On July 3rd, I decided that Independence Day would be a great day to attempt reaching the summit of Vail Pass. As we started out on the 4th, I was a bit nervous, but I told myself that regardless of what happened, I was on my bike and that was a great deal better than being in bed. When I got within about 3 miles of the summit, the hardest thing wasn’t the cycling; it was controlling my emotions (joy and gratitude). I didn’t think that I could cry and cycle at the same time! It was an amazing ride. All these years, I’ve remembered those words from one of the doctors, “You have to accept that you probably can’t be an athlete again.” When he spoke them, he meant them in kindness. But, I am an athlete again.
When I reached the summit, Rick was there taking pictures. It was so awesome to share it with him. He’s been there every step of the way. He was talking to another gentleman who was in his 70s. He had obviously been biking for many years and he was one of the cyclists who blew by me! Rick had told him the brief version of our story.
He offered his congratulations and we all talked for a few minutes. As he prepared to ride back down, he said to me, “I hope this is just the first of many trips to the summit for you.” So do I. He offered a great vision for both Rick and me of living a life of health and fitness. My sincere hope is that we will be out there biking and doing the things we love for our entire lives.