Fifteen Summit County riders are signed up for the annual Courage Classic bicycle tour through the county, benefiting the Children's Hospital Colorado Foundation.
Registration has closed for the event now that it's full, but there's still a chance to support the cause by supporting riders' fundraising efforts. See the box for instructions on how to donate.
Cyclists start pedaling on July 21 in Leadville, heading toward Copper Mountain via Tennessee and Vail passes. The tour circles through Summit County on July 22, with the option of a century ride via Ute Pass. The lunch stop is Breckenridge and the Day Two finish is Copper Mountain. On July 23, the tour continues back to Leadville via Fremont Pass and an optional ride around Turquoise Lake, where Children's Hospital patients greet each of more than 2,000 riders as they end the tour.
In its 23rd year, the 157-mile fundraising tour depends on donor, sponsor and volunteer support. Funds go directly to meeting hospital needs at Children's Hospital, such as purchasing new medical equipment, supporting new child health research and evolving the Hospital Sports Program for kids with disabilities.
Team Hard't To Beat, which includes Elizabeth Schmidt and Steve Weidenbacher, is riding in the name of a patient named Logan Grommeck, whose heart murmur detected days after his birth led to testing that revealed heart defects. He had a hole in his septum, which divides the left and right ventricles. He also had a narrowing of a valve from his heart that restricted blood flow from the heart to the lungs.
After several months of waiting and monitoring Logan, he went in for surgery, which was entirely successful. His parents, Darrin and Candy Grommeck are thankful for the help of Children's Hospital.
On the other hand, the Gears of Courage team has a broader inspiration. They ride to encourage strength and create hope. Team Courage includes many current and former Children's Hospital patients who always cross the finish line, and Gears of Courage rides in spirit with them to support their feat.
Dollars that are raised during the Courage Classic are visible during the race, not only as people directly impacted by the hospital ride in the course, but also as teams like Team Courage - comprised largely of former and current Children's Colorado patients - pedal it.
Since its inception in 1989, and thanks to thousands of participants and supporters, the Courage Classic has raised nearly $26 million for Children's Colorado. In 2011 alone, the Courage Classic raised more than $2.1 million. Those funds support the hospital in many ways, and helping thousands of children and impacting their families, officials said.