One of the things that is so very different from 2005 is the multiplicity of ways to keep track of where Kent is and what is going on, which Mark listed in an earlier post. This past Sunday in church a child sitting in the row ahead of my choir seat was amusing herself with a book called "WHERE'S SPOT?" It brought a smile to my face both because Sarah is a really cute kid and because I had been wondering the same thing.
Despite some initial skepticism on our part about the SPOT tracker, it has kept on keeping on, letting me know that my beloved is continuing to move right along in the world, even when there is no coverage for the Peek and phone coverage is variable. It now shows Kent heading north on 93 toward Radium Hot Springs. As of around 3:30 this afternoon, he estimated that he was less than 100 miles from Banff and will arrive sometime tomorrow.
He has really been enjoying the ride, despite not being able to preview the Canadian section of the Tour Divide as anticipated. A brief foray into that section with cue sheets intended for the race was confusing enough that he concluded "it would really suck to do this backwards." Hence the decision to get hold of a map of the Province and take a more direct route to Banff.
However, even this "major road" passes through wilderness, with very light traffic. Signs indicating an "urban area" ahead tend to mean that there is a gas station and not much else. Still, Kent has found mini-marts that supply coffee, candy, and other non-nutritional-role-model delights.
Kent is in a relaxed, comfortable rhythm of riding, saving some energy for the race. The bike and all equipment is working well and he is feeling great and having a wonderful time. The country he is riding through is a place of astounding beauty, with mountains and rivers and a sky filled with amazing light, a "wild mix" of storm and sunshine and shadow that varies with the changing weather. He's taking lots of pictures, but so far hasn't had the opportunity to send them.
Kent told me he actually did laundry (this is a rare event at home). On the road this basically means dunking his socks and shorts in the river and putting them in a mesh bag on the back of his bike to dry. Just as they start to dry, it rains again, so he figures they might actually be wet forever.
But the highlight of the today's trip, even more exciting than laundry, was that he saw a bear. Yes, a bear! A big black bear crossed the road in front of him, but apparently the bear was camera-shy and took off into the woods as Kent attempted to take a picture.
It occurred to Kent earlier today that some of this ride seemed familiar, and he is pretty sure he is riding on part of the Rocky Mountain 1200 route but in the other direction than during that ride many years ago. He has been feeling tired at the end of the day, but knows that will be part of the race experience, and for now it seems a small thing when these are such good days.