Tuesday, June 24, 2008

“Makin’ mole hills out of mountains” (Telluride to Pueblo, CO)

We arrived in Telluride just in time for Bluegrass Festival so the town had swelled from about 2,000 people to over 10,000 – it was quite a nice time to stroll through town and crush burritos and ice cream. We really wished we could have stayed to enjoy some of the music but we had to roll – onto the biggest mountains of our journey. After some very much appreciated hospitality (thanks, Matt – a generous friend from Larchmont) we rolled through a few more small towns in Colorado. What we loved most about these towns, including Montrose, Gunnison and Parlin, among others, is that everyone is so kind and courteous to total strangers. In towns like these you could walk down the street, stop anyone on the sidewalk and just strike up a conversation. Everyone was very interested in our ride and our fundraising so we felt very welcome all throughout the western half of Colorado…but Monarch Pass lurked behind the foothills ahead.

We stayed in a nicely renovated cabin in Parlin, CO the night before Monarch Pass, the last big climb (and the tallest) of our trip. We relaxed as much as we could around our first big campfire but we were definitely a little nervous because Monarch is over a thousand feet taller than our last big climb except this time we don’t have Ben in our support vehicle (a very classy Dodge Grand Caravan).

It was pretty chilly when we woke up but it quickly warmed up, especially as we started climbing almost immediately outside of Parlin. After catching our breath a little at the gas station in Sargents, the road kicked up…I mean, really kicked up. The grade was over 8% for a lot of the first 3 miles. After a few hard hours of climbing we made it to the top of the mountain and reached the continental divide at 11,312 ft. A huge landmark!

After a night of camping somewhere between Salida and Pueblo (Thanks Dell!) we finally climbed our last mountain until the Appalachians in Kentucky! Our descent was slowed a bit by some fairly ominous clouds and some fairly close lightning strikes. After waiting out the storm we finally made it to Pueblo and the beginning of the Great Plains.

In Pueblo we decided to take a well deserved rest day at Patricia Kelly’s (a relative of family friends from Larchmont). This was by far the most productive “rest day” of the trip: we woke up early and got hair cuts, bike tune-ups and did some miscellaneous shopping. In the afternoon we visited the Dorcy Cancer Center at St. Mary Corwin Medical Center. There we met Donald Abdullah, Director of Oncology, who was gracious enough to give us a tour of the impressive facilities. We were also impressed with the center’s emphasis on survivorship and helpful navigation for those who have been diagnosed. This was a very rewarding experience for us and we hope to visit more cancer centers in the upcoming weeks. Finally, we wrapped up the day with a photo and an interview with the Pueblo Chieftain (www.chieftain.com), which is the local newspaper for the area. They will be publishing an article about us either tomorrow or Wednesday. All in all, a very fulfilling “rest day.”

8 comments:

bcg119 said...

hey buddy - no matter how much your butt hurts, at least you're not stuck in GO AUDIT 4 w/ me & Cryin'! Keep it up, kid - be easy.

Stephanie said...

Once again, great article. I'm so proud of you guys! I promise I will have my mom's eggplant parm and my risotto waiting when you get to me. Congrats on finishing the toughest climbing! It'll be smooth sailing (riding) from here on out *knock on wood*.
Lots of love and kisses (especially Jamie :-D)
Steph

Jesse said...

Keep up the good work guys, if you need a place in PA at all let me know.

molly boyer-cappawana said...

We are all thinking of you and keeping you in our prayers...Me, Mom, Dad, Jesse and Nana!

Rebecca said...

I had better get myself to Sargents Colorado and get a tshirt. It sounds like you are doing great! My sister and I are soon crossing the country the un-badass way (by car) but I will have my eyes peeled for two buff bikers heading the other way.

Arthur Schneider said...

Jamie,
You guys are amazing!
What you have accomplished already is astounding!
You guys are unimaginably tough!
I am proud of you!
AS

Arthur Schneider said...

Jamie,
You guys are amazing!
What you have accomplished already is astounding!
You guys are unimaginably tough!
I am proud of you!
AS

Alice said...

wow! you are so far already. i hope the climb went ok. have fun and great job!! :) i'm at syracuse now. see you soon! love alice