Day #1: Saturday

Courage Classic Map

Fremont pass

The day started with a climb up Freemont pass. The temperature was about 45 degrees when we started at 6:30AM. Nothing like a little mountain climbing as a warm up.

Freemont Pass

Made it to the top! First big climb of the ride done.

Rest area

Rest area at the top of Freemont Pass. Sea of bicycles.

freemont pass

Freemont Pass aid station. Gorgeous view.

tennessee pass

Mountain Pass #2, Tennessee Pass.

aid station foam rollers

All the aid stations have food, port a potties, sunscreen, medications, water, and Gatorade. This one had foam rollers. Smart! Thank you to the awesome volunteers, medics, and bike mechanics at every station.


Looking up at the next pass: Battle Mountain. No pictures at the top. It was straight down over the top, steep and bumpy.

battle mountain

View looking down from the base of Battle Mountain.


Mike and Zack came and met me for lunch which was an awesome treat for me. Next up, Vail Pass! I needed their hugs for motivation.

Vail Pass

Vail Pass Aid Station. Getting re-started was the hardest part here. I saw a couple cyclist fall trying to re-start. We had already climbed quite a way to get to “the bottom” of Vail Pass.

Vail Pass: No photos. I was in full survival mode. I noticed I was climbing at 3 mph for parts of Vail Pass incline. This was my first time attempting it. (Two years ago the route for the Courage Classic was changed due to a couple large sink holes so we didn’t ride Vail Pass). It lives up to its reputation. Part of the deal is the fact that it’s the 4th mountain pass of the day and 60 miles into the ride. It would be tough even with fresh legs though. It’s also on a narrow bike path and tricky to navigate. I rode alongside a nice guy (who happens to be a pediatrician) and we chatted for awhile to pass the time. He had ridden Vail Pass many times and talked me through the route. There are 2 very short but steep inclines. I’m thankful he told me about those because I seriously think I would have fallen off my bike if he hadn’t prepared me. Many people got off and walked at those parts to save their legs for later.

Someone had chalked “Shut Up Legs!” on the path part way up the ride. That gave me a mantra to chant in between prayers asking God to please help me get up this thing. I got encouraging texts from my friends Jan and Lena about how strong I am, and Mike sent me this picture:

swiss rolls for Ironman

Ironman Triathlon has a new corporate sponsor: Little Debbie. I think that’s so totally ridiculous. I do, however, love Swiss Rolls. Haha! So Mike bought me a box and sent me this picture.

I DID make it to the top! The last 10 miles are all downhill into Copper, despite being somewhat scary-steep. Crossing the finish line was a great feeling.

Zack cotton candy

Zack helped me celebrate by eating cotton candy at the after party.

the gene team

The Gene Team 2014

On Saturday night The Gene Team has a get-together to celebrate our fund raising, our team, and our kids. I wish I could bring all of you with me to see the benefits of the money raised. Funds raised for the Gene Team goes to research for these rare genetic disorders and so much more. Money is used in the clinic to pay for formula for families who can’t afford it, low protein food, everyday expenses like clothing and school supplies for families affected by disorders, for families to attend conferences, and for funeral expenses. Many of these disorders are not pretty and the effects they have on kids and families are devastating. Please know your dollars are making a difference in a meaningful way. Whatever you can give, $10, 25, $100, it does make a difference when we all pitch in together. Many of the corporate sponsors for the Gene Team (such as from the metabolic food companies) were at the dinner and many of them have family members who ride for the event, too.

Those of you who donated for Zack and for me, thank you. I carried you with me every mile.

Click here to learn more about Zack’s metabolic condition.

Click here to donate to my ride. (It’s not too late if you would still like to make a donation.)

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Read more in this series:

Series Navigation<< Courage Classic, Here I Come.Courage Classic 2014, Day #2: Swan Mountain, Candy & Rainbows >>