Concluding my epic ride through Colorado was fantastic riding through some of the most scenic roads and towns in the US. Settling into the saddle and acclimating to the attitude provided an opportunity to enjoy the journey and reminisce about my father. My journey started last year riding over 3,800 miles across America in memory of my father Franklyn Spiezle. This year the “Ride The Rockies” has evolved in honor of everyone who has lost a father, mother or family member to Alzheimer’s.
Wearing my Alzheimer’s jersey proved to be an “ice breaker”, bonding with dozens of riders and event volunteers everyday and at nearly every rest stop. Their stories had a common thread and emotions. Hearing about their experiences of being a caregiver and how their loved ones slipped away brought tears to our eyes. Not by choice but by circumstances, we realized we are forever members of the growing Alzheimer’s Caregiver Community.
This Thursday June 21st, is the “Longest Day” an international day of fundraising for Alzheimer’s. Please consider a donation today.
Today’s ride (day 5 of 6), is in honor of Liz, my wife. After yesterday’s exhausting ride, today’s ride into Winter Park was a “cake walk”. 31 miles with an average speed of 17.8 mph, (thanks to a tailwind and relatively flat ride climbing only 1,700 feet). Tomorrow’s final leg is a 87 mile, 5,228 climb back to Breckenridge. My cadence, stamina and speed for tomorrow will be critical in order to catch my bus and flight back to Seattle.
While I pedal around the world promoting research, care and funding for Alzheimer’s, I realize I am fortunate to have a “partner” who is so supportive. Often leaving the house for an 6 hour ride or in the case of this ride of 10 days, I am often asked if she feels being “abandoned” and how she deals with me being gone so much. I think it is summed up that she realizes cycling is one of my passions and my “cycling for a cause” is important. We both share the view we have responsibility of giving back to community and helping others.
Liz leads our Temple’s “Caring Community”, helping congregants who are in need of a meal or need a ride to a doctor’s appointment. She is the first to drop everything from being a compassionate listener to helping with everyday chores. This is the same support we need to lend to those who are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. The emotional and physical toll can be overwhelming. I encourage you to consider a donation or offer to help a friend who is an Alzheimer’s caregiver. Make a meal, do their laundry or offer to drop in and provide them a chance to leave the home, knowing a trusted friend is with their loved one. Respite care provide caregivers a temporary rest and chance to catch a breath without feeling guilty. Your small efforts can make a big difference. Act today.
Today we left Steamboat Springs riding to Grand Lake Colorado, into the heart of the Rocky Mountain National Park. The ride was a challenge, not only for the length (94 miles), or the total vertical we climbed (over 6,000 feet), but the steep climb up Rabbit Ears Pass reaching 9,426 feet with the road temperature hitting 97 degrees. While on the surface this may sound insurmountable, it was easy and enjoyable as a result of the support of my fellow Trek Cross Country Team riders, including Charlie D (Seattle), Dan K (Milwaukee) and Mike D (Madison).
Working together provides not only efficiency, but an enhanced experience and memories I will cherish for ever. Unfortunately those afflicted by Alzheimer’s will not have the ability to relive such experiences. I pray this disease does not take any more of my family, friends or readers of my blog
Become part of the Alzheimer’s team and make a donation to help find a cure
Highlights of today’s ride
Three weeks ago one of my wife’s lifelong friends (Pam), lost her daughter and granddaughter in a traffic accident after being hit walking on a crosswalk by an 18 year-old drag racing going over 100 mph. This is such a sad story of how a young mother and her 22 month old daughter lives were ended in mere seconds.
Over the years I’ve gotten to know Pam and her husband Bob. They surprised me last year by “chasing me down” as I cycled across America; finally connecting with me in Burton, Ohio, (Amish Country). I remember them telling me how it felt being a grandparent and me, in turn, joking that they are “too young” to be grandparents. This is such a tragic accident. It reminds us we need to hug and hold those we love and cherish the moments have as life is so short. I have dedicated my 50 mile ride around Steamboat to them and encourage you to consider a donation to the families’ Go Fund Me Page or to make a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association in their honor and memory. Today was Jessica and Lillia funeral. May they rest in peace. May their families know our thoughts and prayers are with them.
Day 2 of the Ride the Rockies. A beautiful day riding from Breckenridge into Steamboat Springs. Today’s 80 mile ride brought back memories of visiting my brother in Steamboat and working in a restaurant during winter college break. Fortunately for me my memories are as “crisp as yesterday”, but unfortunately for those fighting Alzheimer’s, this is not possible. Please consider a donation, to help find a cure and treatment. The odds are very high someone in your family will come face-to-face with this terrible disease. Together we can make a difference.
We kicked off the ride today from Breckenridge to Edwards, Colorado. We rode a total of 82 miles, climbing 4,100 feet, reaching 11,318 at Fremont Pass. Hitting the road at 7 AM the temperature was 47, dropping to 34 degrees at Copper Mountain, and finally warming up 86 degrees by 3 PM. Other then having a low level headache as my body tries to acclimate to the high altitude, my legs and lungs did great. My real challenge was the headwinds and gusts. All in all a great safe ride hitting 46 mph and burning nearly 5,000 calories. Tomorrow to Steamboat and beyond…..
Tomorrow June 10th I start the 2018 Ride the Rockies ride through Colorado,. This large event attracts over 2,000 riders who are each riding as a personal quest or riding for a cause. My cause is Alzheimer’s. As a watched my father succumb to this disease over a decade and now my brother-in-law whose memory is rapidly diminishing, I realize how critical funding is needed for a cure, treatment and support of patient’s caregivers.
This event is not a race, but a personal challenge to help find a cure and treatment for Alzheimer’s. The ride will be a challenge riding 400 plus miles and climbing over 26,000 feet, reaching the elevation of 11,300 feet. Staying hydrated and adapting to the altitude and staying safe is a priority.
While I am still nursing elbow discomfort, nerve damage and effects from getting hit by a car last August, I am determined to ride safe and cherish the positive moments and memories of life. Those facing Alzheimer’s do not have this option.
Consider a donation today.
To-date $14,350, has been raised towards the goal of $18,000.