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August 02, 2010 - An epic ride for The Children's Hospital

What: 21st Annual Courage Classic, a three-day, 157-mile cycling event to raise money for The Children’s Hospital in Aurora.

Where: Leadville and Copper Mountain

When: Saturday, July 31 through Monday, August 2, 2010

Time: Riders began riding around 7 a.m. and ride until about 4 p.m. There are festivities every evening.

Beneficiary: The Children’s Hospital

Host(s): The Children’s Hospital

Honoree(s): The Courage Classic Riders

Presenting Sponsor(s): ProLogis

Co-Chair(s): Cary Larger

President(s): Steve Winesett

Staff: Volunteers and staff from The Children’s Hospital Foundation and community volunteers.

Sponsors: 9 News, 99.5 The Mountain, Copper Mountain, Crothall Services, Group Dreyer’s, GTRI Point B, Primal, ProLogis Pure, United Health Care, Waste Management

Special Thanks: To all sponsors, riders, volunteers and supporters

Blacktie Photos by: Steven Shoppman

 Isaac Sargent crossing the finish line for Team Courage
Isaac Sargent crossing the finish line for Team Courage

At 10,200 feet, Leadville, CO is the highest town in North America.  The oxygen is thin. The air is crisp, and on August 02, 2010 clouds were rolling in over Lake County High School, the setting for the finish line of the 21st annual Courage Classic.  This three-day bike event takes competitors over high mountain passes in Summit and Lake counties between Copper Mountain, Frisco, Keystone, Breckenridge and Leadville.  After the grueling 157 mile extravaganza, the event ends in the parking lot of the Lake County High school in Leadville.  Bikers all had different uniforms with different sponsors raising money for The Children's Hospital's programs for patient care, education, research and advocacy.  In fact, dancer Ms. Tu-Tu from the Bolder Boulder was there showing off her style.

With the hundreds of bike races and events each summer, some for a cause and others just for competition, this one is special.  For this race, a team named "Team Courage" completes the entire race, and what makes them unique is that they are all current or former patients of the hospital—still doing the entire 157 miles each on their own. Two of the team members this year, Isaac Sargent and Shelley Walter, actually did the entire event in wheelchair handbikes.  They made the 157 miles using only their hands.  Others in the group were on oxygen or had other conditions that ailed them.  As Team Courage crossed the finish line, children were jumping up and down with signs, other riders were there yelling and cheering as the team finished.  Isaac Sargent led the team across the finish line in his handbike, and to say the least, there were many tears in the spectators' eyes watching this incredible finish.

At one point the event takes the riders over Fremont pass, a 11,318-ft. pass heading into Leadville.  Even those with respiratory problems completed this gallant feat, but it had everyone huffing and puffing at the altitude, so the giant tents with first aid, drinks, food, t-shirts and more were a welcome sight after three days of hard riding. Carrie Olinger, the event manager for The Children's Hospital Foundation commented, “It’s amazing to see riders, volunteers and the community come together in support of a cause that has touched all of their lives in one way or another. We feel honored and proud to be part of such a meaningful experience. We are thankful to all those who participated to make this event a great success.”  There is no doubt this meaningful event was exciting and fun, and while the rain came in at the last minute, it waited to let Team Courage cross the finish line before it started to pour.  It seems Mother Nature was cheering for them too.

For information about the Courage Classic and other programs at The Children's Hospital, log on to The Courage Classic sells out early every year, so make your plans early for next year! 

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