I participated in the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic road race. About three miles out of town, a rider in our group hit an orange barrier and went down, taking a couple of us with him. A bit dazed, we all got up. The guy who caused the crash was bleeding from the face and I had a one-inch gash in my tire.
I noticed a family cheering everyone on, saying, "You are almost there!" They said they might have a tire that fit my bike. They introduced themselves as Penney and Steve. I follow Penney to her barn - to get there, we had to go through an overgrown swamp and crawl under a barbed wire fence. We got the tire and muddled our way back through the muck.
While pumping the tire, I broke the valve stem, so I pulled out my spare tube and finally got it pumped. Good to go, right? Wrong. We discovered the chain had twisted from the crash. Penney went all the way back through the Amazon again to retrieve a chain tool.
All the while, my kids were on the train to Silverton, which passed us by. I saw my son's forlorn look and all I could do was wave. We finally muscled the chain straight and, after losing a good hour, I was back in business - sort of.
My cleats were caked with mud from the jungle boogie and I couldn't clip in. I pedaled 25 miles on top of my pedals. Just before Coal Bank Pass, I was able to get the left shoe to clip but no luck with the right. Regardless, I proceeded to climb and made it to Silverton.
I know the race is deemed self-supported, but there is no way I would have made it to Silverton without lucky Penney and Steve. What phenomenal folks they are and I will always be grateful for their generous efforts to get me back on the road.
David Nelson, Colorado Springs