I wake up in the shipping container to the sound of birds chirping. My bibs are at my feet in my sleeping bag. At least I didn't sleep in my clammy chamois.
Unzip my bag and crawl out onto the concrete. Stand up. Check my pockets.
I have the keys to everything at the mill. My car keys are in the other pocket. Good boy.
I also have a blinky in my jersey pocket. My knee warmers are still in place. I check my car, and my bike is locked to the rack, my phone in the glove box... near dead but still functional.
I'm the only one awake, so I head over to the mill and start the cleanup. I drag shit to the edge of the loading dock, and the noise I'm making is enough to roust Zac and Kate from their slumber. Watts crawls out of his car, rubs his eyes, takes a leak.
"Where's my bike?"
Dammit. I guess since my bike was locked to my car, Watts's bike became the proxy victim to the game Hide Dicky's Bike. I help him look for it... everywhere. In the dark as fuck mill, behind things, in the bushes, in the other shipping container, in the port-a-potties... likes I said, everywhere.
My phone dies using it as a flashlight and we still have no bike. We come to the final conclusion. It's stolen.
Gawdammit. A first for the Tour duh Charlotte. Four years was a good run tho.
Watts considers his options. The rest of us continue to clean up. Dragging. Sorting. Piling. Watts waves down a passing cop. The officer tells him that he'll keep an eye out, but Watts still needs to file a report. I try to console Watts with what I know about homeowners insurance. It doesn't really help. He decides to just drive around... looking. I would do the same, but I know it's pointless. It's just part of the grieving process.
He comes back empty handed. With nothing left to do, he says goodbye and leaves.
I'm super bummed. I knew Watts has been feeling "meh" lately, and I invited him down here for good times. To show him all the happy people and bikes and beers and foods and funs. He wakes up to a van that won't start and ends up leaving without his one and only mountain bike. Fuck.
The three of us continue to clean up until we have everything piled on the loading dock... but where is... anybody else?
We have the keys and the desire to go home, and I have a dead phone. Zac makes some phone calls. Doesn't connect with a whole lotta others. I don't wanna be trapped here. My phone has been plugged into my car for an hour, and it still won't turn on. This could be a problem since I use it for work related activity.
We take everything we stacked up and stick it all in the lockable shipping container. At least we can lock everything down and get the keys to... someone? Later?
As soon as we get everything loaded up, the cavalry starts to roll in. Relieved of duty, I make my way home in the Fit of Rage. I heat my phone in front of the air vents while charging, and I hear the noise that indicates it's not perma-dead. My disaster sorts itself out.
Get home, unload my car, stare at the mess I'm going to spend the rest of the day sorting out. Realize I'm still wearing the clothes I put on at 5:30AM the day before.
Stay tuned for the happy ending.