• Day 28 - Ride 12 - Like having a new bike
    28 Sep 2021

    Hi everyone. It's been a few days since my last ride/post - lots of other things going on including getting the gear cassette replaced. I have to thank Erik over at Adventure Cycling again - he stayed late yesterday to make sure that I'd have my bike ready to go when they opened today. And I was quite pleased at how reasonable the labor charges were for the work he did. That's why I keep going back for anything cycling.

    After just a few pedal rotations, I knew that my bike was ready to go and I wasn't going to have that worry in the back of my mind about the chain slipping and possibly causing a spill. So I wanted to do a longer ride today - since I had *barely* crossed the 200 mile mark on my last ride, I wanted to put an exclamation point on beating the #GCCUSA challenge. It helped that I started from the bike shop, because I had an extra incentive in being able to bike further south on the Cherry Creek trail than I ever had before. The one thing that's obvious is how well-maintained the trail is. I made it out to the Broncos Parkway trailhead, about mile marker 22 on the trail, and regardless of the county or town you're in, the trail is in tip-top shape and really fun to ride.

    Weather was great for the ride even though I started later than usual so it was a bit warmer by that time. And while the sky wasn't cloudless like so many of my morning rides, I enjoyed being able to see the mountains framed by clouds. As usual, I took a few pics and they're posted along with the ride at my fundraising page.

    While I'm hoping to get one last ride in for the month this Thursday, it's not clear if the weather is going to cooperate. But even if bad weather keeps me from riding, there's no need for it to keep you from donating - there's just a couple more days left in the month and we want to finish strong, so please consider a donation to help these courageous kids that are fighting cancer, and to help eliminate the disease overall.

    Thanks for all of your support!

    Posted 17 days ago
  • Day 24 - Ride 11 - BOOM! Target achieved!
    24 Sep 2021

    Woohoo!

    We made it - and it's really been a team effort. Yes, I did the riding and today hit the 200 mile mark to meet the #GCCUSA challenge, but the more important goal was raising funds for #CCRF, and all of you really came through - busting through my original fundraising targets and now running over $3200! I can't thank you enough for your support and encouragement.

    Even though it isn't Throwback Thursday, I decided to make today a ride down memory lane and visit most of the schools I attended while I was growing up here in Denver. Two of those schools, Fallis Elementary (now the Denver Green School), and George Washington High School are both within walking distance of the house I grew up in (and where my mom still lives). The other school is Hill Middle School and I was usually bussed there. But there were always nice days where a bunch of us from the neighborhood would jump on our bikes and ride over to Hill instead (especially when we had a little money in our pockets and could stop by the drug store on the way home and pick up some candy).

    Today would have been exactly one of those days when we would have skipped the bus and ridden our bikes - clear blue skies with temps in the upper 50s heading to school and mid-70s heading home. I haven't been by Hill since I moved back to Denver, so it was interesting really checking out the neighborhoods as I rode over, and thinking about how much different they look now versus back then - heck, it has been over 50 years *sigh*. Both GW and Hill look much the same as I remember them, but my old elementary school has been transformed quite a bit since I went there. There are a few pics along with the ride details at my fundraising page.

    And while I've hit my ride goal, that's no reason to stop - and I expect to hit the trails at least a couple more times in the 6 days left in the month. And that means that there are also 6 more days to collect contributions to help fight against kids' cancer. If you've been waiting to see if I'd make my goal... well, now's the time to step up. Please donate in any amount that's comfortable for you - this is such a worthy cause.

    Hope you all have a great weekend!

    Posted 21 days ago
  • Day 22 - Ride 10 - Looking toward the Home Stretch
    22 Sep 2021

    Happy Fall everyone. Going out for a bike ride is just a perfect way to celebrate the season, especially with the weather we've got today.

    First though, I wanted to send a shout-out to my friend and colleague Bill Fitzsimmons who joined the "Double Donation" club. (Although I admit I sometimes wonder if it's the "I didn't realize I had already donated once when I made my second donation" club!) Thanks much Bill and Marilyn for all of your support.

    I decided I wanted to get back to the Cherry Creek Reservoir this morning so headed out on the Cherry Creek trail that I can pick up about 3 miles from the house. It runs by Kennedy Golf Course and the Kennedy ball field complex after which you ride underneath I-225. Anyone who's done that knows that it's followed by a pretty steep hill you have to climb. I normally dread that, but I think all of the riding this month has really helped my conditioning, and while it wasn't easy, it also wasn't as difficult as I expected.

    I didn't do a full circumnavigation of the lake this time, just taking the trail on the north side of the lake. Took some pics both from the trail looking toward the mountains as well as of the lake that are posted with the ride on my fundraising page.

    From there, I decided to head over to the bike shop that's just a ways up from the park - I had noticed some slipping when pedaling in my top gear. After taking a quick test ride, Erik came back with the diagnosis - I had completely worn out the top gear. My bike is a 7-speed, and the bad news is that it's a rather unusual gear count (6- or 8-gear are more common) and he didn't have any replacements in stock. The good news is I can still ride the bike, just staying out of 7th for now, until we can get the replacement. So no worries about hitting my mileage goal,.. I'll just be going a little slower.

    Speaking of which - I'm definitely in the home stretch now. With the 19 miles I did today, I'm only 12 miles shy of the 200-mile mark. I honestly didn't expect to be this far along at this point in the month, but I've ended up doing 18-to-20 mile rides much more often than the 12-to-15 mile rides I originally expected.

    Finally, we're less than $300 from the $3500 mark in terms of donations raised for the Children's Cancer Research Fund. Now is still a great time to make a contribution to a great cause. And thank you to all of you (about 45 at last count) who have helped this #GCCUSA challenge to be a success!

    Posted 23 days ago
  • Day 20 - Ride 9 - Feeling like Autumn
    20 Sep 2021

    Good morning everyone and hope you had a great weekend.

    We're just shy of Fall here but it's going to be a beautiful Fall-like day today with temps hitting only the upper 60s, but it was still in the low 50s when I took off this morning for my ride.

    In truth though, today's ride really started Saturday afternoon with a trip to the bike shop. As I had feared, I did a number on my rear tire/tube on my Saturday ride and no amount of goop was going to keep that tire inflated. So I headed over to Adventure Cycling in Aurora, and Erik and his team got me set up with a new tube (+ goop) in no time at all. I really like Adventure Cycling - they always have good advice and they welcome riders at all levels, and I think they have top-quality gear at fair prices. They put together our bikes when we first bought them a couple years ago (even though we didn't buy them there), and I still head there when I need a tune-up or some gear even though there are bike shops much closer. Plus, it's a vet-owned business, so another great reason to go there.

    Today's ride was a pretty easy one - just wanted to get a few miles in as I have errands to run today, and no pics. I did hit a personal milestone on this ride though - cracked the 2500km (1550+ miles) total distance mark since we got our bikes a couple years ago. I never thought I'd be doing that much riding, but I found that I love getting out on the trails.

    This ride puts me almost to the 170-mile mark for the #GCCUSA challenge, but even though I'm close to the goal, there's still lots of time to help the cause - if you'd like to help I'd sure appreciate your support. You can donate at my donation page: https://greatcyclechallenge.com/Riders/MichaelGugenheim

    Another way you can support the cause is to share/like/repost this to your social media platforms and encourage those in your network to consider a donation - it all helps for a great cause.

    Thanks much!

    Posted 25 days ago
  • Day 18 - Ride 8 - Milestones Reached!
    18 Sep 2021

    Hi everyone - hope you're having a good day and enjoying these updates.

    First, for those that were observing, I hope you had a meaningful fast on Yom Kippur and may you be sealed in the Book of Life for the coming year.

    Now on to the #GCCUSA challenge - this is my first post since "Kick Cancer's Butt" day, and what an amazing success! Because of generous supporters like you, the Childrens' Cancer Research Fund raised over $2.4 million on the 15th, a record-breaking day - needless to say, they were able to scoop up every penny of the $1.5 million that was available in matching funds.

    And not only did CCRF have a blow-out day, but thanks to you I did as well, smashing past my $2500 goal - and as promised I made another donation (my 3rd) to celebrate. I can't tell you much I appreciate your support and it's been wonderful how many folks I've reconnected with because of this challenge.

    I took a much different ride today - I wanted to go further on the Highline Canal trail and Ariane and I were hoping to get to a Farmer's Market that we like, so I did a one-way ride. I took the canal trail as far as Welshire Golf Course and then headed west on Hampden. Much to my chagrin, Hampden turns into US 285, a limited-access highway, as it crosses over the South Platte river, and so not so easy to bike. In fact, I had to bike thru some unpaved, brushy areas and picked up a couple of thorns, so I'll have to see if the tire goop does its job. But, I had gotten in the mileage I wanted - Ariane picked me up and we were about two-thirds of the way to the market. One of our favorite vendors there is Styria Bakery II, and we brought home a big haul - their Chile Cheddar bread is one of my favorites, and we can't wait to try out the Apple Strudel!

    With today's ride I've crossed the 150 mile mark, so over three-quarters of the challenge done! And we're over $3100 in donations as of now - truly awesome! Let's gild the lily and see if we can get past $3500. You can help by going to my fundraising page and making a donation in any amount, and know that you're helping a whole lot of courageous kids and their families fighting a scourge of a disease.

    Take care everyone - next update in a couple of days (barring a flat tire!).

    Posted 27 days ago
  • Day 15 - Ride 7
    15 Sep 2021

    Good morning... I hope everyone is doing well. Today is a beautiful day to ride (and even better day to donate). Started out at 7:30 this morning and it was a cool 55 degrees so decided to go with long sleeves.

    Normally I would have taken today off and ridden tomorrow, but since tomorrow is Yom Kippur I decided to shift things up a bit. I decided not to do a big ride but rather just to wander around the neighborhoods.

    The first part of the ride took me to Fairmount/Emmanuel cemeteries, where my dad and his parents are buried. We don't live very far from there, but when you're in the car it seems we're always on the way to someplace we have to get to. But on the bike it's different - there's no pressure to be somewhere so I stop quite often when I'm out riding. The inscription on his headstone includes "A man of honor, tzedakah and caring for all who knew him" - Tzedakah is Hebrew for charity, and he and my mom instilled that value in me and all of my siblings.

    One of the other neat things about Fairmount is that they have a section dedicated to the millitary that was used prior to the establishment of the national military cemetery at Fort Logan - I've actually photographed some of those headstones for the BillionGraves app. When I spend time in that section I appreciate more and more the contribution those men and women made - there are lots of WW1 vets there as well as veterans of more recent conflicts, and it's a peaceful place to visit and contemplate.

    The rest of the ride rambled through the Lowry and Crestmoor neighborhoods and took me by my old elementary and high schools - all in all it was a great way to start the day.

    One quick reminder - today is KICK CANCER'S BUTT day and all of your donations today will be matched, so if you've been considering making a donation to support my ride, today is a great day to do it.

    Thanks to everyone who's already supported me - you guys are absolutely awesome!

    Posted 30 days ago
  • Day 13 - Ride 6 - Time to Kick Cancer's Butt!
    13 Sep 2021

    Great morning for a ride - I knew that I wanted to get over to Cherry Creek reservoir today but didn't want to repeat the ride up to Tollgate Creek trail, so I decided to take a different trail and figure out how I was going to get there on the fly. I ended up catching the spillway trail at the same place as my ride on the 9th - and it gave me a chance to document how much better the air was today than 4 days ago. I posted pics along with the ride taken in virtually the same spot on the trail as before, and you can really see the difference in how much of the mountains you can see. I ended up going about 4 or 5 miles longer than I had planned today, but it was worth it getting to ride right by the lake.

    During this challenge I've come to appreciate how

    magical it is being able to see the city up close, even when it's a

    mystery as to where I'm going to end up. There's no better way to

    tour a city than by bike!

    Now for the exciting news I hinted at... but first I want to send a special shout-out to some wonderful folks that have been so generous that they've contributed TWICE to this campaign: my cousin Paul Flexner, my good friends Lisa and Teo, and my best friend Hal Hindman. You guys are all tops.

    I'm not asking anyone to donate twice, but on September 15th you have the chance to DOUBLE the impact that your donation makes. #GCCUSA has designated the 15th as KICK CANCER'S BUTT day, and online donations made that day will be matched up to $1.5 million. So this Wednesday, it's time to step up and help make a difference. I'm calling on you, Delta chapter of #ThetaXI (especially those living in the house from '73 to '77), and also you, my work familly from #CoxCommunications in Atlanta, and even you, my neighbors here in #KensingtonCondominiums. Let's really make a difference and #KickCancersButt!

    Thanks everyone for your support!

    Posted 32 days ago
  • Day 11 - Ride 5 - HALFWAY THERE!
    11 Sep 2021

    Hi everyone. I wasn't sure I was going to make it out on the trail today - found myself with a flat front tire as I was checking out the bike this morning. It's a brand new tube that was put in just a couple of weeks ago, but I took the precaution of having them add some flat-protection sealant (I think the technical term is 'goop'), and after pumping the tire up it seemed to hold up well for the entire 18 mi. ride. We'll see how it looks on Monday for my next ride.

    Trails were busy this morning and the air was better than it had been the last few days - still nice and cool in the low 60s to start. I did a similar ride to my first one today, with a stop at James Bible Park where I got a friend to take a pic with me (posted with the ride on my fundraising page). I wanted to hit the halfway mark today and I did with 5 miles to spare, so on a great pace to meet my challenge goal.

    When I'm riding I don't listen to music in order to make sure that I can hear what's going on around me, and that also gives me lots of time to think about things. Today my thoughts were around a couple of themes - first, the kids I'm riding for. Every time I start grinding up a hill and thinking how tough it is, I end up thinking about what some of these kids are going through between surgeries/chemo/radiation, and how they're the real heroes.

    But today, I've also been thinking about 9/11 and how much that changed our lives. I was at home, between jobs, and got a call from my wife telling me to turn on the TV and almost the first thing I saw was the 2nd plane slamming into the World Trade Center. I was stunned... literally couldn't believe what I was seeing. And the after-effects were so chilling both in terms of what we did as a country and how it affected us personally. But even though it took almost a year after that for me to get back to a full-time job, there's no question as to how fortunate we were - our friends and families were all safe and we came through relatively unscathed.

    Ultimately, that's one of the reasons I do things like this challenge - there are lots of people and kids less fortunate than me, and so I feel an obligation to find ways to help. And I know that all those that are supporting me in this challenge are much the same, and I truly appreciate your help and donations.

    I'll post again in a couple of days after my next ride. And there's some exciting news coming that I'll be able to share with you on the 15th, so stay tuned!

    Posted 34 days ago
  • Day 9 - Ride 4
    9 Sep 2021

    Back on the bike after a couple of days off, and today's ride is one I that I have a love/hate relationship with. I love it because it gets me over to Cherry Creek State Park - a wonderful retreat to nature without having to drive miles away from the city. On the other hand, I hate it because it's much more challenging for me with many more climbs than most of my other rides (although the descents are fun).

    We're heading toward some of the hottest days ever recorded in September in the Denver area, but getting out early is it's own reward with cool temps for the duration of my ride today - 57 degrees at the start and 67 at the finish. Also need to get out early because we have another air quality alert today with the stagnant air, high temps, and western fire smoke. You can see how hazy it is if you check out the pics from today's ride.

    Thanks to everyone who's been supporting me during the challenge. Next update in a couple of days!

    Posted 36 days ago