• Maxwell Yun

Day 49 and Day 50: Alter-Egos from Another Coast

Maxwell here sharing our rest day in Colorado Springs, as well as a very scenic ride to Denver!

Tuesday, July 19 -- Rest Day!

Center: our host Ken

Today started off unlike our other rest days. Normally we let our legs rest and take a break from cycling. Instead, Franklin, Sophia, and I went for an early-morning, 23-mile ride with our host Ken! We biked over to the Garden of the Gods, a lovely cluster of rock formations south of Colorado Springs. Biking through the rock garden was fun, but hilly. We posed with the Balancing Rock and got some cool photos!

One surprising thing about Colorado Springs was the number of active people out and about on a Tuesday morning. Biking through downtown Colorado Springs, strings of bikers zipped past us, clusters of people played racquetball in the parks, and runner after runner passed us along our bike path. No longer were we the anomaly on the roads; it was refreshing to see more active people out and about.

The others toured Garden of the Gods by car, while the bikers took a long post-ride nap. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.....

We then left lovely Colorado Springs, driving to remote Colorado to meet up our doppelgangers, the Stanford Spokes! Our group is biking westward and their group eastward; this is the one point our entire trip where we'd cross paths.

Pulling into the one and only Subway in Ellicott, CO, we saw a mirror image of ourselves. The college-age bikers, the bikes, the support van... looked so familiar. After some conversation, we realized that we each had our counterpart on the Stanford team. Simone created a Buzzfeed quiz to determine which MIT Spoke you are, and their team took it! They have 3 Maxwells, 2 Sophias, and 2 Franklins! Link:

Our teams both had musicians; both teams even had a Sophia in it! Our favorite snacks... were also in their food tote. We've both biked long distances, seen beautiful sights, read each other's blogs, and now we finally got to meet face-to-face. By the way, check out Stanford Spokes' blog post for the same day:

Three hours passed by quickly, with lots of conversation and laughter. Our departure was marked by a dramatic burst of rain, thunder, and lightning, after which we parted our own ways.

We then picked up our newly-repaired bikes from Ted's Bicycles in Colorado Springs (a fantastic bike shop) with a new wheel and new shifters on two of our bikes, then moved over to our hosts Renee and Brad for the night. We had a hamburger dinner with their neighbors, chatting about our teaching experiences as well as Renee's teaching experience as an elementary-school teacher. Having met our doppelgangers, we slept through the night.

Wednesday, July 20 -- Colorado Springs, CO to Denver, CO

65.0mi. 1165ft elevation drop.

Bottom left: our host Renee and dog Echo

Western Colorado is a gorgeous place to be. On one side, the looming Rocky Mountains stand tall and proud; on the other side, rolling prairieland stretches out into the horizon. We rode in the liminal region between mountains and prairie, in a spectacular ride.

Leaving Colorado Springs, we took bike paths then the 105 country road, a sunny road which weaved and meandered through the countryside. It felt like we were biking through a postcard, with picture-perfect views at just about every mile. The ride was primarily downhill, so we zipped through the views in a zipline-esque fashion.

We stopped for lunch at a local diner, O'Brien's Cafe in Sedalia, feasting on all-American delicacies like country-fried steak, reuben sandwiches, and meatloaf. We chatted briefly outside with a gentleman who ended up paying for our lunch (!) Thomas, if you see this, thank you very much for this random act of kindness.

Leaving the country road into Boulder, we climbed some hills, almost as a taste of the mountain climbing in the coming days. Our ride ended in Centennial, where we met our hosts Esther and Steve, and Frances and Edmarie. We shared a delicious dinner, then toured Esther's backyard garden and played with her backyard chickens. We also played with Frances' three-year-old daughter, making "fake food" on the trampoline from the plants around the backyard.

Our stomachs full and our minds filled with the gorgeous views from today, we went to sleep, excited to explore Denver the next day!

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