Tuesday morning started out with cooler temps and a sense of urgency as crews sent their riders off into the day with concerns for both man and machine. Promoters offered competitors an opportunity to "opt out" of the ride up to the dreaded Wolf Creek Pass by allowing them to put their bikes on a trailer in order to save their engines, but the offer would come with a loss of points for the miles the machines were trailered. For those with perfect scores, the proposal was not even considered. Out of the 60 riders that took the green flag, only 6 took advantage of the offer.
It was a tough day but in general, riders were commenting that the incline to the summit wasn't nearly as treacherous as they had feared. Of the breakdowns we came upon, most were repaired roadside and the rider continued on.
Jon Szalay was ecstatic as he chugged up to jockey his 1915 Thor into position to take a celebratory photo after climbing the summit to the 10,857' Wolf Creek Pass. He plopped himself down on the blacktop afterward and notified his teammate girlfriend Christine that he wasn't going any farther. He needed a rest.
Construction caused delays and frustration during the afternoon and scorekeepers decided to extend the checkin time by 15 minutes. Even so, it was particularly heart wrenching to learn that Kevin Waters, rider #28 from the U.K., lost his perfect score when he came in late for checkin. We were all cheering for the guy with the bright smile who's piloting a little 1915 Sunbeam with a cute wicker basket strapped to the back fender but by the time Kevin rolled into Durango Harley-Davidson he'd slipped from 8th place to 23rd even though his very reliable motorcycle delivered him safely to the finish line.
Dean Bordigioni, to everyone's amazement, managed to maintain his perfect score and first place standing despite having to walk his 1914 H-D single for a ways up the summit.
Today riders will be in four states at the same time as they ride to Four Corners for photo op before rolling into Page, Arizona for the evening. The storm we were watching seems to have quieted down some but there is still a chance of rain this afternoon.
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