Day 44 – 73 miles to Paonia, Colorado

Morning!

Today is dedicated to Karen Landy – a cousin’s daughter who survived breast cancer in 2010.day44karendedication

Teams were separated by cereals – Draper, Sarah, Casey, Katie, and I were Team Lucky Charms!  Since we were a strong team, we were last to roll out.

day44team

The first 20 miles were tough – I was fighting through the awful pain of saddle sores and my hands were both going numb.  Today was also an 80 mile day with one huge climb at mile 30.  After 3 challenging days of the Rockies, our bodies were hurting.  We climbed about 4,000 feet in 6 miles.  I don’t think I’ve ever breathed that heavy before.

Once we got to the top, our team, Jeff, and Chris hugged and shared a moment together.  For me, it was somewhat of an emotional and physical feat.  It wasn’t the highest elevation we’ve climbed but it was one of the more difficult ones.day44mcclureday44mcclure1day44jeffbutterfly

The rest of the day was downhill, reaching speeds around 40 mph.  day44viewday44sarahviewday44jeffday44selfieWe sped through the last 50 miles or so, getting to the United Methodist Church in Paonia, Colorado at 1 pm.  The last twenty minutes, we biked through another rainstorm – these afternoon storms are apparently normal for Colorado.  Once we got to the church, we spoke with Pastor Charles for a bit.  They have hosted the 4K for 10 years now and always look forward to our arrival.  Before dinner, our team got some food and margaritas at a local mexican place, did (much needed) laundry, and had real showers (the first time in 3 days).day44churchwelcome

At dinner, we met the community of Paonia.  They were all so nice and welcoming, knowing all about the 4K, and asking about our stories.  And dinner was awesome – they all prepared a potluck for us with all sorts of salads, potatoes, fruits, and meats.  After, they took us to the local ice cream parlor!

Also, as Christmas (in July) is approaching, Audrey, Lauren, and I dressed up as Mrs. Claus, Rudolph, and Santa and made our team pick Secret Santa names.  Jeff followed with Christmas music!

day44santa

Merry Christmas in July to all, and to all a good night!

Michael

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