Henrichs begins 14ers ascent | PostIndependent.com

Henrichs begins 14ers ascent

Jeff Caspersen
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE,Colorado ” A snowy spring has done little to ease Andy Henrichs’ nerves, but the Roaring Fork High School athletic trainer is eager to tackle the grandest athletic feat of his life.

Early this morning, Henrichs will hop on his bicycle and commence his quest to bike across Colorado and summit 54 of the state’s 14,000-foot peaks.

It should take him 50 days or so to complete the physically demanding journey, which he’s doing to raise money ” through pledges ” for World Bicycle Relief, an organization that raises funds primarily to provide bikes to volunteer caregivers treating HIV and AIDS victims in Zambia.

Since he began publicizing the event a couple months back, Henrichs has raised around $7,500 of his target sum ” $11,772.

The public’s overwhelmingly positive response and generosity have floored Henrichs.

“I just mailed off some more checks to World Bicycle Relief,” he said by phone Thursday. “I’ve had people all over the state wishing me the best, offering me a place to stay or shower. The best was a woman living in New Jersey who is originally from Zambia.

She contacted the World Bicycle Relief and wished me luck and thanked me for doing this project to help her country. It’s pretty neat, pretty inspirational.”

Relaying donations is not all that have kept Henrichs busy. He’s also been clearing time to train.

“I’ve been on my bike a lot,” he said. “I’ve gone on some longer hikes. I’ve also loaded up my exercise cycle with a lot of weight and taken it on longer rides.”

As far as his actual trip goes, Henrichs hasn’t had to tweak his original itinerary, despite a rather cold and snowy spring.

“I’ve had quite a few nervous moments, like when it was still snowing in mid-May,” he said. “I’m feeling much better now with the warmer weather. I was thinking about switching it to avoid snow.”

Henrichs will begin his trip by heading west toward Minturn. From there, he’ll travel south down the Sawatch Range, then up through Breckenridge on to tackle peaks along the Front Range. He’ll then turn south and target the Sangre De Cristo Mountain Range before traveling through Alamosa and the San Juan Mountains and finishing up with the Elk Range.

That’s quite a trek, but one Henrichs is simply ready to get underway.

“At this point, I’m now just ready to actually be riding,” he said, “and not guessing what the conditions will be like.”

And, if his motivation to keep going ever falters, he won’t have to look far for inspiration, not with so many people invested in his journey.

“The best thing has just been the positive response from all these people I’ve never met before,” Henrichs said. “I think there were definitely times when I’d wished I wasn’t doing it, but they were few and far between. I’m excited to start. I’m excited to test myself.”

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