After last summer and Philip’s attempt and subsequent failing to ride 10 miles on the Mickelson , conquering the beast was HIGH on the priority list.

But then I was puny and Mama Syd sprained an ankle, the visitors came, Papa got sick and life added up.  Before we knew it, Papa Chris was putting on a new roof and it was the last week and we were running out of time!!!!!!! And wouldn’t you know?  The weather turned scalding hot and hope nearly seemed lost.

Then, compromise.  What if we rode on Sunday evening?  We spent our Mass praying Papa would finish the roof so he could come, too, and that the weather would cool down.  God, in his goodness, answered our prayers with a productive work morning and late afternoon clouds.  Happily (read: noisily and with much excitement) the kids loaded into the “big green truck” and we all set off for the Mickelson.

This year we deviated from our usual route so that all could see the half-marathon course.  So Englewood to Deadwood it was, with Philip on a bigger bike (Max’s old one), Max with gears for the first time, Tess behind me on the  AlleyCat and Ellie in the kiddie cart.  It was a glorious night, perfect for a ride and there were no problems until we came to the top of the big hill.  The route down – the race route – had grades up to 20%.  This upped Papa Chris’ pucker factor by A LOT.  The Sugarloaf trail, also with steep 11% grades seemed a much better option, so off we went, away from the race course and continuing up hill.

Not once on those big uphill treks did Philip waver or even think of stopping.  He just went and went.  So did the vistas.  We oohed and awed over the beautiful views we’d never before seen.

Pulling into Deadwood at dusk was lovely but the best part by far was Philip’s unbelief that he had done it.  All on his own!  On that little bike!

And guess what else?  This time he rode 10.3 miles.

Way to go bud.

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