Monday, June 23, 2008

Halfway

So I have made it halfway across the country. I lie in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. We are in Denver, after our second 100 mile day.

Yesterday was an exhilarating ride. The beginning of the day was a little tough. We woke after our first night of camping, and with surprisingly springy steps, we got all of our morning chores done. A few locals in the little town of Anton (where we stayed instead of Limon) told us that we might be able to see the Rockies after riding for just 2o miles. So that became our motivation for the morning, catching a glimpse of the great snow capped peaks. The 20 mile marker came and went...no mountains. The wind whipped into our faces and the hills grew bigger and bigger. 25, 30...no mountains. I had to force discouraging thoughts from my head as I climbed hill after hill. Finally, right around the 40 mile mark, cresting a hill, I look at the ground beneath me. On the ground,written in the chalk which we use to mark turns on our route, was "LOOK!". I looked up, and in the distance (100+ miles away) were the mountains. It was hard to tell if they were covered in snow or in clouds, but they were breathtaking, literally. It was very emotional.

Being that it was a 90+ mile day, we would set up 2 lunches. I cruised into the first lunch around mile 42. We were posted up on what looked like the edge of a ranch. It was after speaking to the owner of the land, Lloyd, I learned that it was an 170,000 acre ranch! Wow. I spent a good amount of time relaxing at lunch, which ended up paying off, because the first 12 people to leave ended up going an extra 10 miles out of the way. The middle third of my day was fun. I rode with a group of girls through a few small towns, parallel to and not far from I-70. Our second lunch came at the seventy mile mark in a little town called Bennett (elevation 5483 ft.) I noticed a sign showing the elevation, and this was exciting. Denver is the "Mile High" city...5280 feet. We would be traveling down 200 feet in the next 30 miles.

I headed out of this second lunch spot by my lonesome. Riding about 15 miles before I caught Nate, Colin, and a few others who were changing a flat tire. We rode about another five or six miles before we began to get into the city. City riding is very different from riding through the country. There are lots of stop lights and traffic, and you have to be much more alert while keeping up with traffic the best that you can. Riding through the city is like performing a series of sprints. We moved at a blistering rate through the edge of the city, catching another group of riders and pushing our numbers up to about 12 or 13. We rode into the Christ Church UMC on Colorado Blvd. around 4:30, 100 miles of roadway behind us.

We had a fun evening. After relaxing for a while and taking showers at a local gym, we headed to dinner at a local Habitat for Humanity member's home. As I walked through the house and out into the backyard I was surprised to see that our friend from Durham, who did bike and build last summer and is now in school in Boulder, was awaiting our arrival. We had dinner together and then had a chance to catch up throughout the rest of the night.

It is bittersweet to be halfway through this journey. I am excited about the second half of our trip, but I also wish it would never end. I am nervous about tackling the Rockies, but I know I will get through it. Continued thanks to everyone for all of the support.

-Cory

3 comments:

Mom said...

Wow Cory! Halfway across the US with the most fascinating part of the journey yet to come...nothing could stop you now!
We are so proud of you in every way and continue to pray for the safety and well-being of all the Bike and Builders.
John is heading to Philadelphia Wednesday to the soup kitchen with Leo, Cameron and Andrew. Kirt is coming home tomorrow then flying to Boston for the weekend, so Rocco and Clyde will get some good playtime. No other big news, we all miss you bunches!
Love, Mom and all the McMani

Ken Hirsch said...

Great blog, Cory...you write so well, it almost feels like we're there with you. Keep up the postings, and enjoy the climb! Love to Sonya, Eli, & Dylan

tabby4 said...

Hey, Cory!!! I wish you knew how very proud of you I am! I knew you would complete this task, but with such a terrific attitude and you just keep pushing! I'd be fussing and counting bandaids, but not our Cory! You know, your Mom was the same was in nursing school. Nothing held her back from the final goal and being the very best she could be, and she kept at it until that goal was realized. Maybe it is in the genes, huh? I'm sure your Dad's genes are very nice, also...sorry, Neil :) Andy and I go to Atlanta(my home)next week to do our 8th Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta on the 4th (10K). I will have you in my heart and use you as inspiration for this one. Our 11 year old nephew, Andrew, is doing his first race with us this year! Of course his father is doing his 29th Peachtree, and he finishes in about 50 minutes or less. I won't tell you how long it takes us. Rocco is beautiful and I know he is proud of you!!! We helped a young man with his Eagel Scout project last weekend-he has been working on a walking trail for the dogs at the Catawba County Shelter where we volunteer. I thought of you and your brothers. If I don't hush, you'll never get the 2nd half of your journey finished! Keep up the fantastic job-you are truly an inspiration and God is on your handle bars always!!! Be sure you thank Him, OK? We pray for safety and awareness of His beautiful world and the good that abounds around you! Blessings and keep on peddling but don't forget to enjoy the scenery! We're proud of ya, Dude!!! Blessings and prayers daily, Andy and Claudia Steele =^..^=