I thought I'd never finish packing, and without some yeoman's work from Sang, Wade, and Eric, I never would have. Nothing is more appreciated than those who will help you with the dreaded and thankless task of moving heavy stuff on into the night. For a week straight, I couldn't avoid things that required packing, everywhere I turned in my house. It nearly drove me insane, and a few times I secretly wished to be robbed of everything. But every item discarded or packed felt like one ballast or rope cut loose from a hot air balloon, and now I'm finally light enough to fly.
Today I'm a visitor in Seattle, not a resident. In a few hours, I'll be chasing the TDF peloton down in a 747, then a van, and finally on my bike. I've never been so thankful to climb aboard an airplane, even if my back feels like it's been double tied into one giant, dead knot.
By the time I land in Paris tomorrow, the Tour de France will have seen its first true and significant separation. It's the first mountain stage where the race contenders will attack, and for many, it's the day the race really begins, if the hundreds of miles the peloton has already covered can be dismissed so lightly.
It's also the first day I'll have achieved significant separation from the city I've lived in for nearly seven years now. I'm looking out on the city now, draped in sunlight, and remembering that first day in 1997, when I woke up on a friend's sofa and listened to the voices of strangers outside the window.