From when I last wrote, on Day 12 of the 4K, through today, we have traveled from Cincinnati, OH, to American Falls, ID. We crossed through Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky; through Chicago and western Illinois; through rolling hills in Iowa and seas of corn in Nebraska; and through high desert in eastern Colorado to Denver. In Des Moines, Iowa, six of us stayed with a fantastic member of the community, Shelly Carman. Across Nebraska, we rode along some of the original 4K route -- Fairbury, Franklin, and the little delight of Arapahoe. We experienced brutal heat and headwinds and we enjoyed small-town hospitality. Through eastern and central Colorado, we steadily climbed from the midwestern plain to over a mile above sea level. And in Denver, on the night of July 3rd, we enjoyed fireworks and music in a public park.
On July 4th, we rode north from Denver to Boulder, Colorado. The ride from Denver to Boulder was different from any previous day on the ride -- we were able to ride with a number of 4K alumni and with 4K Team San Francisco! Emma (Seattle 2011), Chris (Portland 2011), Dana (4K 2010), and Terence (4K 2010) joined us on the night of the 3rd in Denver and Team SF met us on the morning of the 4th. It was wonderful to see alumni so dedicated to 4K and it was neat to meet Team SF, folks who've gone through to the same broad experiences as us. It was also neat to see two friends on Team SF again, Peter and Marilyn, most-of-a-country away from Baltimore and send-off.
Into Boulder, I rode with Brad and Andrea, along with three folks from Team SF. Along the route, we climbed and descended some gentle hills while the majestic Rockies loomed through haze.
On July 5th, we had a much-needed rest day in Boulder; Boulder was a hip, active town, a good place for a rest day.
What do we do on a rest day? Most of the time, we sleep in, catch up on blogging and calls, do laundry, and generally take it easy.
On this particular rest day, however, Brad, Yoshi, and I had other plans. We woke up at a "luxurious" 6 AM to bike up Flagstaff Mountain, one of the Flatirons. The mountain was an incredible challenge, with stretches hitting over a 17% grade in the thin mile-high atmosphere. Brad, Yoshi, and I each climbed at our own pace and met at a few rest points along the way; the highest point was 7,800 ft above sea level, roughly 2,000 ft above Boulder. I was and am so glad that I challenged myself at Flagstaff and that Brad and Yoshi were able to lead me up the mountain. It still floors me what physical trials we are able to overcome with the support of our teammates.