We’ve had a pretty eventful few days in Colorado! I last left off at Dinosaur, CO. Since then we’ve made it past Craig, Steamboat Springs, Breckenridge, Empire, and now Denver! A lot has happened and I haven’t had much time to write so please excuse the lengthy post!
Dinosaur to Craig was a 90 mile day and it was topped off with a friendship visit at a local park with the Horizon’s group and Boys and Girls Club of Colorado. The ride was grueling hot. We rode through the desert and due to some issues with my bike chain we were racked and taken over to the Boys and Girls Club for our mid afternoon visit. We’ve ridden over 1,500 miles so far and our bikes have been taking a beating. At the Boys and Girls Club we taught them about bike safety and had another puppet show to teach them about empathy and understanding of people with disabilities.
After the Boys and Girls Club visit we rode over to a local park for dinner with the Horizon’s group. After we ate an amazing dinner we started a water balloon fight. That water balloon fight turned into a game of ‘who can catch Sanjeev and dump 2 coolers of water on him’. It took about 5 guys to catch me, hold me down, and proceed to dump water on me… Twice. It was all in good fun and the clients we met with loved it.
The ride into Steamboat Springs was amazing. It was a sweet 48 mile day and we were able to finish the ride by 10:30am. It felt like a day off having so much free time to roam around Main Street. After our time off to chill, nap, go shopping, and write a few thank you cards, we left to a friendship visit with another local Colorado chapter of the Horizon’s group. There we danced and wrestled with the locals and had an awesome dinner. I met a guy named Bruce at the visit. He was such an amazing person. Him and this lady Debbie had remembered the 3 guys on our team that had been there last year. The look on their faces when they saw all of us walking in was absolutely priceless. Bruce sprinted across the street to run and give Spencer Haworth a hug. I knew walking in that it’d be an awesome time. Here’s a photo of Bruce and I and the group dancing at the friendship visit. I’m trying to upload a video of our famous North Route Dance to ‘Everytime we touch’ by Cascada but I seem to have some technical issues uploading it from my cell phone. Once I figure it out, I’ll be sure to upload it.
Another special part about our ride into Steamboat Springs was the fact that we were joined by Bruce Rogers and his family. Bruce Rogers started the Journey of Hope back in 1987 all alone. He completed a ride that follows an old trans-continental route. He started in Eugene, Oregon and ended in Yorktown, Virginia. The Journey of Hope has altered it’s routes ever since to add new routes and include new cities to accommodate more and more friendship visits. When he started the ride he had no support vans and had to camp his way around the country. He carried all his gear with him on the bike. It’s really crazy to think that we’d be able to ride alongside a Pi Kappa Phi legend. All associate members of Pi Kappa Phi read about Bruce Rogers and his Journey and it’s just crazy to actually be blessed to ride with him and his wonderful family. His son Layton, 15, joined us on our rides as well. The Rogers Family was kind enough to take us all out for Ice Cream and candy at Fuzziwigs. Here’s a photo of Mr. Rogers and I.
We departed Steamboat Springs around 6:30 am and left for Breckenridge. The ride was a fairly enjoyable one. It was over 105 miles and we went up and over Rabbit Ears Pass. Climbing up and down the Rockies have been a crazy beautiful experience. The Rogers Family took us out for a great dinner at a local restaurant and we got to meet some of the partners from KRG Capital. We had a number of their employees join us the next day for a ride along too.
Breckenridge to Empire. Where do I begin?! This ride had to be the most fulfilling ride I’ve ever completed. Although iI was a 45 mile day it was an intense day of climbing. Here’s a graph of the ride.
We made it up Loveland Pass- Elevation 11, 990 ft. At the top we were greeted by the Build America group as they cheered us on. The last quarter mile or so was just me booking it up the hill to the top. It was cold. Super cold. There was still fallen snow on the ground. It’s July. #NorthRouteForTheWin. I’m sure I don’t have to say it, but that downhill was amazing.
Build America (BAM) is another Push America event that focuses on constructing different needs at summer camps and for people with disabilities. One of their projects was to build a wheelchair ramp for a family of a young woman with Cerebral Palsy. The young girl was confined to a wheel chair and each day her grandmother would carry her up and over the stairs to get into their house. The work BAM does is really incredible. They’re currently at Rocky Mountain Village, an Easter Seals camp in Empire where we stayed. BAM is currently building Rocky Mountain Village a zig zag ramp up a mountain so people confined to a wheelchair can go on hikes. The ramp is about 25-30% complete and has been worked on by many previous BAM teams over the years. We heard this amazing story about an elderly gentleman with Cerebral Palsy. He wheels on up as much as he can during hikes. When the team of counselors reaches the end of the ramp they proceed to put on knee pads and hand pads on the gentleman. He then proceeds to crawl up the mountain to reach the summit. CP causes many of his limbs and muscles to be stiff and not work as well as others but he still manages to make it to the top every single year. It was one of the most inspirational stories I’ve heard and I’m so glad to be a part of an organization to see the amazing abilities of people.
While at Empire we happened to be in the middle of Zombie Week for the campers. This week ages 15-24 year olds with developmental disabilities attended the camp. Our entire team dressed up as zombies and pretended to attack the camp. It was such a fun experience playing with the campers.
While at the camp I also got to volunteer and help out at the Rock Climbing Wall and Zip line programs. It was a fun 2 days at camp and I hope one day I can come back!
From Empire to Denver it was about 55 miles or so. The day was incredibly jam packed. First we made it over Lookout Mountain and got a spectacular view of Denver. The descent was crazy. Imagine Lombard Street in SF but on steroids. There was a million switchback turns all while going pretty fast. Someone every year for the last 3 years has gotten severely injured on that ride. We’re blessed and grateful to say that no one was injured on that ride and we broke the streak.
Here’s a photo of me and my pace line for the day – Saurabh Mehta (Miami Univ. of Ohio), Jack Johnson (Univ. of Tennessee), and I.
After our incredible ride we met up with the Trans America Route (Seattle to DC) and ate Chipotle. It was the first time I’ve eaten Chipotle in well over a month and it felt amazing. After lunch underneath an overpass we toured Mile High Stadium. The Denver Broncos team did a great job of welcoming us in. Here’s a photo of both the Trans America and North Route teams.
After the tour of Mile High, both teams met at Coors Field to catch a Rockies vs. Dodgers game. The Dodgers crushed the Rockies 8-0 but at least the team got to hang out and eat as much ballpark food as possible. I finally got a pulled pork sandwich and sweet tea.
Today we have a day off in Denver and I’m spending it catching up on laundry and running errands. Earlier today, KRG Capital sponsored our delicious breakfast and we got a tour of their beautiful office in Downtown Denver.
That’s about it for now! I apologize for the really lengthy post and probable grammatical errors! Forgive me, I’m writing all these blog posts on my phone!
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Thanks for reading!