Digging through my jacket pocket this morning I unearth a bandage, which instantly makes me smile at the memory that comes with the wadded up package. On this day, exactly one month ago, Joe Sparrow and I were riding two-up as we come up on rider #109, who was chugging along on the shoulder and seemed distracted so we idle up next to him to ask if he's ok. Over the clatter of his 1912 Indian, Alex Trepanier tells us he's fine, but asks if we have a bandage as he shows us his bleeding hand.
Joe tells him to pull over and we'll tend to him with the first aid kit that Vicki Roberts-Sanfelipo outfitted each volunteer with. In an incredulous tone, Alex declares, "No way! I just got going!" Instead, we pull close and, as both bikes continue down the road trying to stay evenly spaced, I rinse off the blood with a bottle of water as the wind blows most of it off into the sage brush. Alex thanks us as Joe hits the throttle to try to get out ahead of him. About a mile down the road we pull off to get antibiotic ointment and a bandaid ready so all he has to do is pull off for a second, but he just waves as he rides by.
Joe and I ready the materials and jump back on the bike to chase him down to try to administer first aid on the run. I carefully hand over the antibiotic smeared bandaid while fighting the wind as Joe steers us close. Alex keeps one hand on his bars while reaching over to be bandaged. All this along a Colorado highway at 38 mph.
I offered the packaged bandage as a backup, to be used later but he refused, so it went in my jacket pocket. As a first-time Cannonball rider and one of the youngest participants registered, Alex signed up to ride without back up and alone. The personable 20-something year old quickly made friends and joined forces with the Thor Losers as he showed us all what true heart and commitment looks like while struggling with the challenges of navigating a 104-year old single speed motorcycle across these great United States. Good job, Alex.