It's Getting Hot Out Here...

 

Newton, KS to Eureka, KS

77 miles

We hit the road at 5:50am, leaving our comfortable abode in Newton. The rising sun colored the sky but clouds obscured the direct sunlight.  This had the effect of protecting us from the searing 105 degree heat until10:30am. We were able to make incredible progress, arriving in Eureka by 12:30p.  

 

Taking the 6:30AM break.  The guys are joking that they will get to sleep in when they go back to the school schedule!

Taking the 6:30AM break.  The guys are joking that they will get to sleep in when they go back to the school schedule!

We also had a very fun time riding. We created many "formations" on the empty roads-- the power formation (2-2-2-2-1); the delta formation (1-2-3-2-1), and the cluster or eighteen wheeler formation (just about any formation with the nine bicycles that had not yet been assigned a name). The music was playing, the banter was lively, and the jokes were very funny.  A number of crew members thought it was the best ride of the trip.

 

Max, airborne. I don't think this move is Olympic qualified.  

Max, airborne. I don't think this move is Olympic qualified.  

 

In Eureka we checked out the city pool for the afternoon, dined at Pizza Hut and Sonic, and were hosted by the very generous Lutheran church where we slept in their wonderfully cool basement.  

 

Seeking shade while in "The Sauna". 

Seeking shade while in "The Sauna". 

A couple of people have asked me, "What is it like to bike 90 miles in 105 degree heat on the bike trip?"  Here is my suggestion to simulate the experience. Take your spin cycle and put it in the sauna.  Bring in two gallons of Gatorade, two gallons of water, a box of pop tarts, and seven bags of Scoobies. Get on the bike and spin for 50 minutes. Take a break for 10 minutes. During the break, drink a quart of water and a quart of Gatorade, eat a pop tart, consume a bag of Scoobies. Repeat seven times. Never leave the sauna. When finished, go to your church and ask to sleep on the floor of their basement. If they say no, go back home and pitch a tent in the sauna where you will spend the night. Shower every three days. 


Profile of the day...

 

David Margolies

David Margolies

David probably burns the most calories cycling. He maintains an incredibly high spin rate even on the flats, meaning that while his legs are working hard, he still has excess lung capacity. And this is a good thing for the Crew because David is the Crew comedian. His funny stories, whacky ideas, and humorous jokes are a continuous source of entertainment for the Crew while riding.  He is certainly the Scoobie king, eating bags of this stuff, and even going so far as to call General Foods if the package he is consuming does not contain enough blue Scoobie-Doos. 

His academic interest is in business and his parents will be pleased to know that he is receiving a "Finance 101" lecture from me while riding.  David's main quirk:  his love of the local Chinese buffet, no matter how bad it is.  

Tomorrow, Brian.....

The Coolest Bike Shop Ever

 

Hudson, KS to Newton, KS

86 miles

Sunrise in Kansas

Sunrise in Kansas


4:45am. Music starts.  4:46am. Lights on.  4:47am. Everyone up. That is how the day started. High temperatures were forecast. At 5:45am, we pedaled out of Hudson into the morning darkness, stopping only to drop off the community center key in Mrs. Bowers mailbox. By the time the sun had cleared the morning low clouds at 7:30a, we had already covered nearly 20 miles.  

As we progressed through the Quivira National Refuge cars were largely absent.  So we assumed what David M. calls "The Power Formation"--riding two abreast with one sweeper.  The nice thing about this configuration is that you can carry on conversations with the crew member next to you.  Despite the headwinds and persistent crosswinds, we travelled in the power formation at 15 to 18mph. 

 

Our route took us through Nickerson, where a State Trooper helped the Crew find Brian's iPhone in the tall grass on the side of the road, through Buhler where David M. feasted on Scoobies, and through Hesston where the local bank thermometer read 107 degrees (yes, 107).  To beat the heat wave hitting Kansas we have adopted a 50-10 schedule--ride for 50 min and rest for 10 min. Repeat. And keep repeating until we arrive at our objective.  We travelled 86 miles and reached our destination of Newton at 2:30pm, finding respite and accommodation at the Newton Bicycle Shop, having a great pizza lunch, and an awful Chinese buffet.


 

Welcome to The Newton Bike Shop.  Our perfect zero day destination. 

Welcome to The Newton Bike Shop.  Our perfect zero day destination. 

 

The Newton Bicycle Shop is amazing. Imagine a retail and bike repair shop with a workshop, bikes stacked to the ceiling, and various accessories in retail cases.  Add to this a bunk room for the boys, kitchen, bathroom, a laundry room, cokes and snacks for sale, and unlimited Netflix, and you have our accommodations for two nights. It doesn't take much imagination to see why the boys considered taking a "zero week" instead of a "zero day." 


And now to our next crew profile....

 

Alex Broz

Alex Broz

 

ALEX.  When I think of a textbook cycling form, I think of Alex.  When riding, his legs move at a constant cadence, like a metronome, while his upper body is perfectly still. Alex is currently leader of the week, a position that fits his personality well.   He plans three steps ahead and makes the trains (and the Crew) run on time.  He is also extraordinarily courteous, at every stop asking the weakest rider (me) how long of a break I need.  His playlist, which blares through his bicycle speaker, consists of 1970s and 1980s music, making me feel like I am back in high school (emotionally, certainly not physically).  Alex's only quirk:  he is carrying across the country a stuffed green "rocket turtle."


A final note about Alex. We constantly remember Alex's mother, Beth Carlton, who had been diagnosed with glioblastoma--a form of brain cancer--and is currently undergoing treatment. The crew is wearing stickers in her honor as a reminder. 

In two days;  David M.

Happy Birthday in Hudson

 Bazine KS to Hudson KS - 91 miles

We left the Bazine Bicycle Oasis early in the morning to beat the rising heat, continuing down highway 96 to Rush Center.  And then we did something we had not done for a while.  We turned. 

The busiest intersection in these parts.  

The busiest intersection in these parts.  

 

The Kansas highway system looks like the Manhattan street system, built on a grid. But the difference is that the "blocks" in Kansas are 20 miles by 15 miles.  The crew had been on Highway 96 since Pueblo, CO--over 300 miles. Now we turned south for "one block" and then east again onto the next highway.  This brought us to Larned for lunch at Subway.

 

Meet Mrs. Bowers. What a sweetheart.  

Meet Mrs. Bowers. What a sweetheart.  

As the temperature continued to rise we pressed ahead to Hudson.  I called my college roommate's sister-in-law, who lives in Kansas, to see if she knew anyone in Hudson (pop 150) who could provide guidance to us on a place to stay.  Her son had a high school teacher who has a friend in Hudson. The friend is Sally Bowers.  

Mrs. Bowers, who was the Secretary of the Hudson High School Class of 1953, opened up the town community center and cranked up the air conditioning, saving us from the 100 degree heat at 6p. She then brought us the most amazing dinner of homemade BBQ, super-tasty green beans, potato salad, homemade bread and much more.  It turns out we totally lucked out--she owns a catering business!!! What a treat for us.  

Today's Crew Profile: Sam Billings

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Sam is a serene rider--nothing fazes him. He rides in a big gear at a slow cadence, requiring incredible strength on the hills.  Yet while riding he enjoys the scenery of Kansas and company of the Crew.  He is really trusted by the other boys. They have this ongoing blackjack game.  There are dealers and players.  Sam is "Security", holding the money.  Dehydration in this heat is a big deal. Sam certainly had the best line about dehydration:  "When you start seeing Gumby [the claymation character], you are dehydrated."

Sam's 17th Birthday is today!!!  Mrs. Bowers made a chocolate cake for Sam and we all celebrated in Hudson.  The Crew thought about buying him something big and brass, but felt it might be a bit heavy for him to carry home.  So instead Sam received congratulations, stories, a call from his Mom, and an extra piece of cake!  Happy Birthday, Sam!

Tomorrow: Alex


Refuge at The Oasis

Scott City, KS to Bazine, KS-68 miles

By John de Figueiredo

 

As the sun rose over Kansas, we departed Scott City heading east on Highway 96.  Yesterday's headwind had turned to a 10-14 mph crosswind, giving the Crew few places to hide and draft while riding.


Morning spin class. The crew rolls out across Kansas at dawn in the big ring.  

Morning spin class. The crew rolls out across Kansas at dawn in the big ring.  

 

Unfazed they continued to progress through eastern Kansas chatting about Scoobies, the wind in Wyoming, and chocolate milk.  


If one looks out across the Kansas plains, looking down the seemingly infinite straight roads of this area, your eye will meet the horizon.  And then you will look up and see the beautiful evolving sky. Clouds whisk across the blue basin, transforming from wisps of white to fluffy cotton to threatening gray masses. The sunlight bounces off these clouds, creating a prism of colors, which is only more beautiful at sunrise.  

 

The crew arrived in Ness in time for lunch, feasting at La Dos de Oros, what Trip Advisor described as the best restaurant in the town. We thought about stopping in Ness, but we pressed ahead to a bed and breakfast in Bazine, 12 miles down the road.

 

Dinner with Elaine at the Bicycle Oasis.  

Dinner with Elaine at the Bicycle Oasis.  

The Bed and Breakfast was Elaine's Bicycle Oasis. Elaine is a delightful woman who allowed us to camp in her yard, shower, and dine in homemade taco salad and freshly picked Kansas corn. As the only place to stay in this 35 mile stretch, it was truly a relaxing oasis in Kansas. 

As I spend time with each of the boys  over these two weeks, I thought I would spend each day describing some of the slightly serious and more humorous actions of each of these remarkable young men. 

 

Andrew de Figueiredo

Andrew de Figueiredo

  Andrew is a very powerful rider--frequently pulling ahead of the pack and having to be told to slow down. When I asked him about the hills he said, "Oh, we see them but we don't really notice them when riding.  They don't really affect us."  


However, what most of the crew finds intriguing about Andrew is his wealth of knowledge of botany, entomology, and forestry. Today he discussed the details of his growing catnip at home--prompting the crew to speculate its effect on humans if made into a tea.  In Tribune, KS, Andrew caught a black widow spider that is now being housed in an empty sour cream and onion Pringles container (hence the spider's name Socro -- short for sour cream and onion) and is being transported across the U.S. in water cage #2 of Andrew's bicycle. 

Disclaimer:  Andrew is my son. 

Tomorrow:  Sam...

The Tin Man Comes to Kansas

Note: John de Figueiredo takes over the daily blog posts for this segment. Enjoy. 

 

Tribune, KS to Scott City, KS - 48 miles

   

Nothing runs like a Deere...! 

Nothing runs like a Deere...! 

The crew was up at 5:20am to beat the wind.  Unfortunately the wind was up earlier. By the time we left Tribune, KS, at 6:45a, the crew faced a 15-17 mile headwind which continued unabated throughout the day.

 

A typical view from the road. You feel kind of small out here.  

A typical view from the road. You feel kind of small out here.  

The ride from Tribune to Leoti was much like the ride from Leoti to Scott City.  Flat. One can look across the plains of Kansas for 10 miles in any direction and see the same scene--fields of wheat and corn dotted with grain elevators, wind mills, and really small towns.  The roads are straight which means the serene ride is punctuated every three minutes with the roar of large and oversized tractor trailers reaching over 65mph, carrying John Deere combines, livestock, and other farming supplies.

 

Taking a roadside breather.  

Taking a roadside breather.  

 

The boys, who are now in phenomenal condition after weeks in the mountains, have shown great mercy on their new leader.  Imagine that you rode with Superman (Steve--cyclist extraordinaire), followed by Carbon Man (Murph--former army ranger), followed by Ironman (David H.--ironman triathlete). And then Tin Man shows up (me--professor).  They kept a good pace line and did all the pulling through the headwind. 

Moving into the Central time zone and with the threat of thunderstorms (and showing mercy on Tin Man), we stopped in Scott City where the United Methodist Church showed us supreme hospitality allowing us to stay in their facilities for the night. 

 

Scott City. What a pool! 

Scott City. What a pool! 

 

But the highlight of the day was certainly the three hours we spent at the city pool, complete with zero entry pool, diving boards, and FOUR water slides.  It was a great reward after the 200 miles of headwinds the crew has faced for the past three days. 

The day ended at Pizza Hut with the Crew feasting on the all-you-can-eat pizza and salad buffet--definitely a loss leader for the restaurant.  A family sitting next to the Crew chatted with Ed and commented that their son was an Eagle Scout having done high adventure at the Boundary Waters.  As we went to settle our bill, the waitress told us the family Ed had met, who had now departed, had paid for the entire Crew's dinner.  This is the generosity we continuously encounter.  

Zero Day Diary: Miles of Smiles

Ed Billings

Note: Today (July 23) is my son Sam's 17th birthday. I held this post back for today. Happy Birthday Sam.  

Cañon, CO July 17

Today marks the halfway point of this grand adventure. Halfway in both time and distance. 

This morning we made our final descent out of the western mountains, and into the plains of Eastern Colorado. It was a short ride where we started at 8,500 feet and bled off 3,500 feet of elevation in two dramatic descents. With only 30 miles of riding, it provided a spectacular coda to this section, and I smiled the entire way.

My smiles were of relief that I got the crew through the long mountain descents unscathed (it's been my biggest concern). When you are riding a bike at over 40mph in the mountains, things can go wrong in a hurry. The guys did great. 

My smiles were also from the memories of sheer beauty we have pedaled through over the last 1,950 miles. And I smiled as I recalled the continuous and genuine parting refrain of "You boys be safe!" from all the people we have met along our way. 

But the biggest smile on today's descent came as I rode behind my son Sam, as we plummeted into Cañon Colorado. During the descent the climate began to gradually turn dry. The landscape began to remind me of inland portions of my native Southern California.

Ortega Highway came to mind. It's the old steep road that connects Riverside and Orange County, built before the interstates. My parents used to take that route for weekend family drives, back when people did that type of thing. As I recalled my sister was usually car sick. I began to feel nostalgic. 

It took me a while to catch Sam, and to be honest I did not want to rush it. I was a 1/4 mile back, watching him sweep through the long steep turns, occasionally glancing back for me in the brief straightaways. As his father, I enjoyed taking it all in. 

Eventually I caught Sam. We rode side by side for some time on the quiet, arid road. Finally, I slowed and slipped in for the draft. 

Throughout it all, no words were exchanged.

None were needed. 

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Hardy Mash Up

Note: David Hardy's tour of duty is complete, and his final dailies have been filed. In an effort to get closer to our actual schedule, here's a mash up of his final posts. 

Thanks for everything, Dave.  

 Guffey CO to Cañon City CO-30 miles. 

A tough couple of climbs out of Guffey made our decision to stop there a good one. By we were rewarded a couple hours later with a nice descent into Royal Gorge, and then about ten miles later into Canon City. We ate a good breakfast at the Good Times Cafe, then threaded our way through town to an RV park. There are two kinds of RV parks: the first has vacationers with quarter million dollar rolling hotels and populated with the people that can afford them; the second type of RV park is full of RV's that don't even roll anymore, and people just squat there off the grid, and hang out and watch the months go by and grow their gray hair long and wander around in ragged jean shorts. That's the one we were in.

But the boys never complain, and soon, thanks to Dean Broz back home, a van showed up from Adventure Outfitters to take us all rafting on the Arkansas River.
The boys had a blast on the river; probably class two or any easy class three, but they all got wet, and maybe even a tad cleaner!
Back at RV park for laundry and showers, then off to a good Mexican restaurant. All quiet except for a small squabble among the park denizens that was resolved by the cops.

Cañon City CO to Boone CO - 75 miles

 

Saturday morning and up early to McDonalds, which is a godsend for boys on a budget looking for fast, cheap calories.

Next stop, the metropolis of Pueblo. This was supposed to be an overnight for us, but we are drifting ahead is schedule.
A decent morning of climbing rewarded by a long descent into the Pueblo valley-riding through grasshoppers and sunflowers.
Pueblo by noon-amazing.
We split into two groups for lunch-Mexican and Chinese, which turned into pizza. I opted for Mexican. Despite all of the Mexican food jokes, we haven't had a bad meal yet on my leg of the trip.
Pueblo reminds me of a dustier Durham- a warehouse district, some nice homes as well as shacks, even a water park feature like American Tobacco.
It was also here that Max Morgan's term as leader ended. Max did a great job organizing the boys and navigating the route. Now it was Andrew's turn.
Andrew has a different "style", but the duties of leadership will reign him in.
The roads out of Pueblo were crappy, but we finally made it out of town and three hours later arrived in Boone, Colorado-named after Daniel Boone's two grandsons.

 

 

Grilling gross dogs in Boone. We all ate them.  

Grilling gross dogs in Boone. We all ate them.  

Boone, to be kind, has seen better days. Much better. Population, not counting mosquitoes, around 60. We camped in the town park. There is still a store in Boone that closes at 5pm, but we were able to get supplies. Including hot dogs that were made of chicken with pork added. So bad that the boys actually left some on the grill.

An old man ambled by and chatted with me and Ed. We learned his story-disabled vet who made it big in Boone I guess by buying all of it for about a nickel. He mentioned that the park had a sprinkler system, but wasn't sure if it would spray that night.
Everyone crashed early because the mosquitoes were so hungry. A truck came by with two folks on their way back from a bike trip. Did the boys want some food? They donated strawberries, cherries and other goodies. More bike trip fellowship. Then things got interesting.
I was lying in my tent around 10:30, trying to decide if I could be any more miserable, when I heard what sounded like a jet engine.
"Oh crap," I said out loud.
A second later a massive stream of water pummeled my tent broadside. A minute later, another hit. 
The entire park was caught in a sprinkler crossfire. There was absolutely nothing to do but hunker down and wait it out. An hour later, it finally ended and I had an inch of water in my tent. I literally floated on my air mattress. 
Could it get worse? Of course! A half hour later, another rumble. This time it was a train hurdling through town, complete with whistle, about ten yards from our tents.
This was followed by the barking dogs. Then two more trains, coyotes howling, roosters crowing, basically I got maybe 45 minutes of sleep with a hard, 90 mile day looming.

Boone CO to Eads CO - 90 miles

The intrepid scouts emerged from their tents at sunrise in Boone-unlike me-none the worse for wear. The boys are unflappable.

We rode about 20 miles on a crispSunday morning. About 9am we rode into some town that I can't even remember. But it did have a grocery store and we loaded up. We had to because the next place to refuel was going to be 58 miles away in Eads.
It was a hot, windy ride through eastern Colorado with nothing too memorable except an abandoned town about every twenty miles.
Everyone took turns pulling, but it was a very tough day. Ninety miles is hard any day. Throw in a steady crosswind, and no where to refuel and you have a really hard day. 
Somehow, despite my lack of sleep, I did fine. Just happy to have Boone behind me.
Eads, Colorado was a small prairie hamlet with a nice little park under the trees. Good thing, because it was cloudy off in the distance.
The local ice cream shop was nearby-two scoops with one topping for $4!
Ed and I met a nice guy getting ice cream for his family. He had grown up in Eads, but now lived in Pueblo. Back in the 70's, Eads had a thriving downtown-two movie theaters, hardware store, grocery, etc. But years of drought had drained the town of money and people. In another ten years, I wouldn't be surprised to see Eads as deserted as Boone. Sad.
But Eads had a pool, and for $3 bucks everyone got cleaned up, before a heavy rain hit.

Eads, Colarado. The storm on the horizon.  

Eads, Colarado. The storm on the horizon.  

The storm has cleared.  

The storm has cleared.  

 

Then later, the gang went to the movies and for $5 saw "Max"- a movie about a military explosives dog that was suffering from PTSD, but manages to solve a weapons smuggling ring and re-unite a bereaved family and engenders a love affair between a gringo boy and a Latina girl named Carmen. All In two hours! The boys were not impressed.

Eads CO to Tribune KS - 60 miles 

I had a good nights rest, and was up around 5am. Today would be my last day with the boys, and I was a little sad.

I heard Ed moving around in his tent. We usually got up early and had a coffee together while the boys slowly stumbled out of their tents. I started packing my gear. No Ed. Then I heard snores coming from his tent. He had fallen back to sleep. Strange.
Then later, as we prepared to leave, Ed was still struggling with getting organized. Again, not typical of Ed.
We had about a 60 mile day ahead of us. It started out fast, but we made a turn and headed directly into a fierce crosswind. Our pace slowed dramatically. I looked back to see Ed struggling. 
We got to Sheridan Lake about 10am. Ed was not looking good. 
"I think I'm dehydrated." He told me.
He took a couple minutes to talk to the boys about dehydration, using his own fogginess as an example.
But we had to get back on the road and for the next four hours we fought the wind. 

 

Welcome to Kansas! 

Welcome to Kansas! 

The boys crossed the Kansas border around 11am. Another state down and halfway home.

Kansas loved Horace Greeley so much that they named three towns after him: Horace, Greeley, and Tribune. This is not a joke, dear reader.
We reached Tribune a little before1pm. Not much going on downtown, but a lady told us that the pool was open and the park was nearby.
We set up tents and soon the boys were hitting the pool on a beautiful Kansas afternoon.
A couple hours later, my replacement, John DeFigureido, showed up loaded down with goodies.

 

The crew says goodbye to Dave Hardy. We will miss him! 

The crew says goodbye to Dave Hardy. We will miss him! 

 

Dinner was at "The Trench"-the local watering hole. And it was Mexican night! How fitting. Finally I had my first crappy Mexican meal, cooked by a Gringo Kansan in Tribune. But it was all good. Bike trip!

Tomorrow: random observations from my two weeks on the road with the Scouts from Troop 845.

Random Observations  

 

After two weeks and about 800 miles with the Bike Loud boys, here are a few things I've learned: 

1) the boys are hilarious and strong as wolves.
2) if something is good, then it's banging.
3) if it's not good, it's whack
4) if you are late or cause the group to be late, you're a hot pocket.
5) weight doesn't effect these guys. One scout, Max, is carrying a live cactus and a Colorado license plate on his bike.
6) they've attached speakers to their bikes and listen to a lot of 70's and 80's music.
7) they are both children and men. They make smart, rational decisions about water, pitching their tents, preparing for their day, then when they pass a herd of cows, they moo like crazy to get the cow's attention.
8) they always try to get trains to blow their whistle.
9)the boys are experts in the arcane world of modern candy. Scooby Doo candy is banging, but it's extremely rare to get more than two of the best treat, Scooby, in a 5 piece bag. The boys can spend hours discussing the epochal time that they got more than three Scoobies. No scout has ever gotten more than 4. I rate my time with the Bike Loud boys  5 Scoobies!

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You Got to Love Guffey- Hoosier Pass Day, part 2


by David Hardy 

 

Welcome to Guffey. Our kind of town. 

Welcome to Guffey. Our kind of town. 

 

After conquering Hoosier Pass we screamed through Alma and Fairview (where the cartoon South Park takes place) and aimed for lunch in Hartsell- a typical roadside Colorado town. Burgers and enchiladas-what else!

More map study. Canon City was still 50 miles away and it was nearly 3pm.
"Well, if it's all downhill..." We shrugged. But it wasn't. Another tough mountain pass at Currant Creek (9400 feet) really slowed us down. No way to make another 30 miles with thunderheads building and time leaching away.
"There's a place called Guffey eleven miles from here." I said, and we turned left and pedaled our way into the funkiest, friendliest and slightly bizarre town I've ever seen. Population 36.
Picture a little hamlet about a mile in diameter nestled in the foothills about three miles from the main road with every building built of rough-hewn timber and corrugated tin roofs. Abandoned rusted out old cars and appliances are the yard art. Every shop (all closed) are covered with cow, horse and deer skulls. Some of them with meat on the bone. There's a charter school, a few houses and The Freshwater Saloon. 
A guy in a truck saw me and asked if we had heard about the hostel. I gathered Ed and we got a tour of these tiny cabins with bunks, no electricity, no water, and an outhouse nearby. $10 per person. Sold.
A few minutes later the boys were unpacking and Ed and I went down to the Freshwater. 
And here's where the magic  of Bike Loud took over.
The people of Guffey like being off the grid but they donated over $50 to the cause. Then a wonderful lady named Karen bought all of our dinner. Other folks, Annette, Ely and Mary chipped in. It was that kind of night in Guffey, Colorado and I'll never forget it.

Hammering Hoosier Pass

Breckenridge CO to Guffy  CO - 44 miles 

By Dave Hardy

 

I'll admit I was nervous about Hoosier Pass.

It was going to be the highest altitude climb of the trip-just under 12,000 feet- and Ed and I were both worried about the effect of all that rare air on the boys. And especially two old men in their 50's!

On top of that, we were aiming for a 90 mile day to Canon City. Ambitious.

I grew even more nervous when Alex, a strong rider, came out on the porch looking pale. He had a little nausea and a headache-sure signs of altitude sickness and we hadn't started climbing. But he was determined to soldier on. 

We got off to our typical slow start. We rode into Breckenridge and swarmed into Dayligt Donuts. Drop what you're doing and go there. Cinnamon buns as big as your head.

We gorged there and soon our 7:30am departure was edging to 9:30.

Off we went for the biggest climb of the trip.

Two miles out of town we started gaining altitude. But the boys were riding great. We just dropped in our lower gear and started spinning and eating up the miles.

The boys naturally split into clusters based on their speed, and I found myself right behind the three leaders: Brian, Will, and Andrew.

With about 7 miles to go, we pulled over and gathered everyone. Word has trickled up the mountain that Alex was struggling.

I had never seen him so gassed. When he and Ed caught up with us at the break, he sat down and began cramming donut holes down his mouth.

Ed and I conferred.

"He says he can do it," Ed told me. "We'll just take it slow and see you at the top."

If anyone could do it, it would be Alex, so we headed on.

You know what? It wasn't that hard. Our training ride up Mount Mitchell was much harder. The boys literally swarmed up the pass and within an hour, we  had reached the summit.

Hoosier Pass. This was a big deal. The boys were now officially half way home and they had conquered the Rockies.

Alex and Ed made it up about ten minutes later; we shot a thank you video, took a bunch of pictures and started our descent. 

Now that was fun! We easily topped 40 mph and ate up the miles.

 
The beast is tamed. Atop Hoosier Pass.  

The beast is tamed. Atop Hoosier Pass.  

Zero day in Breckenridge

By David Hardy 

 

B'ridge is a biker friendly ski town and swarming with tourists. But there's a great vibe there and the boys loved it.

Thanks to our back home publicist extraordinaire, Dale Baron, and Kim Dykstra,  the PR person for Breckenridge, the boys had interviews with the CBS affiliate in Denver, as well as an interview with the local paper.
The media, the mayor, and troop 845 all gathered at Eric's, a sports bar restaurant. 

 

The crew enjoys lunch with the Mayor of Breckenridge.  

The crew enjoys lunch with the Mayor of Breckenridge.  

 

Mayor John Warner is a cyclist himself (as well as a dentist). He hung out with the boys and talked cycling, the Ride, and scouting. He said it had been a contentious year due to the marihuana issue. How does a tourist town serve that industry as well as maintain its image? It had become a hot political issue. He candidly talked to the boys about the effect of pot on developing brains of teenagers. They listened intently. For all of their joking about pot since entering Colorado, I think they're circumspect about it.

Back to Dr, Gray's house to chill and bike cleaning. Then back downtown for dinner; joined by Ed's longtime friend, Lynda Kemp. Then we packed into the SUV for ice cream with the local troop. A busy "zero " day!

 

Ed's high school buddy Lynda Kemp got to meet the crew while Ed and Lynda got caught up. Thanks for the generous donation and card Lynda! 

Ed's high school buddy Lynda Kemp got to meet the crew while Ed and Lynda got caught up. Thanks for the generous donation and card Lynda!