Three years ago, I wrote an email to my boss notifying her that my wife and I would be spending a couple days in the hospital for our daughter, who had fallen ill. A couple days turned into a couple months, and a couple months turned into a half-year.
Children’s Hospital takes a hellish experience and not only introduces hope, but revitalizes a comfortable environment and a sense of belonging. For children throughout the world, Children’s Hospital Colorado gives the invaluable gift of a healthy life and a path toward normalcy. For parents across the world, Children’s Hospital provides the means to summit the most difficult challenge of their lives.
Through warm meals, a place to sleep, medical insight and consulting, an organized approach and the highest caliber of medical attention available, Children’s Hospital swept us off our feet and gently placed us back on life’s course.
For these reasons, I rode the Courage Classic this year. Not only is my daughter healthy, happy and inspiring, but thousands of kids like her are too, thanks to Children’s Hospital Colorado and the amazing staff that prioritized us.
The Courage Classic is not a race, but it sure is a challenging ride. More than challenging, it’s powerful, beautiful and impactful. The teams riding range from corporate logos to names of hospital teams. The fundraising efforts support the most important organization in our community: The Children’s Hospital.
The ride started with a climb up Fremont Pass, just south of Copper Mountain, Colorado. What should have been a good warm up was a reminder that we were riding at altitude. We summited an hour later at 11,318 ft.
The descent was the fastest of the weekend: breaching 50 miles an hour, I realized how quickly fingers can go numb. The course traversed gorgeous scenery: snowcapped peaks above crystal lakes and an occasional “moo” from the local nearby inhabitants.
Sunday was a similar experience: I overheard other riders comment on the beauty of the sunrise over gorgeous country sides. Our ride was upstaged by spectacular Blue Ridge Mountains, reflecting on cold lakes. We cherished the cheering and encouragement from street-side supporters and the feeling of victory atop each climb, followed by the celebration of each brisk descent.
Even if you don’t have children, you could tell that the Courage Classic supports a great organization. A few times on the ride, children stepped onto the road to cheer for oncoming riders. At one point I spotted a sign created by a parent which read: “In 200 yards my son, Oscar is on the right side of the road.” Halfway there was another sign: “100 yards to Oscar, who survived two cardiac surgeries, thanks to Children’s Hospital.”
And there was Oscar, a five year-old giving high-fives at the top of Vail Pass. I could tell that each rider inspired Oscar, but I’m not sure he knows how much he inspired each rider.
Next year, I’ll ride again. I’m recruiting a team and hoping you’ll join me. We’ll ride together in a peloton through the Rocky Mountains, which I’d like to call Piper’s Peloton, in my daughter’s honor.