The Power of We: Up 70,000 Feet of Elevation Gain

No Barriers Pledge, NoBarriersLifeSo much of our lives is wrapped up in living in the past or worrying about the future. I crave being in the moment and thinking, “Right here, in this place, in this moment … this is exactly where I am supposed to be.”

Back in January, our communications team asked all of us who work in the office at No Barriers to make a “Pledge.” My pledge was to mountain bike the Colorado Trail, a 500-mile trail stretching through the mountains from Denver to Durango. The entire trail’s elevation ranges from about 5,500 feet to 13,200 feet and includes a total of 70,000 feet of elevation gain.

I made this my pledge, not knowing if I could reach it and knowing that it scared me. I knew that it would involve months of training and preparation and put me in the best shape of my life. I knew the trail itself would be challenging but it far surpassed what I could possibly have imagined.

We carried our bikes over huge boulders. We camped in tents covered in thick ice. We rolled over bear tracks in a remote area. We pushed our bikes up such steep passes that we had to stop every few feet, gasping for air. We pushed our bikes through mud so thick we could barely push our bikes. We pushed … our … bikes … over terrain so technical that we sometimes pushed for 20 miles at a time. We climbed over a 12,500-foot pass in wind, rain, hail, and thunder. We cried.

The key word is we.

No Barriers Pledge, NoBarriersLifePrior to this trip, I thought I might bike the trail alone because most of my biking buddies were not available or interested in such a grueling adventure. But I am so fortunate that I found two other women, Stacy and Dana, to join on this epic journey. I realized within the first couple days that if I had gone alone, I would have given up.

It was with my rope team that I was able to continue. We said, “Wow, this is incredible,” every day for 20 days. We inhaled the most incredible pine scent you could imagine. We listened to the musical flutter of the aspens. It snowed and we smiled. We gazed over vast mountain valleys with sparkling blue lakes in contrast to verdant hills and intense blue skies. We were silenced by the beauty.

And when we made it to Durango, we celebrated and appreciated each other. This is exactly where we are supposed to be.