Day 45: Glenwood Springs, CO to Paonia, CO
Total Mileage: 71 miles
So today I was scheduled to drive to Paonia with Lamie and Casey in the water van. First time driving with the two of them, so I was pumped cause van duty usually means we have more time to get to know each other. Van duty just isn’t about setting up water stops and finding a lunch location, but also making sure we clean up after everyone at the host. It’s also our responsibility to load the bikes on top of the van and to make sure its organized in a way that allows room for a potential rider to sit in if they get injured or sick during the ride. After our donated breakfast at Burger King, it was time to chalk.
Chalking bike paths makes it difficult for the drivers since a lot of the time, the paths don’t run directly beside the main road/highway. We ran into that issue early on, so Lamie had to get in contact with one of the riders in the first group to help us out with chalking. Thanks to Abigale, we were able to navigate the riders through the first 20 miles. Right before lunch, the riders had to climb up McClure Pass, which is about a 3000 feet gain in elevation with an 6-8% grade for about 3 miles. Construction made it difficult for the van to travel up and down the mountain to check up on the riders. What made things harder to communicate with them was having no cell phone service, so we just had to play the waiting game until all the groups made it to lunch.
At the top, we saw one of our 4K stickers on the McClure Pass elevation sign. We’re thinking it may be team Portland that put the sticker there a couple days before we climbed the pass, but have no indication that it’s actually them. Will decided to write SF 13 on one of our stickers to distinguish ours from theirs.
A group made a detour right before McClure Pass to a waterfall and things got weird… well, only with Rachael. So we had to pick shuttle her to the host after the last water stop. Can I just say, we had the best group of cheerers in the van today. Lamie and Casey screamed their hearts out of the car when we passed the groups cycling down McClure. One of the best van days I’ve had all trip!
It’s been tradition for team San Fran to pass through Paonia and stay at the United Methodist Church since year two of the 4K for Cancer. The church community in Paonia loves the 4K, and we love them back! Such generous and kind-hearted people that we spoke with during our arrival and during dinner. The church wanted us to give a brief presentation as to why we ride and how we got involved with the 4K. It was a bitter sweet conversation between team San Fran and the church community, cause it reminded us how far we’ve come since the beginning and how little time we have left on this journey. It’s a constant reminder that there are so many people joining us on this fight against cancer and to see our mission carry out in that way is amazing. It’s a reminder that we as a team have formed lasting bonds that will last for the rest of our lives. We have traveling buddies, riding buddies, brothers and sisters; we are family.