Welcome to Manifest Bike

Sunday, September 28, 2008

BOOMER! and the bear

Yesterday was a great day for Ed and for Sooner football. Since we are both University of Oklahoma alumni, and I was born and raised in Norman, we are football nuts. We helped start the OU club of Alaska, which is still going strong, and one of the first things I did in Denver was join the OU Club of Colorado.

On this bike trek, Ed has been wearing his OU bike jersey ("Wherever you go, there you hate Texas") and he has encountered some Texans along the way (see previous posts). Last Thursday, he was miraculously able to see the USC-Oregon State game and we talked and texted back and forth as the Trojans bit it hard. USC cannot lose enough for me - they could lose every day and I would not be satisfied.

Anyway, as Ed trudged toward Haines on Saturday, he saw a roadhouse some miles outside of town. His general rule is that wherever he encounters a place offering food, he stops in. You never know when you'll have a chance again to have something besides freeze dried spaghetti...

While eating his BLT at Roadhouse 33, he watched NASCAR on the lone TV above the bar. He saw the scrolling scores on the screen and noticed a pattern: Top 5 teams losing and the Sooners holding tough against TCU. He asked the bartender if he could switch the TV to football. In true Alaska fashion, he said no.

"The cable box is in Joe's cabin up the hill, and Joe's not in now, so we're stuck with NASCAR," was his explanation.

Thoughts raced through Ed's mind: "Florida Lost, Roll Tide - BOOMER SOONER! We're gonna be #1 - must...see...game!"

So, the time trial to Haines began. He had 33 miles to pedal and he decided to haul it to see the second half of the game. With fully loaded panniers, he started the race to Haines for glory. The pace up to this point had been leisurely - but this was about football not cycling, and he was going for it.

The first hill was a tough climb and to add to his final humiliation in Alaska, he encountered head winds. But the Sooners were going to be #1 and he could not stop just because of a strong breeze. So he stood on the pedals and rode harder.

Then he saw it - a small black bear on the side of the road. BUT --- he saw the bear AFTER he passed it. The little thing was LEAVING the road. That's when Ed realized something: he had charged a bear and didn't even know it. When he passed the bear, he was so close he could have slapped it. The poor bear probably saw the fire of victory in Ed's eyes and ran off.

Still, Ed didn't stop. He still thought he could make it to town in time for at least the 4th quarter. He pedaled harder. That's how strong Sooner football fans can be.

Unfortunately, he couldn't find access to the game on TV when he arrived in Haines. So he fired up the cell phone and watched the play summaries on the tiny phone screen. When we talked later, he told me the bear story, and now I'm telling it to all of you.


Tomorrow: Ed meets a fan on the road.


Jill said...

Hi Tara,

I'm guessing that I'm in that "fan" story. I found your blog through Tim Woody's blog just a week ago. Then on Saturday morning, I ran into Ed out on the road. I have to admit I was pretty surprised to see another bicycle tourist out on the Haines Highway in late September. Overnight temperatures where I camped were in the high teens/low 20s!

I think our first reactions were to feel sorry for each other. I had to do two long descents right out of bed and was seriously bundled up. And when Ed told me who he was and I realized he was the guy riding from Anchorage to Denver, I didn't have the heart to tell him he had just traveled about 70 miles off the Alaska Highway. Turns out that was intentional, though! Glad he made it into Haines. I can attest that those headwinds were indeed fierce. I waited up for him for a little while past the border, hoping we could help each other pull for a bit. Didn't know he was watching NASCAR. Plus, there's no way I would have sprinted into town for a football game. Ha! Anyway, tell him I had fun riding with him for a short while, and wish him luck on the rest of his trip. If he needs anything while he's in Juneau, he can e-mail me at jillhomer66 AT hotmail DOT com.

Pete said...

It looks like we get to feed Ed north of Seattle on Saturday night. Definitely will *not* be frozen spaghetti. Looking forward to it!

Yes, us Beaver Believers (I'm serious) were *quite* proud last week. Go Beave's!