Taking Courage

July 20, 2013 Riding into weather.

July 20, 2013
Riding into weather.


If you are older than ten-years-old, you probably wouldn’t be caught dead wearing Lycra – the world’s most unforgiving fabric. Every extra pound you carry shouts, “Hey… Look at me!” Unless you are an elite athlete, your “spare tire” circles your waist, and your “saddle bags” hang from your hips.

Speaking for myself, if I had to choose between wearing Lycra and running naked down Main Street, I would probably choose the naked option.

Primping for the 2011 Children's Hospital prom.

Primping for the 2011 Children’s Hospital prom.

Bravery comes in many forms, but the over-weight, good-hearted, recreational cyclists who don Lycra to raise money for Children’s Hospital are truly brave. Many of them ride for relatives, friends, and neighbors who have lost a child to a major disease. Or, they ride in gratitude to Children’s – saying “Thank you!” to the hospital staff for snatching their child from death’s door.

We all die, but most of us would prefer to die in due time. No one wants a child to die before his time… before our time.

In short, the Courage Classic is a three-day, 157-mile, bicycle-ride up and down the mountain passes through Summit and Lake Counties. Typically, 2,000 riders participate. Last year riders raised over 2.4 million for Children’s Hospital. Most riders are from the Denver Metro area, but given that Children’s serves all of Colorado plus contiguous states, many riders come some distance to participate.

Happy anniversary on Mark's 25th fund-raising ride.

Happy anniversary on Mark’s 25th fund-raising ride.

My husband Mark is one such guy, and this is his (as well as the hospital’s) 25th consecutive year. You have to hand it to him. Consistency is not my strong point, so I truly appreciate his staying power. Not only has he ridden every year for 25, but many of those years when he was working in England, he flew into DIA on Friday to begin his three-day ride in Leadville on Saturday.

A fair number of Courage Classic riders are either kids who are currently in treatment or kids who have beat the disease and now are thriving. The kids in treatment or remission often ride behind another rider on a tandem. As a volunteer road marshal, I see all kinds. The elite riders are out to raise money, but their personal goal is to improve on last year’s finish time.

My favorite riders are the moms and dads who ride occasionally to the grocery store. They are recreational riders at best, and they truly suffer in the heat and sleet and sometimes snow. Beset by cramping and fatigue, their only goal is to make one more mile and not to disappoint those friends who donated in their name.

This 2009  Denver Post photo by Reza Marvashti speaks to me in that typically Prom is a time of transition. How vulnerable our children are at that time.

This 2009 Denver Post photo by Reza Marvashti speaks to me in that typically Prom is a time of transition. Well or sick, how vulnerable our children are.

This their anniversary celebration year, Children’s hopes to raise 2.8 million. Riders are encouraged to increase last year’s donation by 25%. If you have an interest in supporting Children’s Hospital (the court of last resort for parents with children who are too sick to be treated locally) you can go to http://www.couragetours.com. Click on “donate,” and look for “find a rider.” If you would help Mark Dembosky surpass his pledge, that would be a nice anniversary present for him as well as a contribution to the nation’s sixth highest ranking hospital for children.

I haven’t lost a child, but there for the grace of God…

2013 - You are never too young to ride for a brother or sister.

2013 – You are never too young to ride for a brother or sister.



About timeout2

I have lived 100 lives. I write essays, short stories, poetry, grocery lists and notes to myself. If I am ever lost, look for a paper trail, but be careful not to trip over any books that lie scattered here and there. I am a reader. I am a reader in awe of writers. When I don't live in Westcliffe, Colorado, I live in London where I am a long-time member of Word-for-Word - Crouch End.
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4 Responses to Taking Courage

  1. Marty Wolff says:

    Saw the article in the paper today, too. What a great thing for Mark to do, and to have been doing since the beginning. I just donated in his name. I love you blog.

  2. timeout2 says:

    It is a bit tricky, Marty. Really it is about the kids, not Mark. But that said, he is quite pleased with his Founders’ Club status and hopes to raise his total contribution this year. Thank you for your donation. Has anyone told you lately that you are a sweetheart? You are, you know.

  3. Richard Pohanish says:

    Hi Doris,

    Very touching. Made our contribution. We’ve used it before but the donation site is not exactly user friendly. Hopefully it will be credited to Mark.



    • timeout2 says:

      Thank you! Creativity Camp is going well. Sarah bringing Dana and Gus down to Penrose this evening and then on to Westcliffe and maybe some Bluegrass on Saturday. See you soon! xo

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