Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Where's Ned?

Yes, I know this photo has already appeared once in my blog. But there's a reason it's back. Apparently, I am not the only one keeping tabs on where Ned is showing up these days.

After I posted this picture on my blog, Mary emailed me about a website she'd come across that had similar pictures. Different photos of vending machines across the country sporting the mountain bike legend in action are posted on this site. I had no idea Ned covered so much territory!

From Alaska to Jasper, Georgia, Ned gets around!
Yup, in Jasper, Georgia, you can wash your car AND your tractor and get in a visit with the Master of Mountain Biking.Seriously, we had to wait in line to get an open bay at the car wash. There was a motorcycle in one, a tractor in the next, a car, and of course a couple big ole trucks. Ned gets to watch all the comings and goings 24/7 at the exciting car wash. With the Awful House to his back and the car wash to his front, no wonder he's riding his bike like the wind.

Years and years ago, before my encounters with Ned were limited to vending machines, I was able to observe him from afar at the various Norba and Cactus Cup races in Georgia. But one time I did have an unusual chance experience with the Expert Racer.

In October 2000, I traveled as support for my friend, Karen, racing in the Pro World Finals of the Xterra race in Maui. Karen was just edged out of a 3rd place podium finish in the final 1/2 mile, but we were still elated over her strong 4th place showing. The Awards Banquet was full of relief and celebration as we took our place at a table for dinner. Minutes later, Ned strolls over and sets down his plate. We spent that evening enjoying an apres-race dinner with the Legend as if we were eating dinner with an old friend. Kind of cool.

I never thought I'd see him again after that. How funny that now we "see" him practically every weekend after our rides. Yup, Ned's waiting for us every Saturday at the car wash in Jasper.

So, let's hear it. Where's Ned (other than Jasper)? Anybody seen him lately?

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