Hopkins 4K for Cancer

The mission of Hopkins 4K for Cancer is to unite communities across the country in the fight against cancer by spreading awareness, raising funds, and fostering hope.


July 11, 2007

by Ian Ross Miller
Once upon a time I coached a U-16 coed soccer team. Rather than hand out trophies at the end of our seasons, I doled out inspirational plaques quoting Calvin Coolidge –

“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”(Yes, I did get made fun of for handing out dorky plaques to high school kids)

Boy-O-Boy did this message prove true today. Today began with a 4:00am wake up. We had packed down our campsite at Capital Reef before sun up and set off the moment there was enough daylight to safely bike. A few hundred yards into the ride we encountered our first climb. This turned out to be the theme for the day – climbing. We slowly scaled the east face of the densely forested Boulder Mountain on the Journey Through Time byway. We finally reached the summit at the intersection of Death Hollow Canyon and Devil’s Backbone Trail (how encouraging).

Upon summiting, the terrain instantly changed to an arid canyon laced land. We biked along a thin strip of land flanked on either side by red and cream colored canyon drop-offs. This stretch of road was very technical with sharp curves and 14% grade descents.

While negotiating a particularly sharp switchback a member of my cycling group, Becca, flatted at 25 m.p.h. I don’t know how, but she managed to miraculously stay on her bike. We recomposed ourselves, fixed the flat, and watched it blow out again the second we hopped on our bikes. At that point we sent Rob on ahead to catch the water stop van a mile up, and have a replacement tire sent back to Becca and I. An hour later it was not the support van coming to our aid, but Ali cycling back to us (confusion). The support van was not at the water stop, but rather taking Jarred to the hospital to treat a hand fracture. As it turned out the same switchback that flatted Becca, was not nearly as nice to Jarred. While executing the same hard left turn, Jarred skidded out and collided with the cement shoulder barricade. OUCH!!

Becca, Ali, and I managed to work our way up the road a mile where a roadside water stop was set up and manned by Devin. Somehow Devin managed to transform secluded desert into a beach party with water, sun bathing, and appropriate French “chillaxin” music. Three hours later the trailing support vehicle caught up to our group, handed off a functioning wheel to Becca, and we were back on the road. When Becca had completed the H4K in 05’ today’s ride was the only ride that she was not able to complete due to torrential downpours. Thus, Becca was bound and determined to cycle every last inch of road on today’s ride. Without hesitation (at least on her part) Becca and I backtracked midway down a hill to reach the spot she had reached in 05’ and continued up hill and on to Escalante.

Feeling tremendously accomplished Ali, Becca, and I cycled into Escalante. I proceeded to abuse the free Dr. Pepper refills at the Esca-Latte, consume a grasshopper mint milkshake, eat a volume equivalent to the size of my head in ribs, hug my good friend Jarred (cast and all), and pass out.

Pictured at http://www.hopkins4k.org/files/switchback.jpg is the infamous switchback where Jarred’s sunglasses still lay.