Michael and Cassie Thornton

Kim Sharp-LeybaPeak Pedalers 2019

This blog focuses on our preparation for this year’s Ride the Rockies. Our training, unquestionably, centers around our coach. His primary training methodology hinges on a dual combination of sleep deprivation and resistance training. He wakes us up in the middle of the night to review our route details. And on many of our training rides, he insists we pull him along in a bike trailer. Our coach is our 16-month-old son. Thank goodness he is cute…

We are both proud of our training and also exhausted by all that it asks of us, especially in this season of life. Many nights after full days of work are spent feeding, playing with, and putting our son to bed and then heading to the garage for saddle time on the trainer, entertained by the dueling hums of the bike trainer and baby monitor. These “date nights in the garage” are challenging (and too often, cold!). For our weekend training, we weave together two types of rides. Many times we hook up the bike trailer and pull our son along the greenways of the greater Denver area. He is a champ at being patient with us and enjoys telling us which way to turn at trail junctions. We call the tandem + bike trailer combo the “limousine.” Fortunately, we have been able to clock many canyon rides up and down the Front Range thanks to the phenomenal support of close neighbors, friends, and family (especially Cassie’s parents and brother) who graciously watch our son while we train. Our go-to canyons have been Lefthand in Boulder and Bear Creek in Morrison, but we have also had the opportunity to enjoy St. Vrain Road, Peak to Peak Highway, Flagstaff Road, Lookout Mountain, Squaw Pass Road, and Deercreek Canyon — what beautiful country we have been given to enjoy!

As Ride the Rockies quickly approaches, we are excited and grateful for this opportunity, which would not be possible without the additional support of Michael’s mom, Ann, who has offered to fly out from Tennessee and SAG for us and care for our son while we ride each stage. We look forward to seeing Ann and our son periodically at some of the rest stops where we hope to enjoy our coach’s pep talks and snuggles. At night, the four of us will rendezvous at various lodging along the route for ice baths, parenting, and hopefully some sleep, if our coach lets us. What an adventure this tour is, especially for two new parents who love the outdoors and cycling! We are most excited about the “together-adventure” of trying to complete Ride the Rockies, tandem-style, baby. As the old adage goes, “it takes a village” — what a blessing to have a great one that provides this opportunity of a lifetime. Now to get all that snow pushed off Independence Pass, go CDOT go!!!

Michael and Cassie