(June 9th) The first full day of Colorado very much resembled the scenery of Utah. The sun was hot, air was dry, and red-tinted rocks were jutting out of the earth, making for a beautiful ride. Alongside us entering a new state came a renewal of morale and spirit, for we had all been looking forward to Colorado and the sights it contains. We knocked out the 68 miles throughout the day and found ourselves in Craig, where we stayed at Craig Christian Church. Later that night, Hunter Hallorin joined us, as he was going to take videos and pictures of our journey over the next week.
(June 10th) Today, the Bike4Alz team departed Craig and made our way to Steamboat Springs. The 45 miles we biked seemed to fly by, and we finished up the day’s biking by early afternoon. Lucky us because Steamboat Springs, as we found out, is a beautiful place that felt very big for a small town. Our long afternoon in Steamboat Springs was rejuvenating. We all walked the lively streets, explored the countless shops, and ate at delicious local restaurants. At one point, many of us decided to hop in the frigid Yampa river, which flowed right outside the town. This jolted life back into our worn out bodies, which was much needed in light of the quickly approaching Rocky Mountains. That night, we stayed at the elegant Holy Name Catholic Church right outside of town, which we were very thankful for.
(June 11th) Today was one of the days that we were excited but nervous at the same time. The trek from had a steep 5-mile incline climbing 2,500 feet. We hopped on our bikes headstrong and ready to face the mountain. Beautiful scenery over our right shoulder made the climb a little easier. We made it to Rabbit Ears Pass, and were rewarded for our struggles by a long, progressive, 2000 miles downhill over the next 40 miles. We saw beautiful fields and vast canyons and the smell of the pine trees was intoxicating. We rode the rest of these 55 miles to Gould with ease and stayed in Walden for the night. We crushed some great BBQ, watched a beautiful sunset, and called it a night.
(June 12th) After an awesome night with some beautiful views in Walden, CO, hopped back in the car and drove back to Gould. We were especially excited for this ride because we were going to reach the highest elevation on this trip! Everyone hopped on their bikes and went headstrong up the mountain for a 79-mile day. While scaling the mountain, the snow-capped tops of the Rocky Mountains. We kept on truckin’ and then we saw the big green sign that said “CAMERON PASS SUMMIT ELEV 10,276 FT.” We jumped of our bike and started yelling. An outsider probably would have thought we were lunatics, but we didn’t care! From Cameron Pass all the way to Fort Collins was smooth sailing. We followed a beautiful white-water rafting river as we dropped 5,000 feet of elevation to Fort Collins. We all coasted into the United Methodist Church of Fort Collins and were craving some southern food. We grabbed Raisin’ Canes and went back to the church to relax.
(June 13th) Today was a much needed rest day after an unforgiving eight straight days of biking, so naturally we spent the day doing laundry and sleeping haha. We roamed around the city for the rest of the day, absorbing all of the sights, sounds, and smells of all the outdoor shops, restaurants, and breweries (now that Rudy is 21.) The local Alzheimer’s Association chapter hosted a potluck for us that night at their house, so we met with several of the local workers and scored some free dinner in the process. After visiting with some of the local people for a few hours, we headed back to the church for the night.
(June 14th) Our 75 mile bike ride today kept us a little busier than we were hoping, as we battled rain and wind for the majority of the day haha, but we were rewarded with a spectacular view of the Rocky Mountains throughout the entire duration of the ride. As we outran the storm, we reached our hosts’ home just in the nick of time. Andy and Rick cooked us phenomenal meal for dinner and watched Tomb Raider with us that night. It was also the eve of Rudy’s 21st birthday, so we heckled and celebrated with him all night.
(June 15th) June 15 marks our second rest day in Colorado. We awoke to a delicious breakfast cooked by our hosts, Andy and Rick, which we scarfed down quickly (of course). After breakfast, the team traveled into town to set up an informational/merchandise table in front of the Denver Bicycle Cafe. Here we were able to chat with people about our mission and raise a bit of money. As we wrapped up the event a couple hours later, we were able to explore Denver a bit more. Exploration included eating hot dogs and donuts, seeing the Rockies baseball stadium, and driving to Red Rocks amphitheater. We returned to our host home to spend time with our wonderful hosts and enjoyed yet another delicious meal.
(June 16th) After two much needed rest days nearly back-to-back, we pressed through to our third major city in four days: Colorado Springs. We started from Denver and biked 72 miles to Steve and Deborah Hawkins’ house, our host family. Although this ride wasn’t too terribly far, it turned into one of the hardest days we’ve biked yet. There was a vicious head-wind that bombarded us all day, and to make matters tougher, there was upwards of 20 miles of unpaved road that was essentially just a mixture of sand and dirt. But we persevered and after 9 hours on the bike, we collectively reached our destination. Our hosts graciously provided us with dinner and breakfast twice! They hooked us up with some of the best BBQ we’ve ever had and served up enough laughs to match haha.
(June 17th) The 13 of us woke up early on our rest day to drive into the heart of Colorado Springs for our fundraising event: Yoga in the Park!! Although the yoga was tougher than our biking, we had a blast and felt refreshed for the rest of the day. We had an associate at the Alzheimer’s Association named Charlotte Long, and she had arranged a visit to a memory care unit in town for lunch, so in our two hours of free time, we decided to embark on a journey to Garden of the Gods. The rocks were redder than rubies, reminding us how blessed we are on this father’s day. After lots of exploring and goofing off, we drove back through the rain to Brookdale Bear Creek’s Memory Center, where we ate lunch and visited with Alzheimer’s patients. It was also a great reminder of the impact we have within a community. We explored the rest of the downtown Colorado Springs and made our way back to Steve and Deborah’s. It was the eve of Stackhouse’s birthday, so naturally we ate a tray of veggies and played with the dogs for way too long haha. All in all, our stay here was fantastic and we wouldn’t have traded our experiences here for the world! Thank you for making it so special!!
(June 18th) After having our third rest day in Colorado and celebrating Speed Demon Stackhouse’s birthday, we hit the road again headed to Punkin Center, CO. As we transitioned from the west side of the state to the east, we saw a dramatic shift in landscape. While we were climbing mountains in Saratoga Springs, the land became flatter with rolling hills as we moved closer to Punkin Center (which we were all thankful for). Since Punkin Center is literally just a four way stop, we had to drive about 30 miles north and stay in Limon, CO. We were fortunate enough to stay at First United Methodist Church, which had plenty of room for all of us! Thank you to FUMC for being generous enough to let 13 college guys stay the night! We all got to sleep very early in preparation of our longest day of 120 miles!
(June 19th) Our longest day of 120 miles. Need I say more? This day absolutely wore us out as we finished out Colorado for the first 100 miles and crossed over into Kansas for the last 20. Sticking with the theme of our longest day, we decided to do a massive fundraising effort where we asked all of our supporters to donate $1.20 in honor of our longest day. Through this effort, we raised hundreds of dollars to put towards the Alzheimer’s Association. Thank you so much to all those who donated! Unfortunately, we were hit by a massive thunderstorm with about 20 miles left of our day and had to pack up and finish early. Luckily, we backtracked the next day and made those miles up to finish our our longest day. As we rolled into Sharon Springs, we were met by Gaylen, the pastor of the Methodist church in the town, and his family who had prepared an awesome meal for us! It also happened to be JB Carter’s birthday so Gaylen made sure we celebrated accordingly. (Happy birthday, JB! Thanks for being an awesome driver!) Thank you to Gaylen and his family for opening their doors to us after such a tough day!