JUNE 17, 2013 Two days after we returned from RTR–this is what happened

Our tenants at our Blackstone house told us they would be moving.  So, on Monday, Lloyd and I needed to make a trip to the house. I would meet him there. I had the baby and needed exercise rather badly. So, I loaded up the baby into the baby bike-trailer and took off. Problem: it was at 3 in the afternoon and very very hot. From my internal temperature, it felt like 100 degrees! I had seen my family do all that riding during the week, and I felt, from osmosis that I could tackle the same kind of rigor. After all, it was only 5 miles to the house. On 29th St and Wilson, the baby started screaming, Lloyd was calling me and I was so hot I could hardly stand it. I huffed into the phone, “I’m going to meet you at Blackstone, but you need to come with a car and get the baby! He needs you very badly right now. I’m on 29th and Wilson. Hurry.”

Lloyd yelled: “WHAT ???”

I could not believe it that he couldn’t hear me. I tell him often that any time now he will need my interpreting services. Very patiently but urgently, I repeated. “Come past 29th and Wilson. Please get the baby. Goodbye. I have to keep riding so he gets air.”

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I pushed myself back onto the bike and started a slow ascent up Wilson Avenue–its rather flat but it felt like a steep hill to me. (How in the world did my family ride for miles and hours on end up-hill?) I was huffing and puffing. At one point dropped my phone and almost fell as I tried to scoop it off the pavement. (what was I thinking leaving for a bike ride with a baby at 3 in the afternoon?) “Huff”–up the hill I go. finally I heard a horn honk. Thank God! Lloyd rescued the baby and tried to force me into the car: “No, Lloyd I need to do this–I will meet you at the house.” I was suppose to meet him at 4 pm–it was now 4:15. I think I will be late. I hate being late! What was I thinking? I forged ahead. I was so glad he had the baby.

I arrived at the house by 5:15, only 1 hour and 15 minutes late. I collapsed on the ground and could not move for at least 15 minutes, so really I was an hour and 30 minutes late. Lloyd and the baby were very worried about me. I will never again think that I can match my family’s skill at bike riding!

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You know, I am 63 (the oldest in my immediate family here in Colorado)–my parents never bike rode with me. I think I am doing pretty well getting around like I do. But who was to think that I would have an over-the-top kind of family who would be doing so many miles? I am extremely proud of them and I often wonder if they will ever slow down for me? Hmmm…that is a conundrum J but yes, they quite often call and ask me to go on a “family adventure with them.” Which is rather nice. We have grandchildren coming up. I can keep up with them at least for awhile.

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DAY 7 Canon City to Colorado Springs (46 miles and mostly down hill)

This was the big day. The finish line was looming. Last night we had two hotel rooms with two queens in each bedroom. I figured I would sleep with Lloyd in one of the beds and would graciously take care of the baby, allowing Ben and Danielle (in the other room) to get some sleep. I situated my room next to the end of the row of rooms, with a sliding glass door exiting to the parking lot. The baby was shielded by a bathroom between himself and people next to us–perfect! No one should be able to hear a screaming baby in the middle of the night. Perhaps Jess or Lloyd would join me (but what was I thinking? they wanted to be able to enjoy their last ride!).

So, in effect, unbeknownst to me, I was chasing everyone out of the room except myself and the baby. Ben and Danielle thought it would be a wonderful to sleep through the night; Jess took the bed next to them and Lloyd slept in the gym (poor guy.)

So, Baby Ben and I were all alone in our spacious two-bed room that had direct access to the parking lot through a sliding glass door–it was luxurious.

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We went swimming, lathered him in so much sun screen that he looked like he had white measles. Then Danielle nursed him and he was off to a comfortable slumber of crying for about 20 minutes prior to being held again. I ran to the hallway to see if anyone noticed our screaming baby. One lady walked by the room and could not take her eyes off the door. (probably thought we were very neglectful allowing him to cry.) I did not tell Danielle about this because she is already uncomfortable about letting her baby disturb other residents. 9 pm: She rocked him and cooed with him and finally he fell asleep. Everyone left me alone in the dark room, unencumbered by other occupants, to read or sleep myself. I blogged for a short time and drifted off to sleep around 11 pm.

I was rudely awaken by a screaming baby around 1:30 am. I rushed to his side, tried to comfort him, made him a bottle, changed his diaper, and rocked and rocked him. He was non-plussed, continued to cry. I finally brought him into bed with me and patted his back until my hand went numb. What was that? silence? I took my hand away and again the crying began. I immediately used a technique my mom taught me: continue to pat until I fell asleep. This worked (I think)–I was asleep so I am not sure. The entire process took about an hour. He slept until 7 am, glory hallelujah! I felt a sense of accomplishment even though I was tired: Ben and Danielle got a good night’s sleep and everyone was able to leave at a very early morning hour: 5 or 6  am or something. Ben and Jess and Lloyd snuck into my room to retrieve stuff, Ben kissed the baby and they were off. I never even heard them. I was tired, but would be able to rest my eyes on the trip to C Springs.

Danielle helped me get our free hot continental breakfast (wonderful!) We packed and got out of there around 8:30 (30 minutes later than planned). We had to make it to Colorado Springs by 9:30 because today the riders only had 46 miles to ride and they should make that pretty quickly–Debra Warner (Ben’s mom arrived at the finish line at 8:30 when we were just leaving our hotel.)  I never slept in the car: Danielle drove and I was busy watching the bike-riders we passed. At 9:00 Jess texted me: “Mom, where are you? We are probably going to cross the finish line prior to 9:30.” In a panic I responded, “You can’t cross before 9:30, we won’t be there yet. You need to slow down!”

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She wrote back, “We can’t slow down. We are cruisin!”

I wrote to Ben and Lloyd, “Tell Jess to interview someone,. Stop people who are biking. Ask them questions. You all have to slow down because we want to watch you cross the finish line.” Ben never responded; Lloyd does not know how to retrieve text messages so they did not know the plan. Shoot, What to do? “Speed up Danielle!”

Then a miracle happened. About 9:25 we passed them, on the road, they were not as speedy as they thought. YES! And they still had a couple of hills to climb. I was elated.

We arrived at the finish line at 9:40, and watched each of them traverse the finish line. First Lloyd, then Ben, then Jess. We gave them lots of fan fare, blew horns and clapped to our hearts content. Nathan even drove from Denver to join in the festivities. We took pictures in front of the hot air balloon and family pictures and congratulatory pictures. It was a great ending to a fun and exhausting week.

Here is Debra Warner (Ben’s mom and Benjamin’s other Grandma–we waited for riders):

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Nathan with Benjamin best Benjamin and Margie and Nathan in front of balloon again HPIM0387 IMG_0191 IMG_0192 IMG_0204 IMG_0208The riders and babyIMG_0183IMG_0206

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Day 6, June 14, 2013—94 miles from Salida to Canon City

Lloyd’s 59th birthday—everyone wish him a happy birthday.

This is the day the riders were re-routed. They did not get to ride over the Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge, a huge disappointment, but we pray for all who live near the fires and thank the Lord for the safety of the riders.

Lloyd explained above that you never get tired biking—well, apparently yesterday was an exception because he got very very tired since it was so boring. The miles went on forever. Lucky for him and Jess, the spark plug named Diane  came along and made up games and helped them forge through the boredom. Look at those hills will ya?? I could not do what they are doing.

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Today was the very difficult 94 re-route, down south—they saw beautiful parts of the mountains but it was a difficult ride so Jess and Lloyd ended up taking a sag wagon at about mile 60. I was so impressed they made it that far. Jess interviewed several people whose stories she will include in future blogs and news articles. They left Salida about 6 am and got on the sag wagon at 2 pm. Their new best friend, Diane, told them she would coach them down the mountain if they wanted to keep going. Jess thought, “how do you coach someone when their back and arms and every joint aches?” They declined her offer, so Diane had to continue the trek alone.

After picking Jess and Lloyd up, we went to Dairy Queen to get lunch (ice cream makes a great lunch ) We were leaving the place and over heard a man telling his wife, “Isn’t that Jessica Benes?” The woman looks at Jess and asked her if that was true. Jess responded, “uhhh, yes, how do you know me?” the woman replied: “I read your blogs all the time. I live in Loveland and look forward to reading your articles and I have very much been enjoying your RTR blogs!” WOW! We are living with a celebrity 🙂

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Since Danielle, Ben and I did not sleep very well last night because the baby kept us all awake until 2 am or so, Ben decided not to ride today. We have gotten a little bit of rain again today. I hope it has been down pouring over all the fires all over the state. We three and the baby, drove the 45 minutes from Salida to Canon City this morning, on highway 50. This highway was just re-opened after the fires destroyed parts of the Royal Gorge Bridge. We noticed some RTR riders on HW 50 –I guess several of them decided they preferred the shorter route since it was available.

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Lloyd’s 59th birthday: Jess and Danielle had previously made reservations for all of us to eat at a Chinese restaurant—we had a great meal and presented Lloyd with a new I-Pod so he can listen to books while biking. Lloyd, who can never find his phone and does not often have use for new technology, except his computer, got ahold of the tech bug when he saw this new and wonderful device. Jess sat with him and taught him how to use the I-Pod and he will have a chance to try it out tomorrow.

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Tomorrow,  there is going to be a huge celebration in Colorado Springs. If anyone wants to come see the riders stream in from a difficult but successful ride, you need to be at the finish line around 9:30 am. Its only a 4 hour ride, and ONLY 45 miles, and they plan on leaving Canon City at 6 am.

The finish line will be at Cheyenne Mountain Resort, 3225 Broadmoor Valley Rd Colorado Springs, CO 80906

 God bless you all and good night, 

Margie

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Lloyd’s Blog June 12, 2013: How do you explain the difference between biking and car-driving on major roads?

Do you ever get sleepy and have to pull over while driving your car, truck or motor cycle on the road? That never happens for cyclists. The act of traveling by cyclist in the Ride the Rockies tour has brought home that sleepiness during the tour never happens!

There are motor bikes, cars, trucks and 18-wheelers passing by constantly – and the larger or faster the vehicle, the bigger their slipstream. The slipstream is just the air turbulence behind each vehicle. We have had numerous occasions, when the slip-stream is so powerful from a passing vehicle that the cyclist gets sucked back and forth during passing. If you couple that with the need to watch 10 to 30 feet ahead of you for every rock, dip, gravel, pothole, umbrella, tire-portion and dish drainer and you get a feel for the total focus required for cyclists. If we take our focus from the road for even an instant to see our speed, mileage or distance or view of the rear, we could end up missing one of those items and getting wiped out. Wiped out means more or less depending on the situation.

A lesser wipeout means getting caught in a crack in the road and pulled sideways so you fall sideways and get a road rash or bruise (experienced by the author, Jessica Benes). Wipeout at higher speeds can mean getting thrown over the handlebars and tumbling end over end with road-rash and/or bruises (experienced by Lloyd Benes) – or as in the case of RtR advocate, David Benson,  a broken femur and 8 weeks of recovery before returning to normal activities.

Here is a picture of our friend, David Benson and his wife, Patty–they were our mentors as we prepared for the ride. We could not have done the ride without their support! They helped us buy the right bikes and all the riding gear. David was unable to ride because of his broken femur, so he was our ardent support.

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That’s one difference between driving and cycling. Another one is your emotional state during uphill and downhill travel. As a motor-driver, there is not a significant difference between uphill, downhill or flatland driving. For the cyclist, it depends on your weight, height, experience and speed. For example, many of us are inexperienced first-time “Ride the Rockies” people. Uphills can be daunting because of the energy and work required to reach the summit of a peak in the road. Downhills can be petrifying because of the terror felt at significant downhill speeds if there is gravel in the road or crosswinds or headwinds. Inexperienced bikers will be “white-knuckled” during the trip downhill as they try to maintain control and not get wiped out by winds, gravel, motor-vehicles, road-kill, potholes or fellow-more-experienced bikers swooping by. And then it’s hard to call this beginner-cyclist issue “paranoia,” when an experienced cyclist in the Loveland CCBT (Community Cycling Bicycling Tour) wiped out at 48 mph going down the Carter Lake hill and was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. Us inexperienced bikers may brake our speeds to 20 mph and pray the whole way down “God, don’t let any of us get wiped out or killed, please.” So far in 2 days of the “2013 Ride the Rockies,” the thrills and spills described above have not happened to the author or their family – for which we are very thankful and hopeful for the remaining 5 days of cycling.  Stay tuned for follow-up.

Regards,

Lloyd Benes, used with permission.

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DAY 5 June 13, 2013: Alamosa to Salida—84 miles over Poncha Pass (only 9,019 feet) and Sand Dunes National Park

Most of the route has narrow shoulders, is flat and fairly boring, except for a steep hill at the end and downward descent into Salida, so Ben decided to take the day off. Yesterday wore him out and he needed a rest. Lloyd and Jess went ahead and loaded up with all their gear and took off for Salida at 5 in the morning (1/2 hour earlier than normal,) because they wanted to beat the heat and afternoon winds. As you can see they were able to visit a real live alligator farm on their journey.

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Ben, Danielle, the baby and I visited the Sand Dunes. It was  only a bit off our track. We had no desire to climb the dunes and get all sandy, but there was a little ½ inch deep creek that ran across the base of the dunes. –this was an incredibly fun play ground for all kids including Benjamin. Danielle did not want him to get his clothes sandy (good luck Danielle with that one), so we took his shoes off and allowed him to walk in the creek and feel the wet sand beneath his pudgy little toes. He squealed with delight and before we knew it he was begging to sit down in the muck. And there you have it—that is how the baby got sand all over his little bottom and legs and hands and he reveled in allowing the smooth cold sand seep through his fingers. We spent maybe a half hour at the dunes and then had to spend another half hour washing out the sand from every crevice in our lower extemities. We got some really cool pictures you will enjoy seeing after I get home (its too much work downloading them when I am on vacation, haha)–oh alright, here are a few of the pictures.

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Jess and Lloyd made it into Salida around 2 pm, as we were traveling to meet them. They had a terrific ride! There was a small tail wind that helped them along. One really sweet lady attached herself to them for about 20 miles and she talked their ears off, which took the boredom out of the ride. Jess arrived, hot and tired, and took a nap after her shower. We got a very ornate and cute hotel room, full of character, so she and Lloyd stuck with us until 9:15 when they had to be driven to the gym where they will sleep. Lloyd arrived hot and tired,  took a shower and wanted to wander down town and see the sites (we all wonder where he gets his energy.) We wandered through the gym where he and Jess will be sleeping tonight and had to crawl over people who were already sleeping, looking as if they were half dead. 

Tonight we all went to a seminar downtown where Lloyd again learned some more bike-riding tid-bits. One information given to us was that the 63 mile bike ride that was planned for tomorrow, along highway 50, has been re-routed (HW 50 is closed indefinitely since the Royal Gorge Bridge was damaged during the fire.) So, the 2,000 riders now have the grand opportunity of riding only 94 miles tomorrow, south, over Hardcrabble Pass (9,085 feet)—the problem is the beginning of the ride descends to 6,362 feet and they make a gradual ascent over 40 miles to the 9,085 feet, and then make a fast and furious descent down to 5,180 feet over only 20 miles. Lloyd and Jess looked at that down hill and had already decided that they may do the ride to the 63 mile point and then take a shuttle to the hotel. You have no idea how scarry those down hills are. I gave them a thumbs up for that.

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Ben, after taking the day off today, exclaimed that he is having a hard time conjuring up enthusiasm to ride more, but the fast down-hill tomorrow sounds intriguing so he may have us drive him to a certain point so he can drive the last 20 miles downhill into Canon City. We will see what tomorrow holds.

Just so you know, Salida is beautiful, graced by the roaring and dynamic Arkansas River. We took some beautiful pictures there. This weekend there will be boat building competitions that probably will be fun to watch but we don’t have time to stay.

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DAY 4: June 12, 2013 Pagosa Springs to Alamosa: 91 miles (wolf Creek Pass and 10,850 Feet)

This was suppose to be the hardest day ever. Jessica and Lloyd decided to take the day off  because their bodies absolutely couldn’t imagine doing 91 miles the day after doing 86! Pains in back, knees, ankles, pinkie toes and pinkie fingers, elbows, wrists, everywhere! Danielle and I were thrilled because we could show them all the good sweet parts of Pagosa Springs: the river walk, the cute shops, sweet dining. Ben, however, wanted the challenge of the ride and decided to go for it. He suited up and took off at 6 am.

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After shopping and finding a few souvenirs, we strode along the path next to the river and took pictures of the hotel we want to stay at next time: they have hot springs pools right along the river bed (that is flowing with snow melt off.) What an experience that has got to be: swimming  in the hot pool, right into the river. 🙂

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I met a goal: I wanted to take off my shoes and wade in that beauteous river, and I did it while everyone watched. It felt luscious on my poor feet that have blisters on them the size of the full toes.

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At noon, we hopped in the car to drive to our next destination: Alamosa. It is always so much fun passing the riders, although it made Lloyd (who was driving) very nervous because at times, the riders had no shoulder which forced them to ride very close to traffic.  The first riders we saw were struggling up the 24 mile incline. Some looked very strong; others look as though every stroke was a huge effort. We wondered, why did they start so late? While Ben had left at 6 am, these stragglers probably had waited till 9 am or so to leave. They had a tail wind (a wind that was pushing them from behind), but it didn’t seem to help some of them much. They were making us feel sorry for them. Jess made the comment that she was feeling guilty for not riding today. I told her not to worry, that she would have plenty of other opportunities to make up for lost time and I was glad she was with us.:)

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We past aid stations no 1, then 2, and guess who we saw? There was Ben waving wildly at us. There was no place to park so we didn’t pull over, but were thrilled to know Ben had made it to the summit and now the rest would be cruising downhill (his kind of riding.)

We checked into our hotel, a rather seedy looking place that turned out to be not so bad. It had an indoor pool but the pool was 5 blocks away so we never got up the energy to go to it. It even had a free breakfast at a real restaurant. 🙂 Ben called Danielle around noon and told him he had ridden 60 miles and was worn out, that he was going to take the sag wagon the rest of the way. This meant that he missed the last aid station with the free gigantic baked potato bar and all the toppings you could want. It also meant he missed the last grueling 30 miles of narrow shoulders, high winds and construction. He didn’t mind. The sag wagon was a tour bus with AC and his bike was picked up by a semi truck, and he was good. He arrived at the fairgrounds were we were eating our picnic lunch under the only tree we found in that whole city. I would not recommend Alamosa for a destination vacation! –the city had very few trees and not much character.

We had a relaxing night and prepared for the next day. We heard rumors about the fires happening all over the state, including the suspension bridge that the riders were suppose to take over the royal gorge. Our last day is suppose to be celebrated in Colorado Springs but we have heard there are horrendous fires that are threatening that city as well. In fact, 8 homes have been destroyed and over 2,000 homes have been evacuated. Canon City (our stop prior to Colorado Springs), even evacuated one of their prisons so we do not know yet if we will be re-routed or not. I am about 90% sure we will, but so far, we do not know the details. It is a huge endeavor to re-route and change hotel reservations and change the gym and high school campers will be staying at. There probably are more than 5,000 people who descend on a city with ride the rockies. I am praying fervently for all those affected by the fires.

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DAY #3 Durango to Pagosa Springs (a whopping 88 miles, their toughest day yet)

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They left Durango around 5:30 and arrived into Pagosa Springs at 2 pm—this meant 8 ½ hours of biking!! Ben arrived around 2:30 or 3:00pm, but he made it 🙂 For Danielle and myself, the drive from Durango was only 1 ½ hours or so, but they barely crossed our path. The riders did lots of loop-ti-doops through farm towns, and it was treacherous and invigorating at the same time. There was lots of up hills and down hills. Ben did not seem to have as much trouble with numbness because I guess there was enough of a balance of down hills. At one point he just let his bike rip and found himself passing the cars, who were traveling between 40 and 50 miles per hour. At one point there was a bottle neck where cars were slowing way down in order to try and pass bicyclists, and the bicyclists were all bunched up—Ben told himself, “what the heck?” and he got in a second lane with faster traffic and just passed the whole bunch (around 40 mph). –He said that was a lot of fun. All three came back sore from head to toe and we did what we could to try and rub their aches away.

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Danielle and I , during the day, found our hotel, was able to check in at 10 am (awesome,) then took our bikes and the baby bike trailer out of our UHaul, and perused Pagosa Springs. It is the most adorable little city and would be worth a vacation. The above is a picture of the Hot Springs Motel where we would like to stay next time we come to town. They have a small river-walk, followed by a bath that took us along the Hot Springs River. I hope we get to stick around more tomorrow in order to have a picnic and walk in that beautiful river. We went shopping and purchased a couple light and airy blouses (one for Jess too).

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When our gang came into town, we found the a most delicious hamburger place that serves goat burgers, and macho – man burgers, and other amazing burgers, and they brew their own beer. Everything is made with a beer marinade—the burgers were out of this world.

Our hotel room is small but very cute—one bedroom with a queen bed and one roll out couch that sags in the middle.  It has a kitchen which is wonderful. Jess does not mind, she said she is sleeping with me tonight. There is stuff all over the floor, including  the mattress —much more comfortable! Lloyd is sleeping in the gym, but explained that last night the lights that were suppose to be out at 9:30, were kept on all night—yuck! So tonight he spoke with management and made sure they would be turning the lights off. What a miserable nights’ sleep for Jess and Lloyd.

This evening, most of us went in the hot springs pool at our hotel (we loved it! Especially the baby. Ben stayed in the hotel –didn’t think getting “hotter” sounded like fun, but it was so good on the sore muscles.

Tomorrow is the 92 mile day—both Jess and Lloyd plan on taking the day off (yea for us—that means they can explore Pagosa Springs and Alamosa with us.) Ben is still planning on riding that 92 miles—needs prayer that he can manage it—there is suppose to be lots of downhills and I think someone said it is not suppose to be as bad as today. Jess conked out and did not write her blog about today’s experience yet so you could look up her blog tomorrow and see if she had time. Love to you all, Until next time,   Margie

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DAY 2 Cortez to Durango (a mere 64 mile bike ride)

Danielle and I got to follow the riders part way yesterday and today because our paths crossed often as we were driving). It was quite interesting trying to avoid the streams of bicyclists. Often I would veer into oncoming traffic in order to avoid bicycles. It was fortunate there was not much on-coming traffic but I like to say that to make it sound more dangerous. Also, the center line had bumps on it, so it was quite noisy every time we crossed over the line, so I usually managed to straddle the line which was, at times very nerve-wracking.

After arriving into Durango, Danielle and I tried to check into the hotel early (noon), but were unable to check in till 3 which was frustrating for our bikers because they arrived into town around 1:00 pm, after riding for 7 hours, hot and sweaty and wanted a shower. Lloyd and Jess ended up taking a shower there at the high school and then set up their sleeping bags in the gym—wanting to enjoy the full experience,” they wanted to try sleeping in the gym with all the other riders. It was wall to wall sleeping bags and rules about “lights out at 9:30.” They said they slept OK. I was skeptical, but I guess they did alright.

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In the meantime, Danielle and I took a leisurely breakfast and got on the road around 9 am—their paths crossed ours and we followed many many bikers as we made our way to Durango. We dropped off the trailer at the hotel and went back, trying to find the crew at one of the rest stops. Danielle was able to track their progress. We arrived at rest stop #3 just in time to kiss Jess good bye as she was getting ready to leave. Ben was still there, and we chatted with him for awhile; Lloyd was long gone—today was a specially difficult day for Ben because there was a lot of up-hill climbs and he was having trouble with his feet going numb, so he had to stop often. But he plowed through and arrived only a half hour after Jess and Lloyd. Ben loves the down hill—yesterday it was mostly down hill and he loved it. Lloyd, on the other hand, realized he is a climber and enjoys the up – hills so much more. Jess is somewhere in between. All made it to town by 1 pm or so, and we took the opportunity to just take it easy and rest and listen to their stories.  Read more great stories on Jessica’s blog site: jessicabenes.comImageImageImage

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DAY 1 June 9, 2013 : Telluride to Cortez (75 miles and 10,222 feet, up over Lizard Head Pass)

                                                                                                                                                                                                           Image                     Lloyd was preparing to hit the road at 5:30 AM. Danielle and I even braved the early morning and got up to see them off. The night before, Lloyd looked so depressed and scared. I thought, Hmmmm….I should pray over him and give him a verse to cling to—the only verse I thought of was, “yeh though I walk through the valley of death, I shall fear no evil.”—hmmm Encouraging? I don’t think so. But he continued the verse from memory and it actually was nice: “You are close beside me, your rod and your staff they comfort me.”-He was able to cling to that all the way down the mountain and he had a fairly good ride. Of course, most of the ride was a gradual down hill (not the gripping white knuckles kind, but the kind where you feel in control.)—they were done with the ride by noon (amazing).

Everyone slept in our beautiful two bedroom apartment that first night—Ben and Danielle had a perfect suite to house themselves and the baby. Jess slept in the living room (always the single people get the living room—Nathan lucky you weren’t here or you probably would have been on the couch J; Lloyd and I got the spare bedroom and all were quite comfortable. In the morning I fed everyone hard boiled eggs which I had prepared at home (everyone usually teases me about the eggs I bring—“Mom, every town has eggs!” “But yes,” I retorted, “except  who wants to cook when on vacation??”—they always eat my eggs. Then there were granola bars and homemade bread with cream cheese and fruit—a scrumptious breakfast! Danielle and I rolled ourselves out of bed that early morning hour (5:30, yuck!)—we were outside in the brisk and cold mountain air to take pictures and wish then all a safe journey and pray with them. Then they were off—my sweet family on this long 71 mile bike ride. Whew! I cannot imagine.

The bikers felt this day was a successful ride and they all appeared to be full of enthusiasm after their first long day.

 Lloyd and Jess both wore their jersey with the printing: “My daughter is a reporter (“I am a reporter”} for the Reporter Herald. You can like us on facebook, ReporterHerald.com”—Apparently, many people made comments.

When I (Margie) later drove past all the riders, they often were 3 to 5 deep and at times in the middle of the road. It was treacherous for me to pass them all. But I did it and arrived into town after my family, imagine that. Here is why:Image

              Sunday, While Jess and Lloyd and Ben had gotten up at what time was it? 5:15 or something? –After they all left, Danielle and I went back to bed. We slept in till 8:00, went for a relaxing swim, ate some breakfast and hit the road about 10:15. We arrived to the hotel around 1:00 and Ben and Jess and Lloyd had been waiting around for about a half hour waiting for us to rescue them with a key to the room, and warm showers and food. They can be quite needy sometimes.                  

After meeting up with the family, they all wanted to rest, all except for Lloyd of course, who still is the energizer bunny. Around 2 pm we headed for Mesa Verde. My phone GPS stated it would be an hour drive. No way did Jess and Ben want to join us (they were exhausted!) But we could get in free with my senior pass (haha—does not seem possible).

Lloyd and Danielle and I and the baby of course took the short 20 minute drive to the park (what? My GPS is wrong? Impossible!) But we soon found out there would be another hour drive into the park for the downward descent into the canyon to look at the ruins. Baby Benjamin did amazingly well, especially when we lifted him into the hole with the ladder in order to explore the bowels of the dwellings.ImageImageImageImageImageImage

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Prior to RIDE THE ROCKIES (RTR)–Support and Help

Friday and Saturday, June 7 & 8, 2013  RIDE THE ROCKIES SUPPORT:precious pic of Benjamin with t shirt

For those of you who do not know, RIDE THE ROCKIES is a bike tour that allows a maximum of 2,000 riders to join. This year there were 2,200 (I guess they had soft hearts and allowed a few more in.)–every year they bike around 60 to 90 miles a day, every day for a week, through the mountains. They provide all kinds of support to the bikers along the way: food, first aid, fixes to bikes, gyms or out door areas for sleeping bags and/or tent camping, and lots of camaraderie. They also provide stations all along the route for rest and rejuvenation–will provide water and food, and stations for fixing bikes if needed.People like me will tag along in order to have a nice vacation and provide support to our family members who are riding. This year, Danielle, I and baby Benjamin (11 months old) were support, while her husband, Ben, my husband, Lloyd, and our daughter, Jessica, rode the roads of the mountains. It was an amazing experience and I will try and encapsulate it here. You may also read more about the experiences by going to Jessica’s blog and reading the account from a riders’ perspective: ImageImage

The night prior to starting on our 7 hours trip to Telluride, I spent the day trying to get ready. I had everything under control. I babysat the baby so Danielle could get some work done during which I baked granola bars, and sewed some much needed T-shirts. Jess wanted all of us to advertise the Reporter Herald. Therefore, Lloyd and I wore jerseys that said:”My daughter works for the Reporter Herald”; Danielle wore: “my sister is a reporter for the Reporter Herald” and Jess wore “I am a reporter for the Loveland Reporter Herald.” Even the baby wore “My aunt is a reporter for the Loveland Reporter Herald.”  Someone on the trip joked with Jess that she should be wearing a jersey that said, “My dad is wearing a jersey that says I am a reporter for the Loveland Reporter Herald.” Jess made all the logos but I had to iron them onto t-shirts and sew Lloyd and Jess’ onto their special jersies. We even added Ride the Rockies logos on the front of each t-shirt. They turned out pretty cool. Then when we went to get the UHaul trailer, we realized all 5 bikes  (including Ben’s recumbent which will take up most of the base in the trailer,) plus Benjamin’s bike trailer, plus all our luggage and tents and sleeping bags for Jess and Lloyd and the baby’s pack and play small crib, could not fit into the 4X8 trailer as is. So, the genius that Lloyd is, he had to build a shelf in the trailer –that meant a trip to Home Depot at 7 pm and sawing and screwing until 9 pm. It turned out perfect and everything fit! But Lloyd and I still had to pack.

I THOUGHT I could get to bed at a reasonable time, but that all changed of course. I got to bed at 1 AM and Lloyd had to finish up work stuff—he crawled into bat at 2 AM and we were all up at a crisp 4:15 AM so we could get a good start to our  drive. (we wanted to make it to Telluride with plenty of time for the threesome (Lloyd, Ben and Jessica to check in), and then carouse the vendors.

In spite of a very squirmy baby, causing us to have to stop about every 3 hours, we arrived into Telluride at 3:30 pm or so.  Benjamin actually did quite well. It was delightful hearing him sing along with us when we tried to comfort him. A 7 hour drive is no fun for adults, but even worse for a baby. A couple of times I dozed off and was awakened by a screaming baby because his ears hurt—the altitude change was to blame and of course he does not know how to yawn to help his ears to pop. We gave him lots of juice and milk to help him but of course when screaming, he could not close his mouth long enough to swallow. 🙂

JUNE 8, 2013                                                                                                                                                         The beginning of Ride the Rockies, from a support – persons’ point of view

ARRIVAL INTO TELLURIDE, COLORADO: Have you ever in your life experienced a format where 2,000 riders and all the support staff and families descended upon a city and set up tents in the back yard of a school or set up sleeping bags in one of three gyms? They had two gyms for early risers (strict rules include lights out at 9:30 pm), and the other required lights out at 10:30 pm –that was for late risers. –it was quite a site, but well organized. They had gobs of venders—Jess was even able to get the brakes on her bike oiled and fixed for free and she was able to buy several pairs of socks she realized she needed. Lloyd purchased a rear view mirror for his helmet and Ben tried to purchase a jacket to keep himself warm during the early morning hours but none fit him—even the XXL seemed like it would fit but the arms came to his elbows. So he went away with no new equipment but other than that, my men and Jess were ready for the 70 mile ride they embark on the next day.

A tent city again Ben and Danielle and baby start of RTR

I did not know that Telluride was the scene of a huge ski slope did you? We stayed in  Mountain Village, which is at the heart of the ski slope. Bear Creek Lodge was at the foot of a ski slope and very close to a gondola (which, fortunately, runs all year—we were able to ride the gondola from our hotel to the tent city and Telluride High School)—during ski season, we would have felt like rich people, being able to hop out of our hotel room, right onto a ski lift. According to some very talkative men on the gondola, this is one of the best ski areas in Colorado—who knew? I had never heard of “Telluride” before, but of course I would not want to drive 7 to 9 hours to go skiing either, haha.

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