The Team Jesse Foundation
Mission: To provide education and support for families of fallen soldiers in honor of SSG Jesse Williams


Mission: To provide education and support to families of fallen soldiers in honor of SSG Jesse Williams

Rest and Community in Telluride (Day Twenty)

I got up 6:00 am in Telluride on our day off. I couldn’t sleep, in spite of being out late (for me at least – midnight!) the night before. My first order of business was finding a coffee shop with wifi and I quickly ducked into this place called the Steaming Bean, which has GREAT lattes and breakfast burritos.

As I sat in the shop, I thought about the 6 days prior. The week started with a 25 miles, 5100 ft. climb our of Cedar City that took nearly 5 hours and ended with a cruise into Telluride with Matt, Darren, Mike, Jesse and Jake McTigue and the town waiting to greet us. In between was 505 miles of riding and over 33,000 ft. of climbing, plus swirling desert winds and 100+ degree temperatures. We called this Team Week for a reason, and we needed the entire Team to accomplish what we did. Our SAG vehicle (Heather, Java, Moka) and video crew (Brett and Harvey) worked harder than ever and we know without their assistance and the fly by (literally) from guest rider & pilot Kerry Bunday, we would not be sitting in Telluride today.

Before I move on, I would like to make one attempt at being philosophical regarding a day Matt and I will never forget – June 24th, 2011. Hanksville, UT to Blanding UT covered 117 miles and nearly 8000 ft. of climbing in intense heat. For most people, there are few times in their life when the circumstances necessitate asking our bodies to do what is normally not possible. Getting to this point is hard to begin with, because the body first goes into denial and tells us NO – in the form of PAIN. That is the body’s way of protecting itself. It is possible to push through this pain in the form of motivation. For Matt and I, our motivation with thinking about Families of the Fallen – the Williams, Manion, and Looney families…and thousands others. Their struggle was harder than ours and for that reason alone, Matt and I refused to quit. At mile 99.90, Matt reached a point few get to – just before exhaustion. At that instant he decided not to quit and his body responded with what it needed to go the final 17 miles – half of which were uphill. It would be unfair to call this “a second wind”, because it is much more than that. Call it what you want, I am proud of my friend and the mental and physical toughness that he showed that day. I will never forget it.

Back to rest day:

I spend the rest of the am clearing my mental list of things – laundry, car cleaning, bike maintenance, etc. in preparation for a rare opportunity to relaxation for a couple hours later in the day. After speaking to a few parents and children at the local elementary school about Team Jesse and The Ride, I was able to take a short break at a local spa call The Peaks. The place cuts it and from the town, it is required you take the gondola to the hotel. I think I relaxed – I slept through a massage and a facial (Heather’s idea – my face was so dry) and then I managed to stay awake through a pedicure (I feel bad for the lady that did this!) since they had Outside magazine there.

After we attended an informal fundraising event at a place called Brown Dog Pizza. Dan Lynch, one of the owner’s, made the event possible and the turnout and result was tremendous.

The day finally ended with a bar-b-que hosted by longtime residents Mike and Bev McTigue. The food was great and the company was even better. We are very thankful to the entire McTigue family, including Jesse and Jake who were incredibly supportive and proactive in making this visit so special .

So I guess that is a rest day for us. We are off to Montrose, CO today and have our eyes set on the end of Act 1 – Independence Day in Pueblo Colorado.

But as my good friend Coach Mike Groh keeps reminding us – we need to prove it 1 day at a time. We set out to do just that.

To the limit,