30 April 2024

Rock Off

Those who know me know a big part of my life the last few decades was training for huge bicycle tours. Most notably was Ride the Rockies. I've been inwardly hoping (sort of against hope) we might one day be able to participate again. I did 8 rides (although one year I pedalled stationary bikes while Lizard rode because I'd been ordered by my doctor NOT to ride due to neck issues). I have longed for my 9th and 10th. It's really hard for me to end a streak on an 8!

Ride the Rockies was run by The Denver Post for more than three decades. A certain professional cyclist who will forever more remain unnamed in my writing did a number on cycling fans worldwide, and I think Ride the Rockies took a bit of a related hit in the years that followed. Some bicycle manufacturers have practically priced themselves out of existence, and survivors are taking all kinds of steps to endure after struggling through the pandemic. The pandemic killed more than just humans; so many people lost their livelihood, and many are still struggling. The current economy doesn't help. I think cyclists in general are becoming a little more wary of riding on the road because so many drivers are distracted these days. Electric bikes are THE thing. Gravel bikes are gaining real traction in popularity. And, let's face it. Tour cyclists are an aging population not being replenished by younger riders.

Last year, another of our favorite rides, Elephant Rock, retired the jersey. Although it's not an official throwing in of the towel yet, last week the new owners of Ride the Rockies, which was sold in 2021, announced low registration has forced cancellation of this year's ride.

Weeklong cycling tours became our best memories after the unforgiving Parkinson's diagnosis. Long, challenging days in the saddle were such a huge part of our life. It literally hurts to watch these rides, one by one, fade away. We never did give up hope of being able to ride at least part of one day of one ride in the future, if we could.

Thank you, Ride the Rockies, for some of the best rides of my life, for challenging me, for helping me see I can do hard things, for giving me reason to get up and pedal to the medal, even if it was windy, raining or, ugh, snowing. (A training ride or cycling tour are the ONLY times I don't love snow.) I love what Ride the Rockies made my life. I will forever be grateful for the seven week-long rides I got to spend with the love of my life. Best vacations ever, except for Tour de Lavender!

1 comment :

  1. You and Brett have some really amazing memories together. And a wonderful photographic record!

    P.S. I still wear that jersey in your top photo, and think of you and Colorado every time.


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