Colorado 2010 – Day 55

Rustic to Fort Collins: Is it really over?

Tuesday June 29, 2010, 43 miles (69 km) – Total so far: 2,188 miles (3,521 km)

The day starts like every other on the trip so far. It is incomprehensible that this is the last day of the tour. It’s another early morning start to ride into Fort Collins from Rustic. There’s a lot of downhill cruising as I follow the river through the canyon and recall many memories of outdoor fun had up here all through college. I’m in the shade until I get to the final campgrounds and then head out of the canyon mouth. I’m in very familiar territory and head on into town. I get to Avo’s early, where we are all meeting for breakfast, and I just cannot fathom that this is the end of the ride. Even as I lock my bike, it just doesn’t seem real. And so the trip officially ends at 8am on Tues, June 29. I get a hot chocolate and catch up a few things in my journal while I wait on my family to arrive.

My family has always been tremendously supportive of all of my dreams. They’ve shared my tears, celebrated my achievements and been there every step of the way, even when being there meant letting go and letting me follow those dreams to all sorts of crazy places by all sorts of methods of transportation. So it was only appropriate that my dad flew out from Indiana and my brother and his girlfriend, Karen, flew out from Florida to spend 10 days in Colorado for a family reunion at the conclusion of my trip. They helped me celebrate what has been the best experience of my life.

The celebration continues at lunch at The Rio, Fort Collins, CO. Em with her immediate family.
A Rio margarita to celebrate more than 2000 miles and the most fun I’ve ever had in my life.
A hike along the Spring Creek trail. Photo includes my brother’s long-time girlfriend, Karen. Celebrations had to be cut short as my Dad had to fly back to Indiana. His mom had passed away shortly after he’d flown to Denver the previous day. He insisted we all stay and continue to enjoy our time together in Colorado, because ‘life should be focused on the living’. I was fortunate to have been able to visit my Grandma at the nursing home before I began the trip.
Mom and Dad at Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs. My dad rejoined us in Colorado after my Grandma’s funeral in Indiana.

My dad initially had many reservations about this trip and it was with much trepidation that he dropped me off on the edge of town on 6 May and watched me pedal away. I called or texted my parents each night to let them know I was okay. My dad would always ask how ‘the crew’ was doing, and eventually his fears were allayed (somewhere west of the Mississippi) and he said he’d ‘become the biggest fan of [my] trip’. He and my mom kept my family and their work friends updated on my progress, and perhaps it was all their prayers and well-wishes that gave me all that good tire karma. No flats the whole trip. I am blessed to have always known unconditional love and support from so many loved ones.

Ave speed: 18.4 mph Max speed: 31.1 mph

Elevation start: 7160 ft. Elevation end: 4984 ft.

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