier and sillier, breaking out into the theme song from Indiana Jones. Then we spied the balloons out the front of the Dance house, one shaped like a giant champagne bottle. Frank and Carol, Caleb’s parent, ran out of the house as we came down the street, and there were hugs, photos and champagne all around. We really did feel like triumphant-yellow-jersey-types riding into Paris. The crowning moment was a ceremony in which Caleb’s parents presented us with engraved medals, and then led us inside for a spectacular dinner of rack of Aussie lamb and pear pie! Frank and Carol, you are stars!
All in all we rode over 2716 miles/4370 kilometers in the last two months. I don’t really have any profound closing pronouncements to make. Cycle touring is a pretty spectacular way to see the world, and I highly recommend it. It’s really not that hard if you’re willing to be a bit sore and tired the first few days, and by far the most difficult part is finding the time to do it. I do want to sincerely thank our friends and family who supported us through a difficult last year, and whose generosity at our wedding made this ‘honeymoon’ possible. You’re the main reason I wanted to do this blog – I don’t think our prose or photography is deserving of any particular attention, but I’m really glad if this process has closed some large distances and we’ve stayed in your thoughts. You’ve certainly stayed in ours.
Zoe, James (and Caleb!)