Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 18:27:23 -0700
From: Pedal the Peaks <>

Subject: "Pilgrimage to a Bike-Mecca"

Durango, Colorado, 28 October '97, kilometer 61458

Gunnison was covered with snow as I hit the road again. There were suddenly two icebergs instead of water in the bottles, stalactites suspending from the bottom of the Yak, fenders and spokes 4 times thicker. Derailleurs blocked by ice, literally transforming a pretentious 24 geared MTB into a single speed indian bike.

I broke my spoon to free them. Even the so-called "freewheel" reassembled as a frozen meteorite, unable to move the chain any more. Covered with plastic bags and ducktape, my shoes were already ready for Halloween.

Winter brings you back to your own past and the white vastitude gave way to many tropical dreams. But although the Yak is an animal, it was no time for any hibernation. Brave enough to turn the pedals faster than me; I rode in automatic pilot, my hard toes mettled to the pedals : one for the white road.

The mountain and the bike have since the beginning a common history. Old black and white pictures of "Le Tour de France" show you runners carrying on their back a broken wheel or tyres and inner tubes around the shoulder with a mountain dominating them. It looks strange that only the most recent times, through some bicycles freaks, then amplified by advertisers and unexpected technological innovations in a strangled two wheels market, brought finally together the Mountain and the Bike in one single word, recognized worldwide .

Venerated, conquered or sold, the moutain has always fascinated man. High passes for cyclists are like summits for climbers : an irrepressible temptation. The first look over a pass to discover an entire new world. The balancing of the shoulders one by one over the handlebar, into the future, to keep the front tyre in the middle path while the breath pulse quiet down to more deepness.

The Red Mountain pass (11OO8 feet), reached at sunset, had just a wrong name left, as the coldness came up from the ground. At Silverton ( a former mining town now as black as coal), my face was as red as the pass had been icy. Too tired and frozen, I spent 1O $ on a night indoor and, lying like a dead man, I realized suddenly that my last night in a hotel dated from nearly one year back, in Seoul (South Korea). The sun illuminated the Molas Divide (1O91O feet) and the Coal Bank Hill pass (1O64O feet). I stopped a while on the second one, cooking the ritual pasta and milk tea saturated with sugar.

Thinking about Tibet, where Chinese were stopping on the passes to piss and the Tibetan to pray. The Swiss were not better in the Alps than the Americans in the Rockies : spirits conquered by motors.

The trimble's hot springs have been the best brakes downhill to Durango on this ten days "Coloradan trance", a kind of pilgrimage to one of the world's "Bike-Mecca" : Durango .

Send a tape of music of your choice to the Yak and he'll send you a postcard back !

The YAK_

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