Crossing For Cancer

With beauty all around me, I ride…

Posted by crossingforcancer on September 24, 2008

Hello again,

To start off, I want to thank everyone who’s sent an email or posted a comment on the blog, it’s been so nice, and empowering, I really appreciate it.

September 15, 2008

I’m leaving Golden to head north to Boulder over to Cindy’s place. She is a thriving survivor of pancreatic cancer and will be joined by Patti, Cheryl and Judy; all of them are survivors whose portraits I did.  I did six portraits that evening. Pulling up to the home, they were eagerly waiting. I ate some incredible home cooking with them; it was amazing to hear their stories and to be able to talk with all of them. 

Cindy’s house is beautiful; it’s decorated with old photos of her Native American relatives.  She’s of the Native American Dakota Tribe.  She and her daughter Katie were both great hosts, as well as James, Cindy’s significant other. I want to thank them all again for their hospitality.

I had a shower and was exhausted after the ride and especially after the portraits. To do portraits like that, and that many, takes so much concentration and even more patience and emotional influx.  I slept so well.  The next day I woke and they took me on a bike ride through Boulder. Everything was really beautiful, rivers, brooks, all along the trail. It was nice to not have to worry about where I was going for once- they led the entire way.  We got back to the house and had another delicious meal.  Cindy and Katie both sat for a portrait.  I have to say, the way I do portraits are pretty hit or miss.  For those of you who’ve seen the way I draw, I sharpen a flat pencil like a knife and dig it in hard, into the paper with no eraser.  I actually did ten portraits in Colorado and only had to start over once.

Cindy, Pancreatic Cancer Survivor 

I’m really going for emotional content in the portrait and a likeness within their soul, spirit and the way they look, hopefully.  Sometimes the subjects end up with three ears, or three nostrils or something like that.  But, if the portrait is emotionally sound and has a likeness, I just go ahead and leave it.  I don’t erase.  If I don’t like the portrait at all, I just start over completely. It’s a very direct way to draw.

September 16, 2008

I’m sad to say goodbye to Boulder – I really loved it there and want to pay a special thank you to everyone who fed and housed me.  I had a wonderful time.

Rolling through Denver, I have to admit, being in a city kind of freaked me out a bit, it’s something I’ve grown away from.  But, all in all, I’m leaving Denver, after a bit of rest.  My legs are still pretty tight as I ride out of Denver on the Cherry Creek Bike Path. Quite a nice scene; I had a pretty soothing ride.

I stopped off at the Denver Museum of Art and it was highly inspiring.  I’ve always liked this museum; it’s just the right size and only takes a few hours to go through.  They keep a nice collection of Native American Art.  In looking through the collections, and based on this journey so far, I’m really recognizing that Native Americans are beautifully in tune with the earth – they have such a connection with the land, both physically and spiritually.

On a similar note, something powerful struck me in the museum. There were Native American quotes and sayings inscribed around the galleries.  One in particular really stayed with me:


“In beauty I walk.  With beauty before me I walk, with beauty behind me, I walk. 

With beauty all around me, I walk.”


I, for myself, thought that was amazing and substituted the word “walk” with “ride.”

As I rode out of the city I had a chance to think about how fortunate I’ve been to have people sit for me.  I feel like I’ve gotten pretty close to fully capturing many of the subjects.  It takes someone to have an open heart to agree to sit for a portrait.  Thank you to all of the people who sat.  I hope it was an equally amazing experience for you as it was for me. 

 Cheryl, a Pancreatic Cancer Survivor

September 17, 2008

I’ve pulled up to a town called Elizabeth about 45 miles outside of Denver.  It’s a sweet town.  As I pull up I hear the sound of an aluminum bat hitting a baseball. Further in the distance, a school band and an announcer for the hometown football game.  I can hear the sense of community before I even lay eyes on it.

I camped in a park near the stadium and grew sad when the distant lights faded and the sound of the screaming fans ceased.  My mind has been busy at night full of various thoughts and some confusion – the suburban sounds were a welcome distraction.  I’m now in the only café at Elizabeth writing.  Cowboys are everywhere.  Several have inquired about the trip and several locals have shaken my hand offering their sincere best wishes for the duration of the ride.  The small town mentality is really comforting. I realize that I’m open to whatever happens.  Everyone knows everyone here but me, however I feel like after a week here, I’d be a part of this small section of the world. 


I’ve thought that I’ve always lived for today and if you know me, you might agree.  The beauty about this life-changing trip and previous trips and adventures in my life is that you begin living for the hour. The day becomes long episodes of enlightenment.

Getting to the next town, after Elizabeth, was hard, getting into a rhythm with the rolling hills, back and forth, changing gears.  I was expecting a juicy downhill cruise, but it was only a myth.  I’m still in the high plains. I’m feeling the wind pick up daily, it gets flatter and flatter and I can start to smell thunder Storms as I make my way across the high plains.

Apparently the wind here does not let up.  Yesterday I was coming into headwinds up to 20-30 miles an hour.  Gusting at 40.  Some of the semi’s were even pulled off of the road.  I’m getting easterly southeast winds – I think it has to do with the weather system and the hurricane.  It’s a little frustrating and my spirits drop when I should be rolling at an easy 20 miles an hour pace on the downhill, and I’m struggling to keep my speed above 10 when I hit the wind.


I stop and look around to see the grass across the plains, blowing around.  Once again, I feel close to the ocean in all this grass, a sea of green. I eye a hawk hovering above, without any movement because of the wind. He can just stay up there, almost like a mobile over a baby’s bed, hanging from a string.

September 18, 2008

As I cycled out today I altered my route to be at a more agreeable angle with the winds.  Honestly, if you’re cycling, you know how tough headwind is. I’d rather climb Loveland Pass again to avoid this wind, it’s so fatiguing.

In distracting myself from the elements and the wind, I find many things funny out here, like the cows for example.

So these cows, there’s a herd that’s close to the road.  They see me, and they’re either going to run or stare at me.  I give them a long moo just to kind of wake them up.  When they stare its sort of like they’re thinking: “You might want to get one of those shiny things that’s much faster: it’s called a car.” Their stares never fail to crack me up.

Out here the towns are few and far between.  I came up to a town called Wild Horse.  The entire time I was pedaling toward it, I was imagining a big saloon with flashing lights, a Guinness waiting for me at the bar, and yeah, it was just a town with one farmhouse and a bunch of cows that looked at me as if I were crazy. I kept on rolling.

Shortly after passing the town I was pulled over by a Western Cop, a typical cowboy hat, brown Wranglers, a pair of aviator sunglasses that reflected my face right back at me. “Boy, where you going?  What are you doin?”  I told him about The Crossing and he ran my info.  He gave me directions to the nearest lunch spot and said that lunch was on him.  It was a great place.  For many reasons, I will remember this day for the rest of my life.


4 Responses to “With beauty all around me, I ride…”

  1. Dee said

    Finally caught up with the web site, You must be cycling your way into shape, just like Tom Said you would… You are wonderful and sounds like you are having an amazing adventure.. Glad your body & bike are holding up.. Keep Peddling and we will follow.
    Dee …
    Team Big Bear

  2. Valerie said

    Hi Scott,
    What an ammazing trip for such a worthy cause. Your writing is as great as your sketches. Please write a book when you are rested. This cancer has touched so many lives, and taken so many amazing people. They all ride with you.
    Thank you!

  3. Wendy said

    Scott, I miss you, we miss you, everybody keeps asking about you, we are following along with your journey. Big Hugs from all of us at Art Center! XOXOXO Wendy

  4. Melissa said

    Life is best lived by being bold and daring. People tend to grow fearful when they taste failure, face a daunting challenge or fall ill. Yet that is precisely the time to become even bolder. Those who are victors at heart are the greatest of all champions.

    -Daisaku Ikeda

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