If, or probably when, cycling up Lookout becomes a social event for you rather than an all out
effort to get in shape, you probably will find yourself chatting with some very interesting people
as you ride. Fortunately for a few folks, Ray Bolton became one of those people.
He was not a fellow to engage anybody and everybody with random chatter, but if you violated
one of Ray’s Rules of Cycling Safety, he would not hesitate to attempt to set you straight. A
younger rider who was full of himself may dismiss Ray’s advice off hand, but the man knew of
what he spoke. Having seen a mountain lion, a family of black bears, elk, bighorn sheep and
more inattentive drivers than native animals, he had plenty of experience from which to draw.
For a cyclist to glean the best from Ray though, it required that you spend the requisite amount
of time and invest the requisite amount of effort cycling uphill to see his easy smile and hear his
low chuckle. As you can imagine, 7,915 rides up the hill provided some interesting stories and
some reports of getting up to Buffalo Bill’s – and back down – under challenging conditions.
Though he had some strong opinions, Ray never attempted to force them on his riding
companions. He would be the first to back off if a discussion got heated, but that did not mean
that he missed paying attention to other people and listening to what they had to say. As friends
we did not always agree. We had a goal – Ray’s goal – of riding the mountain incessantly to stay
in good physical shape well into our later years. That gave us plenty of time to relax with each
other and to develop a mutual respect. We appreciated each other’s shortcomings and foibles and
we all had a few of those.