Though Colorado Springs was only our first stop after our stay in Denver, everybody seemed content with another off day in an interesting city. The day started with a delicious breakfast sponsored by Mr. Jim Frederick and his family, and members of an affiliate school's student council. Jim is the father of two Pi-Alphas, one rode TransAm a few years ago, and the other participated in Build America. The meal breakfast burritos, yogurt, and a really tasty blueberry pastry dish. They also brought a few jugs of chocolate milk--they know what we like. While breakfast may not have been the bagels and peanut butter we're used to, it was a delightful alternative and definitely filled us up for the day ahead. After we ate, we were greeted by 18 year old JOH superfan Mackenzie, who has grown up with physical disabilities that make it difficult for her to walk and speak. We were all amazed- in talking to her we learned that she's an incredibly smart young lady with a passion for science and helping others, and will be studying Neuroscience at CU Denver in the fall.
Jim also gave us some strong advice about how the work we're doing will only grow our humanitarian mindsets, and how we'll go on to help others and improve other lives for the rest of ours.
After breakfast the team took a quick trip to the Garden of the Gods-- one of Colorado Springs' most notable landmarks, where beautiful rock formations jut out of the bare earth, contrasting the terrain immediately surrounding them. It was incredibly scenic and many an instagram-worthy photo were taken. Some of us were a little let-down that we weren't allowed to climb on some of the rock formations. Nonetheless it was a fun mini-trip.
For lunch, we had really good catered sandwiches sponsored by Mr. Will Schiffelbein, a PiKapp alumnus of University of Northern Coloado and former employee at PiKapp Properties. It was interesting talking to him about his experience in Pi Kappa Phi, as well as his time working at Properties. He was knowledgable about a few of team members' chapter houses, and even helped in the production of some of them. It's always nice to meet people that have staff experience in one of PiKapp's entities to hear about the inner-workings of our fraternity.
Our dinner ended up being really chill, we had amazing barbecue, sponsored by Kyle Thomas, a two-time Pi Alpha who, in my opinion, serves as one of the best examples of an ideal "servant leader." In addition to being a Pi Alpha, he started a program that immerses people with disabilities in extreme sports such as kayaking and mountain climbing. While we didn't get to meet Kyle, he sent his best wishes along with some really quality barbecue. Following dinner was a productive team meeting, and a good amount of laying low in preparation for ride tomorrow. We're a little concerned about how our new enemy: temperatures above 70° F, though we've been resilient thus far, and will continue to be until we get to DC.
Author: Jared Chan, Cyclist (Iota Phi, Loyola University New Orleans)