“I was poised at the starting line in Loveland, Colorado for the JDRF Century ride. Normally you would think of the clear Rocky Mountain air but the recent California wild fires brought a dim haze to the sky. Nevertheless the air was cool and crisp and I was excited to start the journey with my whole family at the start to see me off.
The first leg of the journey was fast paced. I weaved my way to the front pack and settled in nicely with the Rocky Mountain group. I was sporting a 10-year jersey which many of the other cyclists noticed. They pinged me for which ride I thought was the best and I offered my perspectives. We cycled through the Loveland city neighborhoods to rest stop #2 where the group peeled off; I stayed the course anxious to get to the next rest stop where Stacey, Seth, Lance, and Lexi were all volunteering. After 30 miles I was in the second position on the course making good time with an 18 mph average.
What a joy to round the turn and see the family cheering, waving, and ringing a cowbell (I need more cowbell!) for me. I lingered with my family a bit and vowed to return shortly. After some on-the-bike high-fives I continued south to the turn around. A scant few miles there and back and I was again at Rest stop #3 with the family. Now at 48 miles into the course I would not see them again until the finish.
At this point I was near the lead but alone. A faster group had past and was long out of sight. I rode the northern stretch mostly alone. The picturesque mountain ranges were just off to my left and I felt like I was the only person that existed in Colorado. The northern course sported the “hilly” portion (that is what Coloradans call mountains). I grinded up a step 8% grade hill and then had to face the long climbs of the northern loop. The journey offered a serene mountain lake and some beautiful red canyons to ride through. It seemed that no matter what direction I was facing the road was uphill and the wind was in my face. At the 75 mile notch I welcomed the rest stop.
The last 25 miles was relatively flat but jelly legs made the journey slower than anticipated. A brief stop at the final rest stop and I was in the home stretch to the finish line. As I passed the finish line the kids were there for high-fives and Lance handed me my medal. In the end I rode just over 100 miles at a 15.5 mph average and was on the bike for about 6 hours and 24 minutes.