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Meet your Co-op: From the mountains to the plains

Two of SLV REC’s own traded the mountains in for the plains in September, taking a 171-mile bicycle trek. The Eighth Annual Pedal the Plains (PTP) took REC employees Carol Silva and Troy Golden through host communities Lamar, Holly and Springfield with a trail through Kansas as well. Joining approximately 500 other riders Carol and Troy were sponsored by San Luis Valley REC in the three-day ride. Funds raised go toward Energy Outreach Colorado.
Knowing Troy enjoyed riding, Carol convinced him to participate in the event with her. It was a first for both of them.
Carol just began biking seriously last year, completing 1,000 miles from spring to fall on her mountain bike. This year, she purchased a road bike, which shaved 15 minutes off her ride to work.
Leaving her house at 4:15 a.m., Carol rides eight miles one-way to work every day. She finds the morning rides peaceful and has thus far avoided any encounters with local skunks or porcupines. Although, a mishap with her foot clip did almost prevent her from riding the plains, she disregarded her doctor’s advice and took the ride anyhow.
Despite a struggle on the day two 74-mile ride, Carol commented that she had “a good time and loved meeting new people.” Day two’s “wind and heat were just too much. You think the plains are all flat, but there are rolling hills. Every time we got near the top of a hill, I thought there’d be a break, but then there was another hill. I had to stop.” After refueling and hydrating herself, Carol took on day three’s 48-mile ride, coming into the finish line with a smile on her face— according to Troy, a big smile.
Previously Troy enjoyed motor-cycling in the mountains, but about five years ago, fellow employee Justin Harrison persuaded him to try pedaling instead. “Justin got me hooked,” Troy said.
Spending many weekends mountain biking and bikepacking, this ride was a little different for Troy because he’s used to doing everything on his own. PTP took care of breakfast and dinner at the host cities and had aid stations set up throughout the race every 10-12 miles. Their tents and supplies were transported for them as well.
Mountain rider or not, Troy made a successful run of the road riding, finishing day two (74 miles) in six hours, faced with the wind and 98-degree weather.
His next major ride will take him to South Dakota in July of 2020 for the Trans South Dakota Race. Dubbed “a bikepacking race across the state of South Dakota with five miles of packrafting across the Missouri River,” Troy is looking forward to the challenge. “It’s all self-supported through the Black Hills into the Badlands,” he commented. He’ll spend four days riding 350 miles. The ride will begin to prepare him for his ultimate goal— after Troy retires in about two years, he wants to ride across the United States.
While Carol won’t be joining Troy on the South Dakota ride, she is considering joining Pedal the Plains again in 2020 but would better prepare herself with more training.
The feeling of accomplishment at the finish-line was confirmation how “amazing it is what you can do with your body if you just get into it, do it and take care of yourself properly,” Troy said.
“The more you do it, the easier it gets,” Carol stated. “To be able to do this in our late ‘50s (and 60) is incredible,” they agreed.
While they’re now back home in the mountains, their pedals are still spinning, just not on the plains.

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