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.
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.
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 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…