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Jim's Journal   (Return to journal entry listing)
Posting Date: Sunday, October 3, 2004
Subject: TOH: The Best Climb

I have been waiting for the ride from Pagosa Springs, CO to Antonito, CO for six years. At times, I thought it would never come, but I always had hope.

We had a stage with daylight from start to finish. What a ride it was. It began in Pagosa Springs, CO above 7,000 ft. We knew this was an important and challenging stage. It was essential we meet our target time and we had the most difficult day of climbing of the whole tour.

Early on in the day, we had a delay I had never experienced-cattle in the road. We took advantage of the delay to hydrate, feed, and shed a layer. Soon, we were pedaling again and the first 50 miles flew by as we were focused on the major climb at the end. Then the real work began.

Between miles 50 and 60, we faced a climb from 7,000 ft to 10,300 ft. I had never done anything like this before and living at 900 ft gave me little preparation for this. But, from the moment I heard we were given this stage, it dominated my thoughts. I was determined to make it the whole way up without stopping.

Our coach, Jason, reminded us it was important that we stay on schedule and we stay on task. About halfway up, Jason suggested we rotate out two at a time to hydrate and feed to make sure we made it up. My heart rate was still below the threshold level so I stayed on. When my turn came up again, I asked to stay in. I kept focused and pedaling. I made the whole climb-something I never thought I would do again after my cancer diagnosis. Not only had I come back to my former self, it was the best climb I had ever done in my life.

My teammates and coach all worked incredibly hard to keep us on schedule. We all enjoyed a 40 mph steep decent to the finish. This day was what it is all about. Keep your dreams and go for them! They can come true.