cycling Posts

Break The Cycle III :: A Final Reflection

Just two weeks ago, Denver Rescue Mission’s Rescue Riders rode into Denver, completing our 750 mile tour of Colorado. Our tour took us through some of Colorado’s most scenic areas, stopping in some of her most prized towns, crisscrossing rivers and streams, and up and over one TOO many of her high passes. We experienced so much of the beauty our great state has to offer, met many of her fine residents, and reveled in her natural wonders.

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The goal for Break the Cycle III: A Colorado Tour was to raise $100,000 to provide 52,083 meals for our homeless and needy neighbors. Through the generosity of our many sponsors and donors, we blew that goal out of the water, raising over $120,000 – enough to provide 62,500 meals!!! Like everything we do at Denver Rescue Mission, we could never do it without our generous community!

For those of you who were not able to follow our tour through Colorado, here’s a brief recap of our days in the saddle (based on my personal GPS data):

  • Day 0, 25 Miles / 781 ft. Gained:  Top of Wolf Creek pass down to Pagosa Springs
  • Day 1, 75 Miles / 2,881 ft. Gained: Pagosa Springs to Durango
  • Day 2, 109 Miles / 7,776 ft. Gained: Durango to Telluride
  • Day 3, 105 Miles / 7,644 ft. Gained: Ridgeway to Crawford
  • Day 4, 83 Miles / 4,686 ft. Gained: Hotchkiss to Glenwood Springs
  • Day 5, 104 Miles / 8,704 ft. Gained: Glenwood Springs to Steamboat Springs
  • Day 6, Day off with family and friends in Steamboat Springs
  • Day 7, 78 Miles / 4,810 ft. Gained: Steamboat Springs to State Forest State Park
  • Day 8, 93 Miles / 4,108 ft. Gained: State Forest State Park to Fort Collins
  • Day 9, 75 Miles / 2,255 ft. Gained: Fort Collins to Denver

Countless people have asked me about this trip over the past two weeks; questions about the route we took, to what hurt(s) the most. However, the most asked question has simply been what was the hardest part? I could talk about the early mornings, or long climbs, the hot days, or a certain person’s bad jokes…But when I really stopped to think about it, the hardest part was getting beyond the voice in my own head telling me that I wasn’t going to make it. There were several days that I would have easily succumb to this little voice had I not had someone next to me encouraging me to keep going. On some days, I was this person for someone else on our team. The image below is a great lesson for what we all need in life when the going gets tough — when the days are long, hard and hot. When I had nothing left to give, someone else had a little extra they could offer me. Regardless of our circumstances in life — homeless or housed, hungry or fed, weak or strong — may we each long for these types of friends in our lives and strive to be this type of friend to others.

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Brian Newman, our 145lb. Harvest Farm Agriculture Supervisor, pushing my 245lbs. up the Lincoln Street Climb, just South of Toponas, CO

This has been an adventure of a lifetime and I will forever treasure the close friendships that we formed. Thank you to everyone who supported us through this crazy ride!

Until next time, keep it wheel side down…

Adventures of a Rescue Rider :: Day 8

 


Jeff Dines

Today, not only did we ride through the Roosevelt National Forest, we hit State Forest State Park, Poudre Canyon, and Horsetooth Reservoir. Whew! On day 8 of Break The Cycle, we biked 82 miles with an elevation gain of 4,042 feet.

What a powerful week it’s been! This has been a very good example of accomplishing goals, not giving up, and believing. When you serve, invite, thank, and trust in God all things are possible. Giving back to the community is an honor and something I am teaching my kids to do. One of the most exciting and fulfilling things on this trip has been being able to connect with God through out each day and taking on the challenges that mother nature gives us. And today was no different.

This ride is not only powerful for myself , but it brings my family closer with belief, trust and commitment. Thank you to all and God bless!

 

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Adventures of a Rescue Rider :: Day 7

Six years ago, President & CEO of Denver Rescue Mission, Brad Meuli, and I were casually talking about a solo cross country bike trip that I made in 1999. Out of that conversation, Break the Cycle was born. It took a few years, several scouting trips, and many meetings over burritos to get the event off the ground, but I’m proud to have been a part of all three rides in some capacity: support driver, “cow bell ringer,” first aid provider, and rider.

 

It’s fitting that my blog post this year comes near the end of this year’s ride, as my time at Denver Rescue Mission is also nearing its end. In the middle of August, the Petrie family will be relocating to Southern California for new opportunities and closer family ties.

 

While this time is exciting, it doesn’t come without some sadness. Working the past nine years with the clients and staff at the Mission has been one of my greatest joys in life. Seeing and sharing in the success of others has been incredibly rewarding, none of which would have been possible without your remarkable support. Thank you.

Adventures of a Rescue Rider :: Day 6

As we neared the end of Day 5, having just finished our big climb of the day, and powering through the Yampa Valley at an ungodly pace – we were all beat. Beat because we had ridden 475 miles over 5 days; beat because the heat was only marginally more relentless than the wind; beat because while we had trained for this, nothing could quite prepare us for actually doing it.

Being physically beat impacted each of us emotionally too. We spoke more negatively about the day; about wanting to be done; and wanting to eat; to sleep beyond 4am…We were all “done.”

My family met our motley group at mile 85 with cookies, cold water, signs and cowbells fit for the Tour de France, and some welcome encouragement. Something odd happened after that stop. After seeing my boys, wife and parents there on the side of the road, I was energized. I was more ready to spend the following day off of my bike and with them. I felt a boost in both my spirit and in my legs.

 

There’s something psychological within each of us to power through something when we feel we can’t make it; when we can see the light at the end of the tunnel; when we know something better awaits us, just over that next hill.

For many of our guests at the Lawrence Street Community Center, they don’t have anyone cheering them on or reminding them of what lies around the next corner. There’s no welcoming committee waiting with cookies and cold water. They don’t know where the end to their present circumstances lies or where to find it.

Today’s rest day has been awesome. Many of us enjoyed time with family or at least time doing something other than riding our bikes. The Plotinus of today’s rest allowed me to press beyond my limits as yesterday came to an end. What do you focus on when time gets tough? Are you listening to those cheering you on and focused on what still lies ahead? Place yourself in the shoes of our guest at the Lawrence Street Community Center. Who is running alongside them during the home stretch?

While we ride in Break The Cycle to raise money to help end hunger, I ask you to consider ways you might be able to encourage those on their own journey this summer. More than 900 men, women and children visit the Lawrence Street Community Center every day. Our staff works hard to offer them daily hope and encouragement but we could always use more “cheerleaders.” Consider learning more about our volunteer opportunities here and encourage folks whose real lives make my pain on this bike yesterday seem so trivial.

Adventures of a Rescue Rider :: Day 5

So, if you have been following our blog posts this week, you are starting to get a pretty good idea of what our days look like: get up way too early, ride bicycles all day, eat, go to bed…

Today was much the same but also very special.

We started the morning cruising along the Colorado River heading out of Glenwood Springs on one of the most amazing bike paths in the world. While we pedaled, the sun came up and lit the canyon in colors that must be experienced, not explained. It was truly magnificent! While we can’t see God, we see the evidence of His existence through His creation.

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As we covered our only stretch of gravel road this week, I noticed a pair of bald eagles watching us. Not only are they magnificent creatures, they are also very symbolic. In Scripture, the eagle is mentioned some twenty-six times as a means of illustration. Among other things, the eagle represents hope and strength. This is demonstrated in Isaiah, chapter 40, verse 31:

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

IMG_2948When I feel I cannot pedal another stroke, I think of this verse.  It provides me with the stamina and resilience necessary to endure and overcome the difficulties of the long climbs, hot sun and saddle sores.

The road once again turned up. We climbed all morning and into the afternoon before descending into the beautiful Yampa Valley to our finish in Steamboat Springs.  But personally, the best part of this day was getting off my bike and being reunited with my wife and kids after 6 days away from home.  Seeing their eager faces as we pulled in to Steamboat lifted my tired spirit.

Also, we had the pleasure of being treated to dinner by the awesome crew at BOA. It was great to meet just a few of the people who made this trip and our work at Denver Rescue Mission possible. Having such generous partners is invaluable to the Rescue Riders team, the Mission as a whole, and the people we serve. All in all, it was a great day.