For most of us, our passion for two-wheeled transportation can be traced to the early days of our childhood, racing around the neighborhood on all manner of clunky, rattling, and rusting contraptions, sans helmet of course. And perhaps like me, as young adults you retired from riding only to rediscover the pleasures of self-propulsion later in life. In my case it was Jim Zwack who (invited) challenged me to experience a once-in-a-lifetime biking experience…the Tour des Trees. But it was Jim Zwack who I cursed as I limped into Grand Marais, Minnesota on day one of the 2006 Tour. And as I pedaled those last few miles into a blast furnace-like wind just outside Hinckley, Minnesota, my thoughts returned to my good friend…Zwack! But as driving rain turned into glorious sunshine on the final day of that tour, I found myself wishing for it to go on…for just a while longer.
There’s something about the Tour that gets inside your mind and your soul. Now, I’m not the fastest or strongest rider by a long shot, and there are times during Tour Week that I swear I’ll never sign up for another one. But I keep coming back. Perhaps it’s the challenge of completing a “century” (100-mile day) or meeting and riding with all kinds of great people who, by weeks end, become life-long friends. In any event, I’m back for my fourth kick at the can and can’t wait to see what Oregon has in store for us.
Oh, and if any of you happen to see Jim Zwack, tell him “thanks” for me. But then again, why don’t we hold off on that word of thanks until after the ride up Mt. Hood.
Jeff Iles, Ames IA