Thursday, June 26, 2008

Are You Derek’s Brother?

Day 274
Paonia Reservoir to Cedaredge
Time: 4:49:00
Distance: 52.9
Avg Speed: 11.0
Terrain: Reservoirs, River Valleys, and Mesas
Location: 38°53'47.5"N, 107°55'34.08"W

It’s the classic question when you get to the land of the Kehmeiers; “are you Derek’s brother?” Yesterday we were on the homestretch coming over Cedar Mesa, we were out of water and not looking forward to the last few miles of pedaling. After climbing the last hill, we rode around the corner and a woman walked out into the road. I was out of earshot, but Chris gave me the recap of the inquiry, “are you Derek’s brother?” Turns out that Heather is a friend of our sister-in-law (Derek’s wife Dasha) and had been looking for us all morning. She was really excited to see us and was kind enough to make us each a very refreshing glass of ice water. If only she knew how much that H20 made our day. Our arrival in Cedaredge at 1pm wasn’t the end of three days of hard riding, it was only the beginning.
And now, here’s the rest of the story…
About ten days ago we found out that Joe Cocker was giving a benefit concert in Hotchkiss on the same day we arrived in Cedaredge. We had to ride through Hotchkiss anyway but couldn’t figure out how to get our destination after dark on the bikes. Oh well, we thought, perhaps the stars would align another time. Fast forward to last weekend and an exciting voicemail from our sister-in-law. Sure enough, Chris’ brother had scored VIP tickets to the concert and wondered if we could join them. They weren’t particularly excited, but I was downloading the greatest hits while Chris worked out the details on the phone. We lead a charmed life, that’s for sure.

After a shower and a short nap we found ourselves again in Hotchkiss. The town was a buzz with all walks of life. From the beautiful people, to those who looked like they had been left out in the sun too long, the crowd filtered down to the Delta County Fairgrounds for a chance to spend the evening with one of rock and roll’s greatest legends. The Subdudes opened the show and get everyone loosened up. As they jammed out their mix of blues, rock and funk, I was captivated by the scene. The grandstands, the blue sky, the mountains, and the hometown crowd – it doesn’t get any more Colorado than this.
As night fell, Joe took the stage and electrified the crowd. He played well into the night and I had to pinch myself a few times to believe I was there. My favorite song was well worth the wait. I have to think it would be a great theme song for the last year of my life and I really believe that “I get by with a little help from my friends…”
You are (all) so beautiful to me,

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