Today, the alumni drove the vans for us! It was cool to show them our dedication circle, cheer, and team dynamic, in addition to learning from them. Today is an exciting day, as we are presenting our first scholarship of the trip in Colorado Springs. I dedicated today to the recipient, Whitney, who is an 18 year old battling cancer. She will be attending San Diego State in the fall for Journalism!
From the moment we left Pueblo, the ascent began. It was a cloudy, rainy, and cold day, which was strange having recent days over 100 degrees. We continued to feel the elevation change, making it harder to breathe. We climbed about 3,000 feet in elevation, which was a bit of a challenge, especially because our legs were so used to the flats. Even on flat land and what looked to be downhills (which were somehow uphills), we had to dig deep and fight to keep pedaling. It was certainly not an easy day.
The alumni did help quite a bit. They cheered us on and got us great donations – cake, muffins, fruit, Chipotle, Noodles and Co., and a little chinese food.
And despite all of our adversity, the gorgeous Colorado Rockies and surrounding landscape made our climb a bit easier.
We got into our host in Colorado Springs, the First Christian Church, around 2. A bunch of us drove over to the Garden of the Gods National Park which was absolutely amazing. We hiked a bit, taking in the rock formations and mountains. Lauren and I also decided that we are auditioning for The Amazing Race. Watch out for us, Phil.
At dinner, we met Whitney and her parents. They were really sweet and so thankful for the scholarship. Erica said a few words and then I read her application essay aloud. As I looked up from time to time, I could see Whitney and her family a bit emotional, as well as some of the teammates. She is such an inspiring young woman, having to deal with cancer so young. We were all honored and humbled to present her with the scholarship.
Now for a little exploring of Colorado Springs and a good night’s sleep. We’ve got a big ride to Boulder tomorrow (over 100 miles) and 4K Prom with Team Portland at night!