TINKERS RETURN TO DURANGO
As this report is being written Tuesday evening at dusk, Tinker Juarez has just headed out again after spending two hours snoozing in his support motorhome, in Durango, Colorado, comfortable in knowing that he's currently in fourth place.
This town holds a special place in Tinker's heart-he's had memorable rides here, including a NORBA Cross-Country win and a win in the RoostMaster Shoot-Out. This stop was the first of the four checkpoints where it is mandatory that each rider stop for at least two hours. With a total of 40-hours of off-the-bike time required before reaching Atlantic City, Tinker is taking full advantage to get some much-deserved shut-eye.
Tinker's morning began just after sunrise in Kayenta, Arizona, just outside of Monument Valley, where he spent a few hours sleeping after an early morning arrival that was aided by a fierce tailwind. "It would have been nice to have stopped earlier," he said, "But keeping on the bike was the only thing to do-take advantage of any good tailwinds whenever you can!"
During today's 177 mile journey he passed through Mexican Hat, Utah and managed to move past triathlete Kenny Souza at the Cortez, Colorado time-station.
Upon his arrival in Durango, Tinker declared his thanks that by June-in-Durango standards, the day's 80 degree temperature was a blessing, "This place gets stupid hot!" he declared as he stripped down to get a massage from his chiropractor/crew member
Scott Mulleary, "The legs just keep coming back, every time," Tinker said to Mulleary as he settled in for a much deserved rub, "Whatever you're doing, keep on," Tinker added, "it's working." When asked if Souza had managed to chase him back down, Tinker's quick answer was, "No. But he'll be here. He's like me. Kenny will keep on keeping on."
During his massage his crew swarmed about; mother Rose feeding him, Trevor calculating estimated times for the miles to come, Ed and Jim attending to his bike. When Ed commented that when he cleaned the drivetrain, he found absolutely no sign of grime on the small chainring, Tinker's nonchalant answer was, "Well, I haven't been out of the big chain ring yet. Not at all. But that little ring, it's coming. It'll have its day." Incredible! Tinker has amassed 816 miles since Sunday, has climbed thousands of feet, and from the 8000'+ town of Durango he declares that he's done it all in his 53!
Which isn't to say that these first days of the Race Across America have been easy. Far from it. "This is by far the hardest thing I've ever done," he admits. "It's so much harder than I ever could have imagines. But I could go home and cry about how hard this is, or I can keep on going and cry on my bike. Crying on my bike sounds better."
When Tinker awoke from his short nap, ready to face at least another 73 miles to get him to Pagosa Springs, he was happy and honored to receive a visit from another past NORBA Cross-Country Champion, Ned Overend. With his intimate knowledge of the local roads, Overend provided Tinker with some useful insight into what the next miles had in store. "That was so nice of Ned," Tinker said, "A real class act." And with that he headed off, ending his short visit to Durango."Next stop, Pagosa Spring," he said, "And then I'll see how I'm feeling there and will either keep going another 45 miles to South Fork, or maybe catch some more sleep."
Check back for the next update to see how Tinker's Colorado night played out.