July 18, 19, 20, 2015 – Sun and rain, 50 degrees
Miles Today: 92
Miles to Date: 4,230
States to Date: 18
The Courage Classic is an annual cycling tour through the Rocky Mountains: 2200 cyclists and 400 volunteers raise over $2 million for the Colorado Children’s Hospital. Some members of my extended family have participated for over twenty years. For the past five years, I’ve included the three-day ride in our annual July reunion. This year, I made the Courage Classic part of my 48-state journey.
Each day the Courage Classic offers a range of routes and climbing challenges so that any level of cyclist can participate. Since our five core riders are getting older – average age 65 – we cherry pick favorite routes. This year, on day one we ascended Vail Pass east to west, rolled into Vail Resort, and then returned over the top. Day Two we circled Dillon Reservoir climbed Swan Mountain (my favorite stretch) and returned through Officers Gulch. On Day Three we left the crowds altogether and mounted Ute Pass, which is a terrific ride up a little-used road with magnificent views of the Gore Range.
After each days ride we soaked in the hot tub, then ate huge meals, caught up on old times, and played lots of cards. We are wicked competitive at hearts and fan-tan; my niece even got us to play Old Maid. By mid-afternoon Monday everyone headed back to Denver, but I was able to spend one solo night at our condo and continue west on Tuesday morning.