Josh and I left for the National Ability Center in Park City, Utah on Monday the 19th. We arrived outside Park City late Tuesday evening. We checked into the Veteran's Summit Challenge Cycling Camp Wednesday afternoon and after dinner Josh's YUMI arrived on site! We were ecstatic! After several adjustments and final fit, we took our first ride. It was wonderful!
Thursday was another incredible day. Josh and I rode 10.6 miles that morning. That afternoon Josh did something else we did not think would ever happen...He went WATER SKIING! He was absolutely beaming and in that same moment I could not help but recall when doctors and hospital staff met with our family almost three years ago and suggested we let him go. We had no idea what lay ahead but the Lord knew and HE was beaming alongside Josh as he skipped across the surface of that frigid mountain lake! What a day!
Friday arrived and the NAC staff had another surprise for Josh and I. About 8 miles into our morning ride I began to inquire with our guide where we were headed. "Just up ahead where that truck is," he said. I of course looked at the truck directly in front of us but he was referring to the truck near the top of the mountain! Yes the top...where I would soon discover the oxygen that I love so dearly was not as plentiful as my lungs desire. The video does not show me stopping just shy of the summit desperately sucking in all the air I could or Josh's foot waving as if to say,"not now old man, get moving!" Then the cheers and encouragement from Josh's team of veterans could be heard. So we put our feet back on the pedals and pressed our way to the summit...the Park City Olympic Park. After some pics we all pointed our machines back down the mountain for the reward all cyclist look forward to...Josh and I reached 31.6 miles per hour heading back down the mountain and probably could have gone faster but I was not willing to risk soiling myself!
Saturday was the big day...The Summit Challenge. We would be joined by over 800 riders! The distance options were 100, 80, 50, and 16 miles. Departure times were 7, 8, 9, and 10am respectively. Josh, myself, and my lungs made the prudent decision to ride the 16 mile loop. Since we were a part of the Veteran's Cycling Team, I learned we had our own departure time of 8:15am. The rest of the team was riding 50. Now I am not saying the NAC staff did this on purpose, but based on all the other ways they worked to make Josh's week unforgettable it made sense. Unless we had a major breakdown, Josh would likely be the first of the 800 riders to cross the finish line. Granted, we were not going to be knocking out all the miles other riders were and we were given a very healthy head start over the other 16 milers, regardless, we would be (and were) the very first riders to cross the finish line and that was a big win for us!
To the staff of NAC, thank you for going the extra mile to show all of us our untapped potential. You were awesome! To Ben and Melinda Crandall, thank you for bringing the YUMI to life and connecting us to NAC. To all of the people who donated to help us purchase the YUMI, WOW! you have no idea what a gift this is for Josh! We are blessed! I wrote a while back that we wanted to find a way to bring ADVENTURE back into Josh's life. All of YOU accomplished that! And that's not all, Josh was given a scholarship to return to NAC over Thanksgiving to go snow skiing! Boom! Thank you Lord and pass the oxygen!
God is so Good! All in for Josh!