Friday, August 2 – 1103 miles down, 2170 to go
We had a surprise last night as one of our old friends, Dave Van Dore, joined us in Salida so he could ride along with us today. It was great to see him again and always nice to have a fresh set of legs to take some pulls (ahem).
We must be getting better because we had the trailer loaded and the Acadia sorted out by 6:00am and made a 6:07am departure. Getting out early was necessary because it was an 84 mile day from Salida to Copper Mountain and went steadily uphill for 73 miles through Leadville and over the top of Fremont Pass. The reward was an 11 mile descent into Copper.
It was overcast and chilly so we had our coats on when we left. We took the old route out of Salida and several deer and fawns walked across our path and it was just beautiful country in the early morning light. However, a headwind smacked us in the face right when we got out of town. Again, having Dave along helped as he manned the front for awhile and cut the wind (in a good way).
But the time we got to Highway 285 to head the 55 miles to Leadville it was really blowing. We bowed our heads and struck out into the teeth of that infernal wind and just ground out mile after mile uphill. It was slow going, and I was especially distraught when we finally crested one hill and I had to pedal hard on the descent, and could still only make 8 mph. Damn.
I was feeling better today and had my legs back so at least I could share in the pulls during our slog. But man was it defeating. The sag leapfrogged every 5 miles and we stopped just about every time to take a breather and to fuel up. Ate lots of food. Drank lots of liquids.
And pickles. We’ve become pickle connoisseurs. Oh we’ve tried Waschkowski’s, Vlasic’s, the gambit. But the king is Claussen. Our sag crew keeps several jars deep in our coolers, and when we stop they pull out a fresh jar and we go after those chilly spears. I tell ya, it’s just a little bit of heaven. Salty, cold and boy oh boy do they hit the spot. And I can’t even talk about when Mike and Liam chop them up with some hard boiled eggs for a sandwich. I might swoon. In fact, we decided we need to get in touch with Claussen to see if they’ll sponsor us with pickles for the remainder of the ride, and we’ll call it “Pickles For Parkinson’s”. We think it’ll be huge.
Back to the ride. By 51 miles we were all dog tired and Dave left us to go back to Salida. Now down a rider, Tom, Rick and I pushed onward and at mile 55 noticed our sag vehicle parked on the opposite of the road and there was some maniac hanging out the passenger window holding a “HAVE YOU SEEN MY FRIENDS FOR PHINNEY??!!” sign and screaming words of encouragement.
It was Carl Ames.
If you read the Day 12 blog you know who Carl is, and he had come to join our support crew and to cheer us up the hill. Boy, talk about a needed lift. It was great to see Carl again. We all got emotional once again because he’s such a great man.
And then something else happened: The wind changed and turned into a tailwind. Carl brought us a tailwind as his gift. It still wasn’t easy plugging upward, but at least now we had some help. When we got to Leadville they were hosting their annual “Boom Days”, so the town was packed and we had to detour. Well Carl and the crew had gone ahead and gathered a bunch of townfolk in period costumes at the detour and they were all screaming at the top of their lungs “GO FRIENDS FOR PHINNEY!!!” Wow, we had wings through that town.
We still had to conquer Fremont Pass, and surprise! About 2 miles from the top we were joined by my wife Kathleen and my son Isaac, who had brought us precious Popsicle’s to ease us over the top. The support we were getting was amazing, and Kathleen decided to ride the rest of the way with us. Then Ken and Cathy (Tom’s niece and her husband) showed up as well! WOW. They cheered us all the way over the top and we crested the summit and fell down the mountain to Copper.
Another gift: The DPF folks are letting us share their condo to reduce our costs. Polly and Lauren are so accommodating and helped arrange these wonderful facilities. A huge “thank you!” to them.
We cleaned up and attended the Davis Phinney Foundation Fundraiser dinner. The people at the foundation do a wonderful job every day of the year to get the word our on Parkinson’s, and to help people Live Well Today. It was great to see Lauren and Polly and Davis and Connie and the whole gang again. They’ve been so helpful and supportive throughout the planning of this endeavor that to finally see them as it’s happening was fun. They all had kinds words for us as we plow across the U.S. It was a great event and a wonderful way to end our evening. Tomorrow we ride the Copper Triangle.
Departing Salida with Dave Van Dore:
Carl meets us and joins our support crew:
Carl selling Claussen’s at a pit stop:
Kathleen, Carl, Tom, Kevin, Rick and Isaac with Popsicle’s on Fremont Pass:
Tom with the Pass in the background – he’s determined:
The whole gang is here! At the top of Fremont Pass – Rick, Tom, Kevin, Kathleen, Carl, Mike, Liam, Cathy & Ken:
Arriving at Copper Mountain:
Garmin is still having issues so here’s another attempt to show our route:
Here’s the profile with all the rated climbs for the day: