‘Hey, gimmie a high-five, dude!’

Jerry Painter approaches the top of the Hill on Sunnyside Road near the transfer station on Saturday during the running of the To Bone and Back race. (Matthew Queen photo)

There was this guy, dressed in outlandish, bright colors, a tiny tutu and running shoes trotting down the road in my direction.

I was riding my bike down Bone Road on Saturday morning in gorgeous weather. There was a small parade of runners coming up the road spaced about 50 to 100 yards apart. They were competing in the annual To Bone and Back race.

Most people join the 40-mile race as part of a relay team. A few run the entire thing alone. I thought it would be fun to ride most of the course (at least the paved part) that morning with friends and watch some of the action firsthand.

As the runner in a tutu came closer, he shouted, “Hey, give me a high-five!” and he stuck out his hand. Without thinking, my hand shot out and slapped his. It seemed like the perfect thing to do.

So after that initial high-five, I stuck my hand out to everyone I passed and most slapped my hand back. It was a brief gesture of “attaboy!” or “keep up the good fight.” Complete strangers connecting in a positive way. Most people usually returned a smile.

It didn’t always work out. One seriously focused woman with a perfect, measured stride stared straight ahead as if I were invisible. No time for shenanigans for this athlete.

On one downhill section my speed picked up to close to 25 mph — I stuck out my hand and a woman slapped it. “Ouch!” It stung even with cycling gloves on. I almost expected her to swear at me.

I counted more than a dozen high-fives and a few near misses along the course. It made the miles melt away quickly.

At the top of Sunnyside Hill, at the entrance to the transfer station, dozens of people were milling around. It was one of the relay exchanges and a feed station for runners. We headed down the hill and our bikes picked up speed to about 45 mph. No hand slapping for the next few miles.

It was the most fun I’ve had riding the Bone Road, and a tiny taste of what professional racers must experience when riding roads lined with hundreds of spectators.

I logged 45 miles for the day and thought how a few of the participants put nearly that many miles on their sneakers.

• • •

A friend posted a photo of her and a friend on top of the Middle Teton last week. As you might imagine, it was mostly a snow climb and they skied back down Garnet Canyon to the Meadows area. The photo shows snow piled high from the Lower Saddle to the Upper Saddle on the Grand Teton.

If you are interested in climbing any of these peaks in the coming days, go prepared to deal with ice and snow, especially above 10,000 feet. It’s always a good policy to check on current conditions at the Jenny Lake Ranger Station before you go.

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