Day 37: A love letter to friends and mountains
Tuesday, July 11, 2023
Fowler, CO -> Colorado Springs, CO
94.89 miles (20 miles less if you took the interstate) 4,464 ft elevation gain
Today was a very special day for me because I got to see my friend, Ashley, at the Air Force academy (USAFA), we got to meet some MIT alums, and finally, climbs are starting to reappear after the flatness of Kansas and eastern Colorado! As someone who has lived in New Mexico and the PNW, seeing real mountains reminds me of my childhood.
The planned route took us into the mountains to the west of Colorado Springs after hitting Pueblo but I was the only one that ended up going that route. Andrew fell pretty badly a bit after we left Pueblo so he had to get picked up and the rest of the bikers decided to take a shortcut via the interstate, resulting in a total mileage of ~75 miles. I left pretty early in the morning since the weather was forecasted to get to 100F+ in the afternoon but even then, by the time I got into the mountains the sun was quite strong. I ran out of water today which is a first since it's a running gag amongst the team that I don't drink water (Audrey is always threatening to take one of my water cages) but that was honestly the least of my worries because the road I was on for the last 30 miles was under construction. This means there was no shoulder at all, but so many trucks kicking up dust which honestly probably affected my lungs a bit.
Despite all of these tribulations on paper, in reality I had a fantastic ride. Time passed by really quickly with all of these events happening and pretty soon I found myself descending into Colorado Springs! Our hosts Evie and Dan are MIT alums, and Evie is actually an Alpha Phi alum as well (Audrey and I were both in APhi at MIT)! Unfortunately, I didn't get to chat with them too much since I was soon headed off to the Air Force Academy to pick up one of my best friends, but I heard stories about Evie and Dan's days at MIT, back when there was a donut stall in lobby 7.
Ashley and I have known each other since our first year at MIT since we both lived in French house in New House. We also poder together sophomore year and had a great semester despite COVID. Even though I moved out of French House we still stayed in touch and got weekly lunches junior and senior year! She's currently at USAFA for an Air Force camp since she's in Air Force ROTC at MIT and apparently it can be kind of tough getting out of the campus without a car. Thankfully the van came in handy and we just hung around, got dinner, and visited my favorite place in the whole world, Bass Pro Shops. In other words, we did nothing except for talk about nothing and listen to Taylor Swift's new released Speak Now album.
Finally, as I drove back to Evie and Dan's with the setting sun, I got a little emotional. I was so grateful to have seen Ashley and that Spokes let me stop in Colorado Springs. But after graduating, something that is always on my mind is thinking of when I'll next see my friends from college. Realistically, the next time I'll see Ashley is next June for my brothers graduation. It's a long time compared to our weekly lunches in college, but it's not as dramatic as I make it out to be where I'll never see them again. This little trip has proven that adulthood is just the beginning, not the end as my mum always says.