I feel as though I didn’t do yesterday justice in the blog so I will do a quick recap now.
Woke up in a cute little “bunkhouse” in Howard, CO. I have realized that “cute” places are more fun when you don’t have a bike with 60 lbs of gear on it because maneuvering it around the room is infuriating, to say the least. Kate & I pinned ourselves into a corner more than once. Staying there actually worked out perfectly because there was no TV in the room (only a mini rocking horse…) & very sparse cell phone service so instead of blogging we were forced to go to bed early. We both slept like rocks then woke up & ate breakfast at the cafe next door. I am embarrassed by this next sentence but feel I must share it, for the sake of being brutally honest with my followers. I ordered (& consumed) scrambled eggs, sausage, home fries, 4 pieces of toast, & a bowl of oatmeal with brown sugar & milk. Not sure I have ever put that much food in my face in one sitting. What’s possibly more embarrassing is that I was hungry by mile 10 of our ride. Boy I will miss being able to eat like a Sumo wrestler.
Mile 10 took us into Cotopaxi, CO located at the base of the day’s climb. There was a small grocery store there where we spoke to a few of the workers & shoppers about our mission. It never gets old hearing people react to our journey, especially the further away from San Francisco we ride. The cashier loved what we were doing & scrambled for a pen to write down the name of our site. Another gentleman in the store mentioned that his daughter started a company that has earned millions of dollars towards cancer research. He said he was glad that there are more people working towards the same goal of ending cancer for good.
Time for the climb. This time I was actually not dreading it as much because I knew the alternative was riding to Pueblo on route 50 which had very little shoulder & lots of high speed traffic. No thank you. Although I can’t say that the road conditions for the remaining 70 miles of the day were ideal. In the words of my eloquent friend Kate, “what, did they pave over the shitty pavement with even shittier pavement?” It’s funny because it’s true. It seemed as though they glued a whole bunch of different sized rocks together & called it pavement. Not to mention the cracks in the road literally every 5 feet to help us lose the beautiful momentum that bikes provide. That went on for the ENTIRE last 70 miles. We tried to play the “think positive” game & say to ourselves, “every bump in the road means we are another bump closer to Pueblo” but that mantra wore itself out after about 10 miles.
The weather was perfect as you can probably tell from these pictures. This whole week we really lucked out with weather, no rain, hail, or thunderstorms. That would have really set us back since we were under a strict time frame this week…if we didn’t average 80 miles a day we would not have made it to Pueblo in time for me to rent a car & drive home. I would have figured something else out but that was the easiest transition.
90 was so tough yesterday but we timed it perfectly (seasoned veterans) & pulled into our hotel right before dark. It just seemed like so much was trying to hold us back yesterday between the road conditions & the headwinds. Once we reached the top of the last Rocky Mountain we thought we could crush the last 45 flat/downhill miles like we did the one day with 26 miles in 1.25 hours. In hindsight we should not have had expectations as they generally aren’t fulfilled as planned.
I think it took us about 3 hours to get to pueblo between snack breaks & unmapped hills. I do love those unmapped hills as I study the elevation maps in depth several times a day & base my energy output on the number of inclines for the day. Luckily it seems that all of the mountain riding over the last few weeks has gotten us in shape for a day worth of hills. Kate said that she noticed as she looked at her speedometer that she was actually accelerating up hills …this was around mile 75…incredible. It really amazes me what the body can adapt to when pushed beyond it’s normal limits. Kate read me a quote from a card her sister gave her that said “with no struggle there is no progress.” -Frederick Douglas. That seems to sum up so many parts of this trip. I will get back to that later in an all inclusive summary post.
When we finally arrived in Pueblo we couldn’t be more excited because Kate’s mom had called & said she was going to treat us to a steak dinner that night. We were talking & thinking about it all day. On top of that, a friend surprised us with a night at the Marriott so we didn’t have to stay in another flea bag hotel on our last night together.
Clearly I was beyond satisfied with the room & namely the bed. We quickly showered, put on make up, dresses, & gabbed briefly about how nice it was to feel girly & ,”pretty” again. Stuffing our hair under a helmet & sweating in bike shorts all day isn’t really the definition of “girly.” We headed down to the restaurant of the hotel & had the whole place to ourselves.
We both ordered the filet mignon & it was honestly the best meal either of us could ever remember having. We were in heaven. The waitress was very sweet too…after we explained why our appetites were so ravenous she first said “…wait, like 90 miles on a motorcycle?” It took her a long time to grasp that we had actually traveled by “bicycle” from San Francisco to this very hotel in Pueblo. She was extremely touched by the cause as her own mother had a run-in with breast cancer so she saw first hand how scary & devistating cancer can be. Her genuine interest & support in our journey was so honest & touching. She kept saying “I love that, that is so great.” I just can’t believe some of the reactions we get on a day to day basis. They are the memories I will remember forever. Kate & I have talked about the importance of “paying it forward.” For example, the night we slept in the shower stall & the campground host was so kind to not only let us stay there, but also to bring us chairs, socks, & blankets. We didn’t know how to repay her ..other than to literally pay her with cash as well as include a hand written note from us thanking her from the bottom of our hearts for her kindness & hospitality. I believe that is how love & kindness grows…you get what you give. The sky is the limit. Kate & I have felt so loved by all of our family & friends, even strangers, throughout this whole journey. We hope that we have made you all proud & that the outpouring of support continues for Kate as she covers the rest of our beautiful country. I am honestly heartbroken that I can’t continue on with her but will give her all of the support via phone & thoughts that she will ever need. I’m hoping that alot of the memories we have made together keep her company if she ever feels lonely. So many laughs, smiles, high-fives, & understanding looks that got us through some tough days. We were chatting tonight & said that there wasn’t one entire day where we were both unhappy. Parts of everyday, yes, but that is where the importance of struggle comes in. Thinking you can’t do something & then doing it & more is an amazing feeling. Neither of us had any idea what we were getting ourselves into but couldn’t be happier with the outcome at this moment.