Practicalities: I have made it past the prairies and am now into Colorado, and the city of Colorado Springs. I am in a hotel for the weekend using some of my corporate earned points for some preparation days and rest combined. Time to get the bicycle ready for the race, and get various items shuffled around between various destinations. I have posted the elevation profiles of the last five days so you can see what I have been doing as far as bicycling. Basically from Iowa onwards and more as you get west the land goes uphill. This cannot be appreciated until you realize that means anywhere between 6 & 10 hours a day I rode uphill. In Colorado Springs I was feted the first night by a warmshowers host who was able to use me to pay some back. Eric and Rene my hosts were delightful. Eric himself has done app. 10,000 miles (yes miles or 16,000 kilometres) of bike touring in the US (I am trying to entice him to Canada). He has received so many gifts of hospitality, and I was his first cycle tourist who was coming through their way who asked for help. He will even be helping me out on Sunday get me on my way through the sketchy section of my ride to Woodland Park CO. It is people like him who have received and give back. An incredible gift.
Short Video Below From the Windswept Prairies:
You Either Envy Me Or…
On my journey and beforehand I have had one of two reactions to what I am doing. It seems you either envy me doing what I am doing, or you think I am downright crazy. Our neighbour has often said that to Joy. Conversation usually goes something like this: Cindy to Joy, ‘you do know you married someone who is nuts don’t you?’ I have never heard Joy’s response but knowing my wife in her heart she is saying; ‘I wish I was with him.’
The town of Limon (and my first ever and last ever KOA stay) would highlight both reactions. I checked in at the campgrounds and the teen checking me in saw me come on a bicycle said, ‘where have you come from?’ I said, ‘near Toronto’ (my standard answer since people almost know where that is out here). My friends in the bar in Wenona offered to keep Justin Beiber if Canada would take Trump. The teens answer; ‘where is that?’ I replied, ‘near Buffalo NY.’ He heard NY and his eyes widened to saucers and he said; ‘I can’t even get the energy to get across town on my bike’ (this is not a big town people). He called his brother and mother and told them about it. General response from the family; ‘You are nuts, they do have these new contraptions called cars you know.’
Then my neighbours checked in with a tent. They were an older couple (OK, that means they were older than me and I am 56 so easy math out there). They chatted about my bike and proceeded to tell me they had been married eight years and a couple years ago they did a similar motorcycle journey 7,000 miles through the US. They both spoke with voices that looked back with delight. They envied me. Then a little later in the evening while I was writing my blog post a young man walked onto my site and said; ‘a bicyclist.’ He asked where I had come from and looked over my set-up. Then he said; ‘I did it myself you know years ago?’ ‘I went from Seattle, down the pacific coast all the way to San Diego.’ The look in his eyes of longing and wistfulness said more than the words ever could. he wanted to be back there again. I don’t know what my trek represents to people. Is it an escape from the norm? Is it a step into something unknown and longed for? People see my journey through their own eyes, and I don’t often feel forward enough to interview them for what they think.
The next morning at breakfast (the KOA had an all you can eat pancake breakfast for $6) there were a couple people in the dining room while I was there. My bike was standing waiting outside. An older couple wanted to know how I had been treated on the journey and we chatted a bit. A young father down the table turned and said; ‘you are the one with the bicycle?’ ‘How far have you come?’ When I told him, he looked me in the eyes and said; ‘that is my ultimate dream.’ He envied me…
I have been asked a few times what I am raising money for. ‘Um, nothing I just wanted to do this.’ I have been asked has it met my expectations. Here is the truth, I did not have any expectations, only fears & concerns. At this point though the most amazing thing I can say is that I have been stunned by people. I have been surprised by people’s generosity and their willingness to give of themselves both large and small. While Eric was driving me into Colorado Springs was the first time I have been yelled at from a car. Interesting response from Eric; ‘probably just potheads…’ Hmmm… they have the experience of legalized pot and the potheads aren’t polite, have I been sold a bill of goods? I need more data.
So, most of the people reading what I am writing likely fall into one of the two camps. I know my parents think I am crazy, they have though that for years when I tell them some of the stuff I do. For me, I look ahead at my race and question my own sanity some days. I visited Leadville today and there are scores of mountain bikers there already training and riding the course. Makes me feel like a slacker and not prepared. I am prepared in my heart and the legs and heart are strong. My mind has always been the strongest part of the equation; I find that these kind of races are fought more in the six inches between the ears than in the rest of the body.
Many pictures below from the journey into Colorado Springs. Thanks for reading. My post tomorrow will be entitled ‘Leadville and Loss…’ Some thoughts have been weighting heavy on my heart, and it is time to put them down on paper.
The first pic below is what I look at for the most of six to ten hours a day. When you ride to save the neck mostly you look at the immediate ground. Every once in a while I poke my head up but this is the bears share of most days.