The Courage Classic bike ride raises money for Children’s Hospital in Denver. Spannng three consecutive days, riders cycle a minimum of 157 miles total and climb no less than 3,000 feet every day. The terrain is drop-dead gorgeous but grueling.
Children’s Hospital is the last resort for desperate parents and very sick kids who cannot be treated by their local or regional doctors. Children’s Hospital serves Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and Montana.
Of all the Colorado bike rides, the Courage Classic is one of the most heart-felt. Most bike rides attract only serious athletes. In contrast, the Courage Classic attracts a good number of recreational riders who, prior to training for the Courage Classic, may have only cycled to the post office some half mile down the street.
These recreational riders have first-hand knowledge of Children’s Hospital, and whether or not Children’s was able to save the patient, the families are eternally grateful for the care that their children received there.
In addition to the standard athletes, you see riders who are moms and dads and grandparents as well as children who are in recovery or in treatment. They ride to raise money for Children’s. The kids ride to proclaim, “I am alive!” Undertaking this challenge, they raise their heads and defy the gods. They will survive and thrive. The Team Courage shirt says it all: “Bad day – No Way!”
Not every life is saved at Children’s. Many shirts read “In memory of…” None of us knows what tomorrow will bring – what courage we will have to muster.
The members of Team Courage are kids who are graduates of or in treatment at Children’s. Some of them ride a single bike; others ride on the back of a tandem. Accompanying the team are doctors, nurses, and parents who train with the team.
If you can imagine yourself climbing a mountain pass on a bicycle – stretch your imagination to leap forward. Imagine climbing a mountain while in treatment for cancer.
Annually, Children’s holds a prom for the teens in treatment at the hospital. In this picture you see Chelsea D’angelo and Michael Turnock. Both Chelsea and Michael are students at the University of Northern Colorado. Michael is in treatment for lymphoma. When I look at this picture, I see yearning. I see promise and despair. I see life on a knife’s edge.
If only we could hold that thought.