Wednesday, June 22, 2016

2016 WNR 15

Nice and warm, mild wind.

Special guest rider:  ALEX - intern at our office.  Experienced rider and recently rode from Seattle to Los Angeles, self suported.

Shawn, Elmar, and I establish the early break.
Shawn started to fade at the Bump.
Elmar pushed hard until the Washout.

Then Elmar cracked... I could see it in his face.  Leaving me a little less than 3 miles to go on a solo search for the suffer.

Wildlife Encounter:  big buck... he kinda just stared at me from the other lane - creepy.

Fast Juction segments require lots of time in the RED.

New guy Alex was the last one up.  He's experienced but not fast, and he has a touring bike with racks and everything.  I cautioned him about some of the deceptive switchbacks and then we went down... me, Alex, and Elmar.  We stayed together and I was in the middle and checked on Alex behind me several times - he wasn't having any problems keeping up and we weren't pushing the speed.  At Moss Landing though, I let it go and developed some speed.

I got back to the parking spot on Doncaster first, and then about 30 seconds later Elmar got there, and then we waited and waited and Alex didn't show up.  We asked some other riders coming down if they had seen a stranded or crashed rider and none of them had.  We thought maybe Alex missed the turn onto Doncaster and he'd be turning around and coming back... but he still wasn't there.  Alex had given Elmar his car keys  (no pocket) so we couldn't just leave, and we were afraid maybe he had crashed so we drove my truck about two miles up North Gate looking for him... nothing.

Now we were really worried - we had no idea what had happened to him.  We thought of all the possibilities:

1.  He missed the turn and is totally lost.
2.  He forgot he had driven to the start and is now riding his bike home to Berkeley.
3.  He missed the turn and he came back while we were looking for him in the Park and assumed we had left with his keys and now he had to ride home to Berkeley.
4.  He crashed in such an amazing manner that completely obscured his unconscious body and touring bike from view.
5.  He was abducted by aliens.
6.  He met a friend and they decided to go get a beer.

Finally we used his car keys to open his car and we found his cell phone and wallet but no numbers that we could call for someone who might be able to get in touch with him.  We gave up. We left a note on his car asking him to call us if he got it.  Elmar came over to my house and we called the State Park and told them that Alex was missing; they said they'd have a look.

We checked Alex's Facebook page looking for contacts - sent him and his girlfriend an instant message but didn't hear back.

With no other options Elmar went home and we all hoped it was something stupid and not something tragic.

UPDATE:  Alex showed up at work Thursday morning and said he got lost, but he only had to ride a few miles to get to the house he was staying at - then he got a ride to go get his car later that evening.  He had no idea that people were worried about him and he ignored the note we left.  Just wait until he has kids.

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