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Barb's Tour of Hope Updates
Barb, Max, and Jim OwensBarb Owens provided the following updates about Jim's experiences as he cycled across the country as part of the 2004 Tour of Hope team.

Tuesday, October 5, 2004: A long dark night in the middle of nowhere..

Hello Everyone-

I talked to Jim last night before his 11:15 departure from St. Francis, KS to Oberlin, KS. He had been able to rest and was ready for a middle of the night ride. Max and I said prayers and fell asleep about the same time Jim was getting ready to right. While we snuggled under down comforters, Jim was riding 80 miles into a headwind and temps had dropped to 40 degrees. It was a long, hard, cold ride.

Tour of Hope and Support VehiclesHe said the Team rode with great precision and this was the best technical ride they've had so far. The lead car plays music and Jim handed the driver one of the cd's he burned for spinning. The music really helped keep the Team motivated. Especially when ChumbaWumba came on with "I Get Knocked Down."

The night was dark and empty. Jim said the started their ride in the middle of nowhere and ended their ride in the middle of nowhere. He slept on the bus for about 3.5 hours on the road to Lincoln, NE. He was going to get a couple of hours rest at the hotel. The TOH has now covered 1,668 miles. Jim's Team has ridden 6 segments and they have 5 to go. We're at the halfway point.

Tomorrow will be a big day. Safe travels for those of you headed to Mason City, IA.

Tuesday, October 5, 2004: Photo from Last Chance, Colorado

Team B (Elizabeth Sterling, Rob Stuart, Kristen Adelman, Darren Mullen and Jim)Team B (Elizabeth Sterling, Rob Stuart, Kristen Adelman, Darren Mullen and Jim) poses with pictures of a leukemia survivor the staff is carrying. She has always dreamed of riding across America and this is to give her hope that one day she will.


Monday, October 4, 2004: Across the Continental Divide - a Personal Best

Hello Everyone-

I spoke with Jim last night after he finished the 14th segment of the TOH, the Team's 4th leg.

The Team rode from about noon to 4 p.m. in the mountains. For those of you who understand cycling, it was a 8-10 mile climb at 5% (In layman terms that means "a really, really long, steep, ride").

Jim said this was the most difficult physical endeavor he has completed since being diagnosed with a brain tumor. He was determined to ride the entire climb, even when he was given an opportunity to fall back for a brief rest.

Since his brain tumor was diagnosed Jim has wanted to beat the odds and prove that he could still complete physically challenging endurance events. His participation in the TOH and completing Sunday's segment with a personal best are the affirmation he has sought since April 14, 1998. Through the course of treatment in 1998, Jim had doctors that said he would never run another marathon or compete at the elite level.

I think being told "no" and "never" has always been in the back of Jim's mind. His goal has been to prove those doctors wrong. Jim chooses to overcome the odds in the name of/for the sake of those who can't; the patients currently in treatment and the patients who don't make it.

He is a source of inspiration for so many.

The team rested last night until their 2:30 a.m. wakeup call. They were about an hour away from their next starting point in Hugo, CO. They rode this morning from 5:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. from Hugo, CO to Last Chance, CO (ride distance 74 miles, average speed 17 mph).

I spoke with Jim and his legs are tired after yesterday's punishing ride. He is in a motel room in Kansas and will get to sleep until 9 p.m. tonight. The next segment starts this evening at 11:15pm in Kansas. It looks like the terrain will be a bit more forgiving.


Sunday, October 3, 2004: Spectacular Sunset with Altitude

Good Morning All!

I finally heard from Jim this morning at about 4:30 a.m. He had finished his 3rd leg of the ride. The team rode Saturday night from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. pedalling from Tuba City, AZ to Kayenta, AZ (total riding distance 73 miles, average riding speed 19 mph).

They rode into a spectacular sunset (just east of the Grand Canyon in the Painted Desert). The terrain continues to be challenging with long climbs at higher altitudes. After the ride, Jim got a massage, ate, and then slept on the bus as they made their way to Pagosa Springs, CO.

He called from a hotel in Pagosa Springs, the starting point of their 4th leg. Today (Sunday) will be the most challenging ride of the Tour. They will be at 10,000 feet and go up and over Wolf Creek Pass. They also dip down into New Mexico to bypass some big mountains.

Jim sounds great! His teammate Darren is still nursing a sore back unfortunately, the others are all doing well. He called from his hotel room and was going to get some well deserved sleep.

By the time you read this, he will be riding through the mountains! Check out the TOH homepage to see Jim's photo from the sendoff ride. The rather fuzzy picture in the lower left is our hero, Jim!!!

Enjoy the sun today! LiveSTRONG!! Love, Barb

Saturday, October 2, 2004: From Team "Nails" to Team "Screwed"?

Jim called last night at about 9:30 p.m. to say his team was up and getting ready for their second leg of riding. Timing is of the essence for completing the TOH at noon on Sat 10/9. If one team's time is slower than planned the next team has to ride harder to try and make it up. And that's exactly what happened with Jim's team on their first leg. They were riding hard to make up 35 minutes lost by the first team. They were able to gain 20 minutes!

Jim and his Tour of Hope TeamApparently something happened in Las Vegas and the team finished earlier than anticipated. This meant that Jim's Team was called to ride two hours earlier than anticipated! I can only imagine how precious 2 hours of rest would be for the riders. Jim jokingly said they're changing their name from "Nails" to "Screwed".

I'm not sure if everyone knows the riders on Jim's Team: Kristen Adelman, Rob Stuart, Darren Mullen and Elizabeth Sterling. Click the link for National Team on the TOH site and you can read the rider profiles. There is another link on the right hand side of the rider profile where you can send a message or read the rider's journal. Jim has updated his journal entries with a dedication of his ride to Scott Martin, Karen Duncan, and Lori Tilton.

The Team rode from 9:30 p.m. - 3:30 a.m. from Laughlin, NV to Kingman, AZ. Jim called me at 5:30 a.m. from the TOH bus to give me the update. It was a long, difficult ride. 8-10 miles of climbing with a 5% grade. The weather was warm when they started out, but got chilly as the night set in. At one point, it was Jim and Kristen who were the lead riders and they got into a great rhythm.

When I spoke with Jim, he had received a massage and a meal and was ready for sleep. He was anticipating a 4-5 hour bus ride and then a good solid 6 hours of rest at their end destination. The next segment they ride will be at 5:30 p.m. this afternoon continuing across Arizona.

LiveSTRONG! Barb

Friday, October 1, 2004: Jim Finishes His First Leg -- 93 Miles

I talked to Jim this afternoon shortly after he finished his first leg of the TOH. He said the send off was exhilarating! There were throngs of people, including his buddy Ed Villaume. People wanted autographs and photos taken with the riders. He said it was unbelievable.

The team left the City of Hope Cancer Center at midnight with Lance leading the peloton. They rode 10 miles together and then Team A kept going and the other teams peeled off. Jim's team was driven ahead about 80 miles. He got to sleep for about three hours and then it was time to go! They took off at 5 a.m. He said the ride was difficult and his team rode hard. It was difficult adjusting to riding in the off hours. He called from the bus. He was going to get some sleep on the drive to their next departure point.

His next leg is tonight from 11 p.m. - 3:30 a.m. from Laughlin, NV to Kingman, AZ. Unfortunately, he will not be one of the riders on the Las Vegas Strip.