No, it's not what you're thinking -- Kent has NOT pulled out of the race and caught a flight home. But he did have an exciting adventure today in which he and the bike both left the ground in spectacular fashion.
Kent was rolling along in the Red Rock area past Lima earlier this afternoon under blue skies, feeling optimistic that the worst of the mud was behind him. He was riding on very small roads in the area -- farming roads, logging roads, mining roads. They are not designed with cycling in mind. It's cattle country, with cows everywhere, and fences or bars called cattle guards, too wide for the cattle to get their feet across, to keep the cows where they're supposed to be. According to Kent, you want to have a good amount of speed going as you approach a cattle guard in order to roll across it.
So around 2:30 this afternoon, around mile 115, he's speeding up on his approach to a cattle guard, when he realizes that there are posts in it, and that they are strung with barbed wire. He takes this in just as his front wheel hits it, and he is flung off the bike into the air. The bike also goes into the air, and both bike and rider land on the other side of the barbed wire fence.
Amazingly, both bike and rider are unscathed. The front tire did not even flat from its contact with the barbed wire, and Kent survived his flight without a scratch. He says his right hand is "a little wonky" from where he punched it when he landed, but other than that all is well. He told me, and I quote, "I credit this to your connections with the Man Upstairs," and lamented that there is no video footage of his spectacular stunt riding.
I suspect this is a little more excitement than most folks prefer to have on a bike ride, but the Mountain Turtle sounded thrilled to have such a great story to share. The code of the west is that you always leave gates the way you find them, so he couldn't open the gate for those behind him, but surely wished there were some way to give a heads up to other riders. Hope no one else goes flying over barbed wire fences, or if they do, that they are blessed with Happy Landings like my Mountain Turtle.
Happy Fathers Day to all, and especially to the father of Peter and Eric.