From the time that I learned to ride, I have always enjoyed bicycling. I biked everywhere around our family’s suburban Chicago neighborhood as a child, taking little adventures out to nearby forest preserve areas, and exploring the woods on my bike. In my mid-20s, I discovered the joy of riding long distances. I rode my first century (100 miles) in 1984, followed by my second century the very next day when friends encouraged me to join them on TOSRV South. I was hooked!
Around Christmas 1984, my brother Greg and I cooked up a plan to ride from Florida to Chicago the following summer. I planned and trained for the trip, while Greg was busy finishing dental school. You could say Greg’s enthusiasm for the trip had to fill in a bit for his lack of training, at least in the first few days. But, it turned into a great adventure with many memories that we still share today!
In 1986, I visited my sister Sue in Colorado, and joined her, her future husband, and some friends for a week-long self-supported bike tour of the state. I fell in love with the mountain scenery and the other outdoor activities – hiking and skiing – Colorado had to offer. When a job opportunity opened in Colorado a year later, I jumped at the chance, and I’ve worked and lived here ever since. Although I continued to bike to work and to ride all around Fort Collins and the foothills west of town, I didn’t really do another organized ride in Colorado until 1998, when my late husband Duncan and I rode the Courage Classic benefit ride on our tandem, averaging about 60 miles a day for three days.
The following year, after Duncan’s death, a friend invited me to join her and a team of three other women to do Ride the Rockies, a week-long tour around the state. Bicycling became my spiritual and emotional therapy, and still continues to be a fixture of my life routine. I have done an awful lot of praying from a bicycle seat. Along with my awesome biking friends, I have ridden Ride the Rockies (RTR) a total of 10 times now, and have also ridden the similar Bike Tour of Colorado two years when we didn’t get picked in the RTR lottery. I never cease to be amazed by the spectacular beauty as I pedal along. One of the things that appeals to me about RTR is that the tour costs are covered by corporate sponsors and all entry fees go to local charities in the host communities.