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.


June 29, 2007

by Sarah Eichstedt
After such a wonderfully relaxing day in Boulder, we woke up this morning with the Rockies on our minds. Every sentence uttered carried the sweet anticipation of our first real day of serious climbing. We had finally reached the destination that for a lot of us was a turning point in this trip. No more cornfields and rolling hills. No more talking about “when we get to the Rockies,” or asking “when are we gonna see the mountains?” No, today the mountains were quite obviously looming in front of us as we gathered in front of the First Baptist Church to dedicate our most challenging ride yet to people who have inspired us along the way. Everyone had someone special to ride for today.

Eight miles later we were turning onto Lefthand Canyon Drive, which would lead us all the way to the top. Or, if you were in my group, you decided to miss the turn and add 3 miles to the day because you didn’t think that today was going to be challenging enough. The 16-mile climb turned out to be incredibly beautiful. If you can imagine, picture a windy road immersed in deeply green trees with a slowly tricking stream on one side and nothing else in sight except for the occasional professional biker zipping by on the downhill. There weren’t even many cars today, just beauty to take in.

Although we started out in groups at the beginning of the day, our groups quickly spread out so that each biker could take the mountain at his or her own speed. As we continued uphill we reached a point where the road opened up to reveal our first view of a snowcapped peak…and we all got a second wind. Two miles before the peak and just before reaching the town of Ward we started to see the first signs of lunch. One of the drivers had written encouraging words in chalk on the road. Lunch must be close. Keep pushing.

Must…not…stop. The top must be around the next turn. False. Just another chalk sign. Ok, I can do this. As I round the last steep turn I can hear people cheering behind the trees. Adrenaline kicks in and I speed up. Finally, the top! Almost 10,000 feet straight up.
After a short descent we spent most of the rest of the day climbing up and coasting down smaller versions of this morning’s mountain. My lungs started to burn. Where was that last long descent? Thunderstorms rolled in and most of the groups took cover on the porch of an art gallery and store. We called this our final water stop. As the sky cleared we hopped back on our bikes for the last 15 miles of the day. Thankfully with 6 miles left we climbed our last big hill and were greeted with 5 miles of amazing downhill into Estes Park. With the wind in our faces we enjoyed our much-earned descent into the beautiful valley.

Tonight we were fortunate enough to stay at Jack Landon’s beautiful home. Jack is Drew’s old neighbor and he graciously gave up his home to the girls while offering the boys the outside deck to sleep on. The Estes Park YMCA provided us with a wonderful buffet dinner and a breathtaking mountain view. And so ends our first day in the Rockies.