I’m a former Denver resident and recovering lawyer who misses the mountains on the daily. I’m also a full time mom, the wife of a competitive road cyclist, a runner and part time writer. I last participated in RTR in 2008; while (unknowingly) pregnant with my first child. Three kids later, I ride to provide an example for my children, care for myself, and keep sharp for all these roles, personal goals, and interests. But this year? I’m also Riding The Rockies as a daughter.
My dad’s name is Greg. He’s a retired farmer and science teacher from Kansas. At age 69, Greg is new to cycling. My husband was the first cyclist he ever met. I remember Greg learning about the sport by watching the Tour de France on a sketchy internet connection. He was an instant big-time enthusiast. Soon after, Greg volunteered as a support driver, and fell in love with RTR. But how could he do more than drive the car, I mean, he was an aging, battered former football player, 100 pounds over weight and suffering from a severe heart condition. That was just reality.
Talk to Greg, and you’ll instantly and correctly sense that he is the most generous person you will ever meet. After a lifetime of serving others and shelving his own RTR dreams, last fall he had his second heart surgery and immediately bought a bike. Somewhere in the cardiologist’s office, it seems, he found the courage to go for the big time. No one was surprised more than…well, everyone. Now, he’s pedaling all over rural Kansas, eating yogurt for breakfast, and melting off pounds in anticipation of our great RTR adventure.
Our crew consists of 6 riders and a support driver. Our schedules are unreasonably full, budgets precariously balanced, and bodies tired from arthritis and sleepless nights with toddlers. Our home states are pancake flat (Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas) and the weather has been awful. But if Greg can get on a bike and head for the Rockies, by God, so can we.
As for me, this tour is a reason to push my fitness boundaries, which motherhood has really beaten the hell out of. It’s a rare chance to relax with family and friends away from the tornado-like pace of daily life (And also, some actual tornadoes. I live in Oklahoma now.). However, the greatest opportunity of this journey, is to give back to a dad who has been at my side through life’s adventures from day one. I hope to inspire another son or daughter will take a bike ride with an aging parent. Perhaps another dad will catch the fever and decide it’s not too late to live a dream.