Mercy Riders

Pushing pedals, pushing hope

July 9, 2014
by Emil McCauley
4 Comments

July 9, One Year Later

Last year I wrote I didn’t remember much about this stretch. Looking at the route and reviewing some pictures, a few things come back. Claire had called ahead and secured a place to stay in Omaha NE, only 120 some odd miles away, saving us money on lodging yet again.

Michelle and the boys often go out and hit some museums and saw the sights. On this day they visited a museum of small, old buildings. Mark and Matt enjoy the basic of small spaces.

We're happy that pictures don't have audio

We’re happy that pictures don’t have audio


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July 8, 2014
by Emil McCauley
4 Comments

July 8, One Year Later

It had rained overnight, but the gravel road out of camp was dry, as were the roads. Again, every 20 miles or so in the hot sun we would get to a town and take a short break. I had a slow leak in my tire, so in the shade of a huge grain silo next to the train tracks in the small town of Atlanta, NE, I changed my tire. The riders went over to some homes close by to get water, so I handed my water bottles to one of the guys to have them filled. Bill had a moment that he later shared at a church service. Many of these towns like Atlanta had seen better days. Many of the homes were run down looking, like you’d be embarrassed to have a visitor come to your house. But not so here. Not at all. These were proud people who have been through more than we can imagine, and in talking to them the environment you originally judged them by disappeared and you were just there with faith filled, good natured people. Powerful stuff. Thanks for sharing that Bill.
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July 7, 2014
by Emil McCauley
5 Comments

July 7, One Year Later

I remember this day starting off well, then getting very hot and humid quickly. And the wind wasn’t helping. As we rode it became abundantly clear that farming and the railroad were a closely knit pair, and the very small towns we road through, 15 – 20 miles apart separated by green and amber fields, depended on both heavily. So much so just about every town had a Railroad St.

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July 6, 2014
by Emil McCauley
6 Comments

July 6, One Year Later

My brother’s Ed and Pat join us for the early part of the ride. It’s an honor to have them along. After a turn at 15 miles each, we stop at our vehicle and get some food. Ed has made a Men’s and Women’s sign and stuck them on a couple of bushes. Classic.

No tinkling was done during the taking of this picture.

No tinkling was done during the taking of this picture.

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July 5, 2014
by Emil McCauley
7 Comments

July 5, One Year Later

Technically we’re a day behind.  We want to get to Chicago on Saturday the 13th, which will require 100+ mile days between Littleton and Chicago. Here’s to hope’n!

This day we have a couple of additions to the crew. In addition to Claire being back with us, Ivan and Echo, Barb’s huskies, join us on the trip.  I’ve been to Barb’s and have been introduced to them before.  They’re great.

Saying 'bye' to Mom

Saying ‘bye’ to Mom

Traveling up through Littleton and Denver, we rode the bike path along the South Platte River.  It’s a great ride with plenty to see and do (if you have the time) along the way.
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July 4, 2014
by Emil McCauley
4 Comments

July 4, One Year Later

Bikes are being worked on today.  My brother-in-law Mike Cooper opens his Outback Steak House early for the riders, my family and friends, and Sr Lillian from Mercy Housing.  We fill half of the place.  Later we have a bar-b-que at his house.  And we get THE phone call.  Claire’s plans aren’t working out as she thought.  There is no question we join up again.  My sister Peggy offers her car and Bill drives the 4 hours round trip to bring her back.  For being just a couple days away, it’s a joyous reunion.20130704_115926mod

July 3, 2014
by Emil McCauley
5 Comments

July 3, One Year Later

I’m sure this wasn’t the first time anyone had the thought, but this was the last mountain we were to climb during the ride.  It was a weird feeling.  The terrain would change again.

This is the first day we part from the tried and true path of Adventure Cycling, and plot our own course.  This was due to the fact the AC doesn’t hit many large cities, keeping you safer.  We shall see how this really pans out today.  How hard can it be?

Turns out, especially in the mountains where you only have very limited options, it’s hard.  And dangerous if you aren’t on your game at all times.   Route 285 (now infamous) is one lane in each direction and not much of a shoulder as you begin our climb up Kenosha Pass.  I was out in front of our pace line, into the wind, getting ready to drop to the back of the pack to allow the flow of riders up to the front for their turn to pull.   I glance at the mirror and see I’m clear behind me, so I move slightly to the left to let the line behind me pass.  At the same time, a porsche (I think) decided not to consider us a vehicles, and used our lane to pass a long line of cars coming in the opposite direction we were riding.  I knocked Greg off the road getting out of the way.  Neither of us fell, but I was rattled to say the least.  We had to keep going, but did so with a good distance between ourselves, and we regrouped at the top of the pass.

At the summit we sat in a parking area adjacent the road, and had a bite to eat. Then, a dirt devil developed and rearranged a few loose items around us, including Jim’s helmet, which was lifted up in the air and thrown a good 50 feet to the road, where is was promptly run over by a car.  Fortunately, we had an extra helmet.

Over Kenosha Pass

Over Kenosha Pass

Barb, being from the greater Denver area, found a beaut of a road, where we could just coast for miles like floating down a stream.  At the bottom I recognized that we were within 10 miles of our destination in Littleton. I had new energy and thought I was holding back, but had to stop several times to allow the rest of the group to catch up.  Although I don’t live in Colorado, it was good to be ‘home’.

July 2, 2014
by Emil McCauley
7 Comments

July 2, One Year Later

The day began with prayer as usual, but we also were feeling a loss.  Claire, who’d joined us on our 4th day of riding, was parting ways midway through the day, back to going it alone on a more southerly route than we were taking.  She had become such a part of the pack, a stonger rider than many of us.  Ok, certainly more than me.  Before we departed, we officially made Claire a mercyRIDER by bestowing the smallest mercyRIDER jersey we had (which was still too big).  It was a fitting start to the day.
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July 1, 2014
by Emil McCauley
3 Comments

July 1, One Year Later … and 25 Years Later.

The group rode on rt 550 for the majority of the day, passing a WalMart (a true mark of civilization) for the first time in seeminly forever.  Bill picked up a new tent.  He was thankful.  We all were.  In Montrose we headed east on rt 50 and I begin to see familiar landmarks from Ride the Rockies tours done a couple years before.

One of the great things about Michelle is that she pushes me out of my comfort zone, and is supportive of some of those crazy zones I get into.  This ride is case and point, game, set, match … checkmate.  I’ll think of more.  On this date Michelle and I celebrated our 24th anniversary at a KOA camp last year just outside Gunnison, CO.  Tasty cupcakes shared with twisted arms as if they were wine glasses (mine containing ginger ale of course).  Years before when the idea was floated out there that my friends and I were contemplating this ride,  I had hoped she ( and our youngest Mark and Matt ) would go, because of her rugged individual attitude and the fact that adversity is rarely in her vocabulary.  She immediately said she wanted to drive the SAG vehicle, and added she’d do the group’s laundry.  Awkward silence.  “Dear, there’s not a competition for the position.  We need two vehicles and you’ll drive one.”  She almost had more energy than we did trying to come up with plans.

So fast forward to the present day July 1, 2014.  Our Silver Anniversary today.  I am blessed with a great, patient friend, and mother of 5 children that daily surprise me, and much of the time I have to say, “they didn’t get that from me!”  I know where they got it.  I am blessed.

For the record, the patch in by beard that I now sport is a faded blond, not silver.

Moments before she said yes.

Jan 29, 1988 I had all the confidence looking my best – just hours before she said “yes”.

Wedding Day

Wedding Day

Celebrating 24

Celebrating 24 years, July 1, 2013  Outside Gunnison, CO

25 Years.  Lord, grant us at least as many more.

25 Years. Lord, grant us at many more.  MATTHEW-focus!

June 30, 2014
by Emil McCauley
5 Comments

June 30, One Year Later

A few riders, me included, get an early start because there’s a mountain to climb and maybe not being the stallions of the group, this might even things out at the end of the day.  It didn’t really help.

For the first time in a while, we have some shade in the morning along route 145.  The climb begins and we experience some cold.  Where was this 2 days ago!  And fo the first time in over two weeks, it rains.   For an hour as we ride.  It’ll rain again for 10 minutes later in the day.

At Placerville we turn north/east on route 62 and end the day in Ridgeway, where a church allows us to camp on their porch. So many stars; the milky way is clearly visable. And a new experience for me, the Orvis Hot Springs. Being modest folk and traveling as a family, we steer clear of the clothing optional area, although I think Matthew might have taken a wrong turn and got a very quick education.

Evening in Ridgeway

Evening in Ridgeway