Tim Quietly Conquers
Reminisces of an amazing bicycling savant
In 1998, Tim visited me here in
This was Tim’s third visit to
It only occurred to me later, that Tim was defending himself, because, now in his forties, he still lived with his mother and that when she got wind of this newest paper trap, that she might still say, “Tim what was it that you and Jim meant to do by constructing small baffling mazes in class?” Especially now that Tim had struggled at Virginia Tech, withdrawing from school there the year after his fathers agonizing defeat by cancer.
Upon Tim’s non-victorious return from college, it was easy to see the burden manifest in his pinkish face -and now with his dad not around for emotional and financial support. Out of our high school group, Tim and I were the only stragglers left, apparently destined to scrabble through life with a series of underpaid janitorial and maintenance man jobs.
And I with my own far-fetched emotional trauma recovery plan from
Perhaps we became closer friends through default. Nonetheless, our friendship grew and besides often working together, we begin training for elaborate athletic events. Together we would construct intricate bike routes traveling through the hilly labyrinths of
When I first moved to
He looked good too. Healthier than I had ever seen him. This bicycling Zen of his had even allowed him to break whatever barrier it was that was locking in his shyness and people discovered that once you scratched the surface with Tim that he was filled with unlimited intelligence and richly humorous insights.
Compared to conditions back east, chugging up the 44 miles to Galena Summit from Hailey was a cakewalk for Tim, with its elements of good road surface, steady grade and sparse traffic.
The second week of his trip, he decided to go for broke and do the fabled Dollarhide Summit loop on an old mountain bike. Exactly, what some people might consider ninety-eight miles of agony was something Tim embraced. The bike he rode didn’t even have shocks. He started out from Hailey around ten. I was hoisting rocks with Gene Olson for some chimneys in Lane Ranch and told Tim that I would drive out Warm Springs around seven –until I could find him.
Tim had gone straight out
A sign that every spring some
Tim pedaled steadily. He startled an occasional fox or superquiet rabbit into the sagebrush. While chugging up that long rocky dirt grade, he passed some sparse campers. Being the middle of the week and not yet hunting season, there weren’t many folks around yet. He noticed the ninety-foot tall Indian face chiseled in stone by mother nature, which guards over one of Idaho’s perpetually best hot springs, but even though nobody was soaking today he didn’t take time to temporarily sooth his legs.
Tim had bigger fish to fry than what Warswick Hot Springs could provide.
The steeper grade leading to Dollarhide summit remained to rise over as Tim continued pumping and grinding furiously to defeat everything that stood in his path. As he weighed up the hill, he wrestled with bumpy ‘warshboards’ and rocks that could throw you, which twinged his arms to sleep with their constant pounding. Dust filled the chain rings, but the little two hundred-dollar bike held up amazingly with only one flat.
Tim flew like Steve Miller's eagle past Carrietown, a ghost town I had been haunted by enough to write about.
He made it to the summit around . To loosen up he took a few victory hops. Later on, I took a photograph of him standing there with his bike and believe that this depiction deserves placement on a pedestal next to a shimmering waterfall birdbath.
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At 7:30 I came around Frenchman’s bend, discovering Tim halfway between there and Rook’s Creek. His arms were sore, he was a mite dusty and the headlamp burned out from the rattling bumps. But he was in high spirits. I duct taped a fresh flashlight to his handlebars and insisted -nay forced him to sip a cool Budweiser for 'loosening up'. He started to speak about the trip and some of its tedium, but insisted that he would try to complete the full loop. I went back to Baldy View Apts., where in darkness, around -exactly twelve hours after he had begun, Tim, in his oft-silent manner, returned victoriously from his mighty Herculean effort.