Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Good day for winning

I was slumped over the conference table at the monthly employee meeting, mulling the hierarchy of the day's headlines, when my boss announced to the entire newsroom that I had been chosen for the monthly $50 employee appreciation award. This is like winning employee of the month, but instead of a plaque (and the inevitable magic-marker mustache), I get $50. Huzzah!

Back at my desk and checking my e-mails, I discovered that my Anchorage friends, Eric and Brij, both won the Anchorage Daily News video contest. Eric won the grand prize of a 50" plasma-screen TV, and Brij gets the first-prize video camera. Brij will probably use it to make more movies about slobbering grizzly bears. Eric plans to sell that monster TV to fund a monster mountaineering trip at the end of the month. Thank you to all who took the time to vote. Huzzah!

Somewhere in the midst of all that prize-snatching madness - 3:02 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time, to be more exact - Dave Harris rolled into Grand Junction, Colo., a little less than three days after he left. In those three days, he rode a mountain bike 350 miles over a remote and dusty trail, climbing a total of nearly 50,000 feet in the midst of desert heat and soul-crushing loneliness. The few who attempt the course call it the Grand Loop, and Dave rode it faster than anyone ever has. I'm not clear on how extensive his obliteration of the old record was. It's at least five hours.

"Dave was in the zone feeling no pain," his friend and teammate, Lynda, wrote upon serendipitously running into him on the river at a 3 a.m. bridge crossing. "Steve described him as giddy and jubilant. He only stopped for about 5 minutes and spent most of it stuffing his face. Looks like all systems were working. He was giving off incredible energy!

"... and then he was gone. As we watched him ride off into the moonlight goose bumps stood up on my arms and I was flooded with a mix of awe and envy. I told Steve I had goose bumps and he said he did too. He said we just witnessed something special."

(photo by Mike C.)

Congratulations, Dave. We have a winner.