We’ve finished. Ride The Rockies 2016 is a closed scrapbook of memories and, for this first timer, it wasn’t an epic event – it was biblical. Not an over exaggeration to describe this ride as biblical when considering the miracles I encountered each day. And the miracles were a huge help in answering: after RTR, should I continue to bike?
Walking on water. Snowpack was melting and bustling downstream as we were pedaling, our gears shifting, the sound of spinning wheels combining with the raging of the Roaring Fork River (day 2), Eagle River and West Ten Mile Creek (day 3), Blue River (day 4), the Big Thompson River (day 6) and many others including lakes like Dillion Reservoir. Yes, I believe we were walking on water as we rode. The water, a guide in a way, was so omnipresent it made it easy to be lifted in spirit.
Tour snapshot: Cycling into Copper Mountain plaza, ski lift with snow, mac & cheese, cornhole game, DJs and bands. Rest stop near Grand Lake, at Shadow Mountain Lake, some cyclists soaking their feet, everyone taking photos. And a quick mention of my nickname #Saddle for my first #RideTheRockies, which I’m kind of disappointed over – sore, really – because I seem to be the butt of jokes. A quick hit to the drums for that half a joke.
F-U-N reborn. I was blessed with this event being a pure joy to bicycle. I unburied the emotion of plain, simple fun and reconnected with the reason I began the sport in the first place. Plus cycling as a group made it an even more joyful roller coaster. Helping us all achieve more fun was RTR’s great organization, including directions, sag if needed, and well managed rest stops. Thank you to all of the wonderful RTR people, which includes the undeniably helpful, smiling volunteers! (Even if you weren’t smiling all of the time, your actions spoke in a thousand smiles.)
Sound snapshot: the clicking, clopping, squeaking of cycling shoes. The DJ calling out, “The first person up here with a …” Snap of pictures. “On your left.” Ringing of cow bells.
I was asked, have I gotten my bicycling adventure out of my system? Crossing the finish line does not mean I’m done biking. This trip, with the many miracles, reaffirmed that deep down I am a cyclist and I belong on the roads. Except I seem to need the added motivational help of being signed up for an event, so when do I sign up for next year? Support cycling – sign up for other rides also!
Tour snapshot: edge to edge clear blue skies. Animal crackers and Kind bars at rest stops, ice-cream cones at host towns. A water balloon toss with the DJ, walking on snow for a t-shirt, a snow bike rack, pancakes before the big climbs, a windy summit.
“I see the light.” And the light was the miracle of love from many, many different people who acknowledged me for doing this ride, including my very supportive family, like at the start how I got a kind, be-safe-dad handshake from my daughter. And my son who said, “big shout out to my awesome dad.” And my friends, one who asked if I was putting a beer growler as a water bottle. And during the ride meeting the two awesome cyclists Bob and Brian — we ended the tour going across the finish line together — a high-five across the miles. I’d like to pass the light along to everyone who climbed into the saddle, through training and then across Colorado and say, “Outstanding achievement to all of the 31st Ride The Rockies participants! You were great!”