When people ask me what my greatest accomplishments are, there is one that rises above the others. One that’s much different than the “becoming a husband and dad” or “serving in the military” fare.
What’s the accomplishment? Riding a bicycle across Colorado.
Years ago, I’d never have thought this would be something I’d even be able to do. I was never an athletic kid and only got into cycling in 2012.
In 2017, I rode across the state over four days to support and bring attention to the non-profit Shield616.
It’s a grueling time. The riders have to battle the elements, fatigue and the occasional logging truck. Last year’s ride was featured here: Border to Border with Shield616. The last two years I’ve participated in the ride but on a smaller scale because of another great accomplishment; becoming a dad.
But this year I’m tackling the entire route AGAIN!
Let me explain a little bit about Shield616 before launching into the ride details.
It was started by a friend of mine, Jake Skifstad, who was a police officer for the City of Colorado Springs. After responding to several active shooter situations that include incidents at New Life Church and Planned Parenthood, he realized law enforcement officers were seriously lacking the appropriate gear to respond to these and other situations where someone was reported to be armed.
Jake created Shield616 to get protective equipment into the hands of law enforcement, and that mission has since expanded to protect fire and EMS personnel too!
The name of Shield616 comes from the biblical exhortation to “put on the full armor of God”. A secondary mission of the organization is for businesses, churches and individuals to support first responders through prayer and community. Since the creation of Shield616, they’ve impacted communities and first responders in 26 states.
You’ll remember that a few years ago, the folks of Pulpit Rock Church outfitted 16 LEOs from right here in the Pikes Peak region. This was via the Christmas Offering. The presentation of the gear to these peace officers and the prayers for their safety has been one of the highlights of my time here at Pulpit Rock.
So about this year’s ride…
This September, our merry band of cyclists will be riding approximately 372 miles and climbing about 10,000 feet over the course of four days.
The goal this year is to outfit the ENTIRE Steamboat Springs Police Department. That’s 33 officers at $2,100 apiece. A lofty goal but one that appears to be in sight.
I do want to wrap this up with a kind of disclaimer. This is me being excited about a past accomplishment and looking forward to standing on the New Mexico/Colorado border here in a few weeks to support Shield616!
I’ve dedicated my life to the service of others via the military and law enforcement. While this is clearly a post that is pro-law enforcement and pro-first responder, I’m not wishing to start a debate. There are definitely things locally and across our country that can be improved.