Sunday, July 12, 2009

Thoughts on 7-11 Day

I drove down to Colorado Springs on Saturday to ride with the group of people that trains out of that area for the Moab Century ride on September 19, 2009.

It was an amazing day, great scenery, with some very challenging climbs. Coach Dale told me that some of the climbs we did today were harder than what the Big Nasty climb in Moab will be.

We started off doing a few miles on a bike trail before heading towards the west side of town.

I stopped and took this picture during the first really descent of the day. A lot of times when I ride I don't take the time to notice my surroundings.

A few climbs later and we headed towards Garden of the Gods. Pikes Peak is in the background which was the inspiration for America the Beautiful...

We started the climb up the Garden of the Gods road and were treated to some amazing scenery. The rock on the left of the photo seems to be suspended in mid air. Gorgeous.We continued down the road, enjoying some awesome scenery. I wish I could have taken more pictures. It was just amazing.

We headed off towards Seven Falls and Dale told us this next part of the ride would be a nice steady climb. He told me to go on ahead as he was going to do the ascent with Bonnie and Jetta. Just keep going up to you get to a dirt road and then you just turn around. Sounded easy enough.


Parts of this climb were so steep that I almost fell off my bike into a ditch. I could barely stay upright.

I saw a parking lot in the distance and hoped that this was where I would find the dirt road and be able to turn around. I was sorely disappointed as I passed the parking lot the road turned up into some steep switchbacks.

The sun was absolutely beating down mercilessly at this point. I looked at my Garmin watch and thought I could run faster than I am riding. I was mashing the pedals, not spinning. Oh my gosh this is hard. How much longer to the top? The hairpin turns continued and finally I saw what appeared to be another parking lot. Straight up for another quarter of a mile and I see a dirt path. I was at the top. HOORAY!!!

I got off my bike to wait for the others to join me and my legs were shaking. I felt like I was about to fall over my legs felt so rubbery.

I saw Coach Dale. Jetta and Bonnie had stopped at the parking lot by the waterfall at Seven Falls and he had rode up to join me.

We stopped and took a couple of pictures and started back down. Naturally the sun went behind a cloud. It was now cool, overcast. I would have given anything for that during the last three miles. Dale told us later that we had climbed 2,000 feet over the last 3 miles which is even steeper than the climb of the Big Nasty in Moab.

We were back down where Bonnie and Jetta has stopped in the blink of an eye. It was kind of a scary descent for me. The switchbacks are so sharp you have to be really careful not to overshoot and end up flying off the edge of the road or veering to far to the left into the path of a car coming up the other side.

Dale cajoled Bonnie and Jetta to finish the climb. Somewhat reluctantly, but being good sports they accepted the challenge. I decided to ride back up with them and off we went.

It was Deja Vu all over again as I struggled up the steepest switchback. I made it to the top in time to be able to snap a picture of Jetta and Bonnie as they launched up the road to the finish.
Back down we went towards the waterfall and being in tourist mode and wanting to capture the day, I stopped and took a picture. Gorgeous. I love waterfalls and the sound of water!

During the last part of the descent, it began to rain to add to the challenge as now the roads were wet making braking even more difficult.

We continued on our tour and headed off towards the Broadmoor Hotel where at a very busy intersection we watched a deer wait patiently at a 4 way stop sign where she safely crossed the road and scampered into the trees.

We continued past the historic Broadmoor East course, build by Donald Ross where Jack Nicklaus won the 1958 U.S. Amateur and arrived at the roundabout entrance to the famous Broadmoor Hotel where we were eyed suspiciously by the security guards.

We turned and headed back to the bike shop where we had started the ride from.

Total distance today was only 46.4 miles which included over 3,000 feet of climbing.

I began the day thinking about Megan Dickey and Patti Kaufman who both passed away on 7-11 day one year apart. Meagan in 2007 at the age of 13, Patti last year.

I remember during one stretch of a hard section of climbing, thinking of all the people I was riding for, why I am riding. How many times did I lean on Kelly to get me through a bad patch of running or get me to the top of a climb? I miss her so much and I cry for just a moment.

I am grateful that I can ride for her and keep her memory and my love for her alive. I am grateful for the love I feel for Laiken and the people that she has brought into my life, Shanya, Stacey, Donna, people I have not met, but people I care about. I am grateful that I can ride for Brittany, Trista, Mason, Brandan and my latest little hero, Alyson in the hopes that a cure for all cancers will be found someday soon.

Till that day, I will keep pedaling, keep running, for my heroes and for my angels.


  1. Oh.My.Goodness.

    You are HARDCORE...


  2. Wow. You get to ride in some amazingly beautiful surroundings! Holy elevation though!

  3. Shayna-Yes, a wannabe hard core athlete with a soft core body! LOL

    Joy-The air is rare as my daughter likes to say.

  4. What a ride!!! The course you did is gorgeous! As for the hills? I hate hills!!!

  5. Ashley,

    Thanks for the comment. I normally like hills, but the ones on Saturday were brutal. Feeling over my head right now...

  6. Souns really tough and your pictures are gorgeous.

  7. It was totally worth doing just for the scenery. Next time I ride it, it will be harder because I will know what is coming. I won't have the blissful ignorance :)