Day 10 – 1,000 Miles in 10 Days on by Bicycle – Part V

On August 9, 2017, in Crazy Stuff, Mom, by Jennifer McPherson

Day 10 – I Cannot Believe It

GREAT to have Friends Like These Three!

Day 10! I could hardly believe it when I woke up. This was the first day since Day 1 that I jumped up out of bed and rushed to get on the road. The FINAL 100!  How I made it this far I still to this day am completely amazed. I quickly did my routine, make noodles in the microwave, eat a ton of pasta and rice, drink my cup of coffee, fill up my Camel Pack with water and Skratch, load up on sunscreen and OFF I went. This day – I could give it my all and then some. There was no need to hold anything back knowing I did not have to get up and do it all over again tomorrow. So I did – I pedaled harder than I had this entire journey. I was going to get to Greeley as fast as I possibly could pedal.

I have to say this entire adventure would not have been possible without the support of my husband and children. They met me each day as I rode my 100th mile for that day with nothing but smiles and encouragement.  were the most amazing champions of this adventure. Also the encouragement from

David, Jackson, Maisie and my Friend Amanda Roadside Support

friends who came out and met me along the way – not only this day but many other days. I had strangers stop me who were tracking me to give me a boost in spirit. Of course, friends stop by and bring me wine (cough cough, Jordan), and who came and found me when I was lost in Windsor (ish) and help me find my way when a portion of the Cherry Creek Bike Path was closed for construction – Jim.  And the countless people who across Facebook gave me encouragement the whole time. Oh and of course Scott, for posting all the updates on my status and flat out encouraging me.  Just straight up unbelievable.

The Final Moment

What does it feel like to win a million dollars?  Honestly, I don’t know. But I imagine it feels very similar to the moment I rode onto the grass at Island Grove Park in Greeley, CO. I mean I literally just rode 1,000 miles on a bicycle, in 10 days. I cried, not ugly crying of course. Just a few tears of pride. I still get tears in my eyes thinking about it.

It Feels Amazing to Do What I Want!

Was it Hard?

Um – Yes. Of COURSE it was hard, difficult, challenging, etc. You name the word – it was all of them. I’ve had people say: I don’t know how you can sit on that seat all day long. The truth is my butt nor my legs were very sore at all. The worst pain was in my wrists, right foot (it kept falling asleep) and my neck. My right foot would go completely numb and every 4 or 5 miles, I’d have to unclip from my pedals as I rode and shake it out.  My left wrist and hand was so numb within the first 2 miles. In fact my left hand has not even regained strength yet from the ride.

What was the Best Part?

The best part, of course aside from raising money for Honor Flight Northern Colorado was how much I learned about myself during this 10-day journey.  When you are all by yourself turns out you have a lot of time to think. And think… and think…. Amazing things can happen in life if you work hard and task your mind to something and don’t give up. It proved to me that if I set my  mind to something my body will compensate and rise to the occasion.

Finish Line Supporters

 

What is Next?

Who knows! I am impulsive and do a lot of things on a whim. I am not quite sure what is next. I will continue to ride my bike but not quite as far for as many days that is for sure.

This whole ride was to support Honor Flight Northern Colorado. This is a non-profit 100% volunteer organizations that provides free trips for veterans to WA D.C. to see the memorials that were built to honor them. I had the privilege last September to be a guardian on an Honor Flight and it changed me more than you can even know. The men and women that serve our country now and in the past pay the ultimate sacrifice in their lives to ensure our freedom. Some lost their lives, others are altered for the rest of their lives either physically or mentally or both. Honor Flight provides veterans a way to see first hand how much they are loved by our country. This (particularly with Vietnam Veterans) is something that is not always clear.

How Can You Help?

Ever have spare money? $1.00, $5.00, $100., $500. or heck $1,000?  It is easy to donate and is tax deductible.  Click Here. Click on the Donate tab and you will be walked through how to donate.

My Route

My Route – Day 1-5

My Route Day 6-10

Day 3 – Friendship Ride

New Fantastic Friends!

This day was AWESOME, AMAZING, ENCOURAGING, MOTIVATING, HUMBLING and so much more. Truth, in life people come and go

and many never will leave a mark on your spirit.  But this is NOT the case for the incredible friends who joined me on this leg of the journey. A few of my coworkers and I had been talking about my ride for some time and they decided to join me on this day.  Steve is an avid cyclist and Amy is literally the most athletic person I have ever met…ever!  Steve put the word out to his cycling group and I ended up having 5 riders complete the 100 miles and another 3 join for a portion of the ride.  It was the BEST DAY EVER!

I had 200 miles under my belt and was ready to rock and roll on another 100.  We traveled from Strasburg, down through, Elizabeth, around the Aurora Reservoir Trail which I now have on my list of places to visit with the kiddos to play in the water and ride bikes along the trail.

Beautiful Day for a Ride!

What I did not really expect was the number of long hills through Elizabeth and then returning to Strasburg. Let’s be real. I am an extreme novice cyclist at this point in my life.  I used to cycle a lot but I had kids, then more kids and then life just got in the way of doing any real cycling.  The last long distance ride I did was 16 years ago when I was 31.  I did the Seattle to Portland, also known as the STP, two years in a row. The second year I rode in it I called David during the middle of it and told him if I ever say, I want to do the STP again under NO circumstances should he allow me to do it!  But you just cannot tame CRAZY and David of all people knows this.

Day 3 – “Rookies” Ready to Roll!

This day and all these hills made me realize that I needed to change the entire rest of my course.  I lacked the power to effectively perform on the hills and my route through Wyoming would present hills 3-4 times as long and challenging. Compared to the people I rode with on this day my novice ability was shining like a lighthouse beacon! On WAY  more than one hill, Chris (one of my new found cycling friends via Steve) literally rode along side me on the hills and pushed me while riding his bike up the hill. I still don’t know how anyone has that amount of energy or strength but it was very much appreciated. Everyone who rode with me on this day came out in support and encouraged me leaving me feeling incredibly humbled.  People are good. This day was DA-BOMB!!!!  THANK YOU FRIENDS!!

 

Day 4 – Start of the Plains

BOOOOM!!!  300 miles on the books! I am ACTUALLY DOING THIS.  Not that up to this point I did not think I would complete this but not gonna lie, there was PLENTY of time during my long rides to think and every now and then I had doubts creep in.  Today was different. I had just come off a day full of friends and support and could not let their efforts be for naught!

Long Empty Roads & Miles of Fields

Wind was my friend as I headed northeast toward Sterling.  I was cruising like crazy!  Hour after hour when I looked at my speed I was consistently between 17-19 MPH.  At one point I hit a bump and my waterbottle fell off my bike, I circled back and got it then stood on the side of the road taking a few photos of the vast fields that seem to never end and the empty roadway that went on forever.  I vividly remember thinking how blessed I am to be in this moment.  As I stood there alone my phone rang, it was my dad.  He had been tracking me and saw I was stopped and was wondering if I was eating lunch. It put a smile on my face as he was telling me about how he has been tracking me each day and then would pull up Google maps and zoom in on my location to see what I was seeing.  My dad has always been a man of few words but being able to share this experience and have him actively participate brings tears to my eyes just thinking of that moment. He grew up in Nebraska and I told him I felt like I must be seeing his childhood landscape all day long. WIDE open fields full of some sort of crop that I could not identify that went on for miles and miles. And a roadway that was as empty as an unwatched cookie jar in a preschool! It was lovely….. Peaceful – so incredibly beautiful and left you feeling minuscule in this great big world.

This day was also very special as my super amazing friend Jordan found me via my tracker and delivered to me a bottle of wine! We stood on the side of the road for probably 45 minutes chatting. As we stood there a truck slowed and stopped and asked if we were OK and then he said… I am XXXXX (sadly I cannot remember his name) and I’ve been tracking your ride via the website! He works down the road and thought he would come and give me some encouragement. The amount of encouragement I received in person and on Facebook was just amazing and really helped push me to continue on.

Cool! Someone Found Me on My Tracker!

LOVE Jordan! Surprised Me with Wine and Nothing but Support!

Day 5 – Leaving Colorado

My first thought this day – after today I will be half way there! I was incredibly excited and proud of myself.

Welcome to Nebraska – the GOOD LIFE!

Riding 100 miles on a bicycle in a single day is hard, knowing each day after the day you just rode 100 miles that tomorrow you have to get up and do it all over again creates a mental internal war-zone that is straight up hard to explain and likely not many people could even understand it. However, when I make it to 500 – I am 50% complete! Mentally – this feels like you are WINNING!

Today I crossed the border into Nebraska. As I said before, my dad was born and raised in Nebraska until he joined the Navy which took him to Hawaii where he met and married my mom and finally they landed in Kingston, WA.  I was born and raised there and spent the first 30+ years of my life causing all sorts of chaos. My dad’s mother, my grandmother, moved from NE when I was a baby after my grandfather died. She moved to Kingston to be close to my family. She was the only relative I really grew up with other than my parents.  I have a fabulous photo of her at 14 years old that I cherish more than anything else I own. She was an amazing woman. She is buried in Papillion, Nebraska. Hmmmm maybe I ride all the way to Papillion???

Trains Trains Trains!

I have always loved trains.  There is something about the amount of sheer power they have that leaves you feeling a sense of excitement and danger.  Who doesn’t love that! There would be 15 or more a day that paralleled my route. The trains would frequently block the cross winds that came directly from the south to the north. When they passed I would kick it into high gear and enjoy a mini 5-10 minute cross wind vacation. Honestly, while riding alone on the road day after day, you find ANYTHING and I mean ANYTHING you can to be excited about.

As I arrived at my 500th mile – I could hardly believe it! I mean WHO does this?  Especially someone who is a complete novice and is 47 years old! 50% Complete!  500 down, 500 to go!

My FABULOUS FRIENDS made signs of encouragement for me and David secretly placed them along the entire ride! I AM BLESSED!!

WHAT is NOT to love about this sign….

 

MORE to COME!!!  Part III – Day 6, 7 & 8 Coming UP Next!

 

What Have I Done??

I know everybody at one time or another in their lives makes a statement about something epic they are going to do and then think long and hard about it and realize they might be dreaming a little too big. Most of them come back down to earth and park the idea and move on.

The Bike that Completed the Journey, AKA, Black Beauty

MOST of the time I do this too, except this one time, maybe I got carried away. A little caught up in the moment perhaps? Originally I was trying to think of a way to raise money for Honor Flight Northern Colorado (a cause I very strongly believe in). I started thinking since I love riding bikes maybe some kind of bicycle ride? Hmmmm,  250 miles sounded like a good number, but the idea evolved and grew and before I knew it… It became an epic bicycle ride of 1,000 miles in 10 days. Maybe I was trying to compete with my big bad ass friends, Charley Barnes and Mike Nuererburg who were riding their motorcycle 10,000 miles in 10 days. Pretty sure Charley Barnes may have planted the seed for the bicycle ride. He had tried 3 times to complete the Iron Butt Ride to raise money for Honor Flight Northern Colorado, which he raised a TON of money for. Sadly he came close a few times but (until prior to this ride) had not yet completed it. I guess I was feeling competitive, those who know me can attest to my competitive nature, you just cannot let something like this go! After all, how hard can this really be?

June 1, 2017

This day marked the first day of  what would be hands down THE most difficult self imposed challenges I have EVER undertaken.  Riding my bicycle 100 miles a day for 10 straight days. I loaded up my Specialize Diverge Bicycle and was on my way!

Day 1 – Piece of Cake

And she’s off!  I hopped on my bike and started on my way.  From Greeley, CO to a very long way around back to Mead, CO.  Easy Peasy I

Jennifer, David, Jackson & Maisie

said to myself.  As I cruised 18 MPH through Greeley my mind was on fire.  YOU got this!  I guess the adrenaline kicked in, I could hear my inner thoughts touting: BRING IT! After all, I have trained since January for this very moment in time.  I was as ready as I would ever be!

I made it to the Poudre River Trail   where my 10 year old son Jackson and 8 year old daughter Maisie were going to join me for the next 21 miles.  As we wound through the scenic trail I was chatting with them about the river and how it always changes. How water is one of the most powerful in all nature and natural disasters. Almost as soon as we had that conversation, the trail up ahead was closed due to high levels of water in the river which was blocking the path. The original plan was for David, husband/chase truck, to pick up the kids at the other end of the trail and I would continue on. We made it 5 miles in on the trail, the kids were disappointed their ride was cut short but life never goes as planned and the more they experience this at a young age the easier it will be for them to navigate road blocks later in life.

The rest of day one went pretty much as planned.  I ended the day in Longmont, CO at my son’s first baseball game of the season. Could not have asked for a better ending location.

Day 1 and the first 100 miles down.  I was feeling great and still felt a little cocky quite honestly. Like, pfffft…. This is gravy….

Day 2 – Metropolis

100 miles down, 900 to go! As I left Mead, CO I was really excited about this leg of my trip.  I was going to ride on the new US 36 Bikeway. It is the little things in life that get me excited.  This 12 foot wide cycling path goes from Boulder to Denver along US 36. The views of the Flatirons are breathtaking. One of the things I love the most about biking is you really get to SEE IT ALL! I used to think how awesome it was taking road trips in the car and seeing the countryside.  But when you are traveling 75-80 MPH you miss 50% or more of it. The sounds, winds, smells, and small things you cannot see in the car skip by without ever getting noticed. On a bike, you cruise along at around 15 MPH and can take in everything. It is simply amazing.

Top of US 36 Trail out of Boulder, CO

In Denver I changed over to the Cherry Creek Bike Path. This trail goes through the heart of the Denver Metro area along the Clear Creek river.  During this portion of the ride a thunderstorm rolled through and I was faced with the dilemma of stopping under one of the underpasses and wait it out or just keep riding through it.  My preference would have been to wait it out but this portion of the trail is known to have very high population of transients and drug abuse.  As the storm was intensifying I was along a higher ridge that followed major high line power-lines. The lightening was now surrounding me and yet I still felt safer than the underpass with all the sketchy characters that I had just rode through. Needless to say, my speed increased as I pushed as hard as I could to get out of the storm and this area of the path.

One of my favorite parts of this day was riding on East 56th Avenue on the south side of Denver International Airport.  Two reasons, 1 – the jets fly extremely low right over this section of roadway one after another just before landing.  Seeing this perspective was a different kind of thrilling. The sounds of the engines roaring was incredibly violent revving up my internal excitement for powerful violent machines. Being able to practically read the underbelly of

Near Strasburg, CO a Farm with Thunder Clouds

a 747 as it flew over head was SUPER COOL! And 2 – they had just paved this roadway – it was like riding on a smooth pathway of butter (but without being slippery) – ahhhh butter road.

As continued the last 25 miles I managed to dodge two major thunderstorms and was beyond thankful for that. I literally felt like I was in the middle of NO WHERE.  Cars would go by every 10 or 15 minutes at the most. As I approached the Strasburg KOA where David had already set up our camper and was awaiting my arrival I realized I was 4 miles short of my 100 miles. Let me tell you…. you DON’T ride 97 miles on your bike and call it good enough! As tired as I was, I rode straight past the camp ground 2 miles then turned around and came back to complete my 2nd day – 200 miles down, and I was still smiling and still a little cocky…

There is MORE…. Click here for Day 3, 4 & 5

And More… Click here for Day 6, 7, & 8

Even More…. Click here for Day 9

AND THE FINAL DAY 10 Click Here: Day 10