Which Way Do We Go?
It really wasn’t my fault.
Okay, it probably was, but I’m not sure what I could have done differently to avoid this particular brush with disaster.
Before we left, our church prayed for our team and sent us as missionaries. I’m glad I didn’t realize the prophetic implications of the sign behind the pastor.
I knew it would be a challenge to get the team through metro Denver safely. I used two different bike mapping software programs plus several online resources to locate Denver’s abundant bike trail system. Even with all my research, I knew we faced two potential issues.
First, bike trails are mostly marked for local riders who already know their location. Interstate-highway-type signs would sort of destroy the ambiance. Plus, many trail maps don’t bother with details like whether the trail’s paved or not.
Even with those limitations, I couldn’t anticipate the predicament in which the team found themselves leaving Littleton (south Denver) on Wednesday.
Everything went well for the first 15 miles. I had questions about the stretch between miles 15.5-16 (circled on the map) because the green bike trail stops. So when I worked out the route I emailed a bike shop about two miles away. Their response said the “Outlaw Trail” was “fine.”
I wasn’t riding that morning, so Becky and I waited in the SAG vehicle where the trail was supposed to end. We waited…and waited…and waited. The rural area had spotty cell service, and nobody was responding. Finally a text message buzzed through.
“We’re lost. Not sure where we are or where to go.” Then nothing for perhaps another forty-five minutes. These photos show what happened.
Yeah. The Outlaw Trail disintegrated into a single-track mountain bike trail. Then things REALLY got bad.
That’s right. The trail disappeared completely! The team was stranded in the middle of an open field.
By the time they finally appeared, they were congratulating themselves on a masterful piece of orienteering and wilderness survival. The whole incident made for some great stories, and I’m told I should leave this particular obstacle as part of the next tour.
I’m glad they thought it was funny. All I could picture were the news stories about people with crazy jerseys discovered in the middle of an open field, victims of dehydration and rattlesnake bites. The imaginary reporters all asked the same question.
“What sort of idiot sent people on road bikes into that kind of terrain?”
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