Sunday, June 5, 2011

Hundred Miles of Nowhere

Anne has been reading a lot of blogs lately--hey she reads fast..... One she reads pretty regularly is She doesn't even really ride a bike except the townie, she likes to run. I guess she finds it funny. Anyway the Fat Cyclist started this tour and she suggested that I do it. You get the usual swag like a T shirt, energy bars and even a number plate for the bike. The difference here was you ride wherever you want in some small course over and over for 100 miles. It was to raise money for Livestrong, which no matter how you feel about Lance, seems like a great organization for people who get cancer. The entry fees of the 500 people who signed up all got sent in by Fatty.

I was thinking if I'm going to go ride around in circles all day and this ride is about getting something done about cancer then I should do something with more meaning than just riding around all day. Gunnison and Crested Butte 28 miles up the road are both small towns and tight-knit communities (the Gunnison Valley as a whole). We are somewhat isolated as the next town of even medium size is 60 miles down a two lane highway and over some nice hills. I decided that I would put the word out that I was looking for people with some connection to cancer and make that my loop. I sent out the following email to my work and also put it in the local paper, Gunnison Country Times (Thanks Chris!) the week before the June 4th tour date.
 "Join me, Jarral Ryter, in the “100 miles of Nowhere” bike tour June 4th at 7am. This is a fund raiser for cancer research via and the tour idea is to ride a ridiculous small course for 100 miles. I’m not asking for money. I am looking for anyone touched by cancer in and around Gunnison. I will then ride my bicycle to everyone’s house that responds in loops from my house until I reach 100 miles. You can ride with me, get a high five as I ride past, get a hug (I’ll be sweaty and most likely smelly) or whatever you like. Call me 970--------- or email...."

I received quite a few responses even though I didn't really spread the word too much. And this is how it all went down. My nose was stuffy Saturday morning as I must have caught a cold from my family last week when they came through town. It was above freezing as I left Gunnison at 8am sharp for Crested Butte. 
Ready to hit the road!

Here is the beginning of my ride...
About 6.92 miles out of town I saw a funny bell on the shoulder and stopped to pick it up. It was a bar bell, er bear ball, errr I MEAN BEAR BELL. So I hooked it up to my seat post. 
I don't know how lucky this was because I wasn't attacked by a bear the ENTIRE DAY!! Actually the talk of bear balls would come back later in the day.... And the ride continued on

Here is the road closer to CB.

My first stop was at Karin's, a coworker, who was moving out of her house that day. The woman they had been renting the house from, Mary Gordon, had died of cancer that past winter. Karin had a real connection with her and wanted to honor her.
Mary left three sons and was 58years old. Karin showed me the entire house, a CB classic, which was still furnished with Mary's art and furniture. I was beginning to think it may take a while to ride my hundred miles if all the stops went like this--not that I minded. Karin gave me food and water and continued packing. I headed back towards Gunnison and of course the head wind picked up..... My next stop was at Robin and Ted's house. Unfortunately they weren't home. I wasn't going to make a loop past their house again as they live at the top of a large hill on a gravel road.
Robin and Ted weren't home...
So I went to my next stop Gary. By the way there is a great shot of Gary chugging a beer in a video of the Growler Mountain bike race here.
I hung out for a few and Gary's son showed my the robin's nest on their stairs. It seems that every person in Gunnison has rash of robin nests on their houses.... Now I had put in 57 some miles and just had about 40 miles of loops around the Gunnison. I figured each lap would be about 3-4 miles.... Could be a long day. I went back to the house and had some lunch and water. Julian and Lila had made a cool sign for me.
Julian gives a support hug.
I started riding laps around town. My first stop was at Ricky G's house. His son, Garrison whose house I was going to stop at later, had two bouts with leukemia as a child. Hadn't seen Rick in a while...
Then around some corners to Kim's house. Kim basically runs the show at Western State College where we work. I didn't know  that she had had cancer several years ago but now is doing well.
 My next stop was at Christina's. She had planted a tree for a best friend that had died of breast cancer. I sure hope that little tree makes it. She said some deer got some of it....
And then just before turning the corner back to our house I stopped at Janet's house who just had a party this past year for the final treatment for breast cancer.
The next lap the whole family came along. We stopped at Lynn's as she said she wanted to ride a few laps to honor someone. Here she is. We did a lap and then I picked her up.
On this lap we found Garrison making beer in the alley. The funny thing that Anne told me later was that Garrison's neighbor had come out and was delivering a bear bell to another neighbor.... What are the odds?
Now I just had 30 miles or so left. Had to make up some time! I found Lynn and we rode a lap and then went to Martha's house. Her husband Ted had taught physics at WSC for... well actually no one really knows how long he had taught as no one was still around when he started. Let's just say it was 50yrs because it was 50yrs. He had died of brain cancer last year. She was very happy to have us stop by and had us come in and have some water and talked for a while.
Martha and Lynn

We then found Pat at home. Pat's father had died of cancer, he also had several family members who had survived. Pat is a duck biologist so if you're in Gunnison look him up if you find a duck.

Lynn rode with me for a while and I ran saw another cancer survivor at her house. Susan and her husband Rod both are. She didn't want her picture taken so I just got her to put up her hand. 
 And after a few more laps Lynn stopped at the house to play with the kids. She had told me the person she was honoring was a close friend from Telluride who had just died of Melanoma. Her husband, Brian, and super fast biker was in Telluride at the graduation of the friends daughter. And finally I was on the last lap. I ran into Hank and two of his kids. I asked the one with the hose for a spray. I got a nice cool down. But then he wouldn't stop! So after the fourth spray Hank gave me a beer for the ride across town.
Look out! Their mom is cancer survivor also....
And I made it home at 100.2 miles! Check out the route HERE.
Lila by the sign. The other side said, "GO DAD!!"

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