Many folks have watched their car odometer tick over after driving 100,000 miles. Now imagine pedaling a bicycle that far.
Walt Fick of Cedaredge completed his remarkable journey on Sept. 11 when the odometer on his bicycle logged its 100,000th mile.
Walt had peddled almost 60 miles that morning over rain- and drizzle-soaked roads from Cedaredge to Corn Lake State Park near Grand Junction. As he approached the park, the skies cleared and cycling friends waited to accompany him for a final 3.6 miles around the park lake.
The moment was a convergence of celebrations. Not only did Walt complete a personal 14-year cycling odyssey, but it was also his 69th birthday.
And the final mile of peddling was achieved with calls of "Here comes the bride!" ringing through the cool air of early fall. Among Walt's circle of cycling friends at Corn Lake that day was his
fiancée Jeannine Minnick who, a few days later, became Jeannine Sandelin Fick in a ceremony at Pioneer Town's Chapel of the Cross.
Walt, a retired engineer, is not a man to rest on past achievements. His 100,000-mile cycling adventure has filled his life with friends, experiences and new attainments since age 55 when he took up the sport.
"This journey began in the fall of 1999 at age 55 in West Chester, Ohio," Walt says in a narrative he wrote a friend about his 100,000-mile odyssey.
"I had injured my back swinging a golf club and was looking for a way to exercise my legs that didn't hurt my back. Cycling not only didn't hurt, but it was simply amazing. A couple of blocks down the road and the pain was gone. The rest, as they say, is history."
As any devoted bicycle rider can attest, there is something about riding that just "clicks." Riding with the ultra-cool, lightweight efficiency of today's bicycles has an almost magical effect of transforming exercise and effort into energy and enjoyment.
Obviously, there was something way beyond any medical benefit that Walt experienced when pedaling his bicycle.
"In terms of volume, an average year has been just over 7,000 miles, with 200-mile days and 1,600-plus miles in some months. My longest year was 2003 with 11,032 miles," Walt says.
"My greatest passion in this sport is simply exploring and discovering all the incredible places God has given us to enjoy. And I would be remiss if I didn't admit that I love playing chase with all the young animals as well."
Walt's introduction to the sport soon became a serious, but thoroughly enjoyable avocation. He began to seek out other riders to tour with and became involved with organized cycling activities. He also found that a competitive flame has been lit.
"I joined the Cincinnati Cycle Club in 2004 where I served on the board of directors until leaving for Colorado in 2011," Walt said. "With this club, I organized and led group rides two or three days a week, organized 'National Events' for the club, and achieved their highest honor of Ultra Randonneur, which is a combination of performance-oriented criteria and service to the club and the community."
Walt "worked with the League of American Bicyclists as an instructor until 2011," and he also "worked with the townships of West Chester and Liberty, along with Butler County, Ohio, to develop cycling plans and to implement improvements to provide better and safer infrastructure for cyclists."
Over the course of logging those 100,000 cycling miles, Walt has racked up some other notable achievements. Among the ones he is most proud of are:
"In May of 2001, I won my age group at an Ultra Endurance Race in Springfield, Ohio, by 19 miles. My total for the day was 200 miles. To be honest, I hadn't even had time to develop my cycling legs by then.
"On Memorial Day of 2007 I completed the long course on a challenge event called the Mountains of Misery (MOM) in Blacksburg, Va. This course is 128 miles with over 16,600 feet of vertical climb. This was by far the most difficult thing I have ever done on a bike. Until 2010, I was the only cyclist 60 or older to have completed this course. At this point, I have the third-fastest time of the 60-somethings in this event. I have completed the Columbus Fall Challenge twice – two days, 115 miles, and 10,000 to 11,000 feet of climb each day."
There is more. But moving on to his local rides, Walt notes that he has ridden "most of the major mountain passes and other challenging places, including the Grand Mesa (about 16 times); Mt. Evans (twice); McClure Pass (twice); Red Mountain Pass; Cedaredge to Gateway; Ridgway to Gateway; Ridgway to Cortez via Lizard Head Pass; Cedaredge to Fruita via Colorado National Monument; Cedaredge to Steamboat Springs (once via Glenwood Springs, Wolcott and Highway 131, and once via Rifle, Meeker and Craig); Independence and Monarch passes on the same day; and Crawford to Montrose via the Black Canyon and Blue Mesa."
A big surprise early in his riding career told Walt that he was onto something good in bicycling.
"I really should mention something that is one of my greatest surprises in this sport. A Department of Energy counterpart at my last working assignment in Ohio was on the Junior National Team and in his cycling prime. By the summer of 2001 I managed to beat him to the tops of some hills we rode during our lunch breaks.
"The look on his face the first time that happened was priceless and led both of us to believe I had stumbled onto something very special. Indeed, it has been just that."blog comments powered by Disqus