My Exciting Week with My Friends For Phinney and The Copper Triangle
To my Friends For Phinney, Family, and Friends, Well, I am now home in Arizona after a truly amazing week of great fun, adventure, challenges, and most importantly…..wonderful new friends that I have met and will forever hold close in my heart as ones who truly have made an impact on my life. Tom & Amy, Kevin & Kathleen, Rick, Michael, Liam, Isaac, Davis, Connie, Kelsey, Lauren, Polly, Joe Williams, Cheryl, Maria, Jerry, Shane, Shannon, Joey, Kyle & Sarah and kids, Mona, Jordan, Leisa, Kamrie, Torie, Maren, Charles(my truck driving road warrior who got me to Durango) and to anyone else I should acknowledge by name but may have missed, thank you for a wonderful experience this past week.
As I shared with you the quote that came to me as a result of getting together a number of people for my 50th birthday last year, a group of us were on the 50 mile bike ride we had and as we were riding, a thought came into my mind that eventually evolved into this:
“I don’t wish Parkinson’s on anyone, but I wish everyone could have the opportunity to experience the things that I have experienced with Parkinson’s, and more importantly, experience the love, compassion and generosity coming from wonderful family, friends and strangers that I am able to experience these things with!”
I want you all to know how much the experiences of this past week support the words of this quote. As I met up with you on Tuesday in Durango, never had met you before but had been talking to Tom by phone, I was immediately brought into your lives and it felt wonderful to be accepted. You are an amazing group of friends that are blessed with genuine, compassionate hearts. Thank you!
Wednesday, my ride day with the Friends For Phinney, what can I say? As we headed out of Durango, heading towards Pagosa Springs, I felt so on top of the world to be out there with you. As I learned your riding speed and how well you worked together and were so united, it felt so great to be there. It was such a beautiful day for a ride, and as you made me feel so comfortable, I knew that I could moo at the cows and sing some songs and not feel embarrassed. And I hope that in the coming days that you when you see a cow, take the time to let out a loud MOOOOOOO! and see how good it feels.
I wasn’t planning on doing 100 miles that day, thinking that if I could make it to Pagosa Springs that having gone that distance would be sufficient for me. But as I rode on and feeling good as I was, I thought that there is no way that I could end my segment early and not experience this whole day with you. So on we rode. We made it to Pagosa Springs, ate lunch, rested our legs, and continued on. We were now within the reach of Wolf Creek Pass. What a beautiful ride it was getting to the base. The ranches with the surrounding mountains were majestic. I was so grateful for the opportunity to be there, and it was because of you extending an invitation for riders to ride with you that I was there. Thank you for that invitation.
As we took on Wolf Creek, I could soon see that it was definitely going to be one of those climbs that would go down in my history book as one of the top challenges of my cycling experience. I didn’t feel my bike was functioning at its greatest, and fortunately Tom was within shouting distance and we stopped and he helped me check out my bike, finding some minor details. Thank you Tom for being there. As we continued up the mountain I tried to absorb in the beauty of what was around me as well as keep my mind and body in harmony to accomplish what needed to be done. As we forged ahead, making the stops as we did, I was grateful to have Rick ahead of us, quite aways in fact, as a carrot, or should I say “pickle” to encourage us to keep on going! And to Kevin and Tom who were most always within sight of me, who I knew would always be there for some type of motivation, I am very grateful to you all. And how could I not mention our great SAG team of Michael Casey and Liam, Michael and Tom’s nephew from Texas? They were so encouraging to me. Michael, thank you for getting me up that mountain!
I kept wondering where my family was. They had left Durango and I thought for sure that they would be there anytime. I so needed to see them and them to see me tackling the monster mountain. I kept looking down the road for them but they were not coming. But lo and behold they finally did when we were close to the summit, and it gave me the needed boost to forge ahead, and we were soon at the summit and it was such a relief. To have them there was awesome, and to be there with my Friends For Phinney was the greatest. Thank you my friends and family for giving me this experience of taking on the challenge of Wolf Creek Pass, so that I could have the experience of singing as I rode down that mountain…”Wolf Creek Pass, way up on the great divide, coming on down the other side!”. And come down we did! What a breath taking descent we made with the beautiful scenery around us. It was spectacular!
We were on our way to Del Norte and this is when the 100 mile mark for me was truly within range, and my friends were going to make sure that I accomplished it. We forged ahead and kept a good pace. Rick was leading us and I said to him that I would like to take the lead, and about that time I heard him say that we were at 99.5 miles and I bolted ahead ( I had to live up to my nickname given to me by my friends from POPS RIde, and that being “Bolt”) and I took off with a bolt of energy and drive to reach that 100 mile mark, ending at I think was 101.2 miles. As we came upon that SAG vehicle, it was such a great feeling to have accomplished both the pass and my first century ride in the same day, and most importantly the men that I accomplished with. Thank you Mike, Kevin, Rick, Michael and Liam. I also need to acknowledge the fact that I couldn’t have ever even attempted to accomplish what I did that day without the many prior rides and encouragement from my POPS Ride family, Jerry (POPS) and his sons Shane and Shannon, and friend Kyle Worley, who in 2011 pedaled from Florida to San Diego to bring awareness and fundraising for PD foundations, and to Joey Gregan, my friend who I ride often with and had earlier attempted to ride a 100 miles with, but due to an equipment challenge on my bike on the day we attempted , I was not able to finish. Thank you POPS Ride and Joey for being great friends, and to my wife, Leisa, and to my children….I love you all and thank you!!!! Kamrie, one of my daughters, wrote me a special note that I found in my bike gear pack that said simply, Hi Dad, hope you have a good ride, Love, Kam Jade. Kamrie, that note was so special to me. Thank you!
It was great to go ahead of you to Del Norte, and be there to welcome you to town and be apart of the reception social planned for you by Lori, a high school classmate. It was great and the setting of that courtyard was so nice.
With my family there, we proceeded on to Copper Mountain and left you behind, knowing that we would be reuniting at Copper for the Copper Triangle. So with two days of relaxation at Copper Mountain, it was preparing me for the ride on Saturday, which I was greatly looking forward to.
On Friday, I was anxious to go out to Leadville, surprise you, and ride in the SAG vehicle. My son Jordan and his girl friend, Marin, took me out there, and it was great to see you even after that short time of not riding with you. The opportunity to make the signs and rally for you from a different perspective was so much fun. Has anyone seen my Friends For Phinney?
Tom, thank you for sharing with me how “the scoop” came about and for the opportunity to share it with the group at the dinner on Friday night. I am so grateful for the group that was there and how willingly they participated. And thank you Amy for the never ending encouragement that you gave and the very positive attitude you have. You and Tom are such a great couple.
The Copper Triangle on Saturday was an awesome experience. To do it with my son Jordan is a great time for a father and son to share some great time together. Jordan, my only son, is a wonderful young man with a bright future ahead of him. I love Jordan and his enthusiasm for life and his love of cycling. He even shaved his most hairy legs for the ride this year! If he didn’t I am afraid he could have been a fire hazard as he raced down those hills! Thank you Jordan for being there and having this experience with me.
I also came across Davis coming up Vail Pass, and got to ride with him for a little bit. What an honor it was to ride by a great man, a great mentor and friend to me. Thank you Davis! You are an awesome person that I truly am inspired by.
As we arrived at the finish line, I heard Davis Phinney asking if Carl Ames was in the crowd. He wanted me up on stage to teach the crowd how to do ” the Scoop”. I heard him say that Tom would teach it, and about that was the time that I was able to acknowledge that I was there, jump off my bike, and work through the crowd to the stage. I leaned my bike up against the stage, climbed up on the stage, where Tom Casey, Davis, Kelsey and Connie Phinney were, where they had been addressing the crowd. Davis handed me the microphone and proceeded to let me teach the crowd how to scoop! What a thrilling experience this what. I am so very grateful to all for this week. As I ponder it all now that I am home, I want to thank my family, the Friends For Phinney, The Davis Phinney Family and the Victory Crew, and to all the people that donated funds and offered encouragement and support to make it possible for me to have this experience. To my employer, Knight Transportation, for their never ending support. There are many who donated to either directly to the DPF by making an on line payment or people who donated cash to help us with the costs associated with a trip like this, and I thank you for that.
It was indeed a great week! A great experience! And something I will forever cherish and look forward to that in the future. My heart is full, I think I will be having Friends For Phinney withdrawal for awhile now, but I will get over it. I will put on my bike gear, butter up, maybe eat a pickle, and take off for a few mile ride. And then when I get back, I will do a scoop and express gratitude for the people and experiences that bless my life, and to my Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ for their love and goodness in my life!
Whoooooooo! How about doing the Scoop? Don’t be shy, stand up, think of three things you are grateful for, bend your knees, get down in a bended knee staunch, raise your arms in the air, reach down low and scoop it all in, stand up, arms in the air, breath, repeat two more times, each time making a bigger scoop, then on the third one as you reach for the sky, position arms as if you were shooting an arrow up to the sky, make a swoooooosh sound as you release it. Feels great!