Day 15 – Why We Ride

Saturday, August 3 – 1183 miles down, 2091 to go

Today was a major day in our adventure.  We rode the Copper Triangle, which benefits the Davis Phinney Foundation, and is one of their key fundraisers during the year.

About a year ago when we really got serious about this cross-country escapade, we met with Lauren from the DPF to discuss our route across the U.S.  Lauren suggested it would be very cool if we planned the route to coincide with the Copper Triangle.  So that’s what we did when we mapped out the entire route.  It’s also why you may think we’re a bit crazy to ride this route that spends several days going North instead of East, and takes us over so many of the Rocky Mountain passes.

It’s been quite an uphill battle as you know from previous blog posts, but today was the payoff.  Over 3000 people ride the Copper Triangle each year and the culmination is an appearance by Davis Phinney and Connie Carpenter and their two children, Taylor and Kelsey.  A check is presented to Davis as the registration dollars and other donations all go to the Foundation.  It’s quite an annual event.   

We separated our team today as Tom rode with several of his family members and the rest of us met up with some old friends to ride.  Rick, Kathleen and I met up with Rich Aurand (who was the original owner of the magic bike and got Kathleen and I riding the Copper 9 years ago) and Dave Van Dore, and we took off into the chilly morning.

I had a terrible beginning as my back wheel was rubbing against my frame for the 11 mile uphill to the top of Fremont Pass.  I wondered why it was just so hard to pedal today.  When I got to the top I was pretty much shot, but we had the wonderful mechanics from Colorado Cyclist look my bike over, and they discovered that the larger 25 tires that we put on in Durango were rubbing in back.  So, they pulled off the 25 and put on a 23 and the rubbing subsided.

But as I said, I was having a bad moment.  The easy move was to turn my bike around and ride it back to Copper and go back to bed for a few hours until I felt better.  The harder route would be to continue and see if I recovered from this initial setback.

So I had a Team Meeting with myself, standing there in the early morning light on top of Fremont Pass.  All around me were people who were riding for and with Parkinson’s.  I had posted for several days what it meant to Live Well Today with Parkinson’s, and how Carl Ames had struggled up Wolf Creek Pass.  And here I was, about to chicken out because I felt a little iffy after a hard uphill ride.

So I said to heck with it, put on my long-fingered gloves for the chilly descent and with the support of my friends we tackled the rest of the ride.  And as the day wore on I steadily improved, until on Battle Mountain I was riding stronger up that little nasty blip along the route.  We stopped in Minturn for coffee and sandwiches which really helped, and by the time we hit Vail Pass, always a bugaboo, I was feeling really strong.  I went up that pass faster than I have for years.

So I learned another lesson about soldiering on in the face of adversity.  And I have the Parkinson’s community to once again thank for my epiphany today.

At the finish line Tom was asked up on stage to talk about Friends For Phinney to the entire crowd.  What an opportunity!  Tom crystallized our feelings and thoughts about our ride and Parkinson’s to that crowd and delivered a powerful message.  His gift for communication carried the day and thanks to him all the riders now know about our cause and our ride.

Lauren and Polly arranged a party for our Team and that kicked off at 6:00pm, and it was wonderful.  Nearly all of our Parkinson’s community friends attended, as well as Davis and Connie and Kelsey.  We had a chance to network and meet new friends as well and keep growing our web of Parkinson’s contacts.

In fact, it’s already paid off as we met a gentleman named George Thomas and he found us a sag driver for our 3 day gap! And he wants us to do some live interviews each day that he can webcast and Amy can re-post on our website!  Getting the word out!

It was a wonderful, educational day for all of us (me especially) and reinforced the professionalism and efforts of Lauren and Polly and everybody who works for the Davis Phinney Foundation.  It strengthened our community ties and will no doubt pay off with even more donations in the coming days.

And that’s Why We Ride.



Starting off – Dave Van Dore, Kathleen, Kevin, Rich Aurand, Rick:


At the finish with Rich, Rick, Kevin, Carl Ames (of course), Tom and Kathleen:


Rick, Carl and Tom at the Friends For Phinney party:


Kelsey and Kathleen:


Davis telling the group his story of meeting his father at the top of the Col d’Aubisque back when he was riding professionally:


We gave the Foundation folks a signed copy of our photo from the Daily Camera – Rick, Tom, Lauren, Davis, Polly, Kevin, Kathleen and Amy (Tom’s wife and our behind the scenes wizard):


Part of the Parkinson’s community – Rick, Tom, Davis, Kevin, Cheryle, Kathleen, “Pops” Stutzman from the POPS ride team, Carl Ames, Shannon Stutzman and Shane Stutzman (kneeling):


< The Garmin is back in action and I’ll put up all the missing stats during our rest day but for now these will have to suffice >

Copper Triangle route:







3 thoughts on “Day 15 – Why We Ride

  1. Deana

    What a day! To ride with so many friends and family. Today will get you home for a day of rest. Keep pedaling!!

  2. dave van dore

    Thank you for letting me join you guys for a couple of days. I am totally overwhelmed by what you have accomplished and by the love and empathy I saw from everyone. I am just in awe.

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