Group photo of all the riders of Tour of the Canyons in front of various rock formations.

Tour of the Canyons 2017

This past Memorial Day three tandem teams supported by volunteers of Montrose, CO and the organizations San Juan LEADS Serves and Blind Endeavors Foundation, set out to ride into the red rock canyons of western Colorado and eastern Utah. A journey that extended over 200+ miles down winding roads which dipped and climbed in and out of beautiful landscapes and deep canyons.

Amongst the motivated group were three blind veterans, all along for the ride and long journey to inspire strangers who they came in contact with alongside lonely dusty roads.

“A wild adventure like this bike ride can really test your mind and body” Steve Baskis founder of Blind Endeavors Foundation said. The blind stokers, who act like motors for the two person bikes must imagine their surroundings during the ride. “Pilots” or “Captains”, are sighted individuals who drive and steer the tandem bike down the dry paved roads.  These pilots often describe the terrain and surroundings to their blind teammate. Painting a picture for the blind athlete is very important, since there is so much stunning rock and breathtaking scenery to absorb, as well as hair pin turns and wild switchbacks to be aware of.

Creating these opportunities for those persons who have lost their sight is extremely important to Steve Baskis and his teammates Nate Gorham and Daniel Wallace. Feeling the terrain underneath the bike gives you reference and the resistance of mashing the pedals round to drive up steep hills, churns and excites the body to life. The stokers may not have the sight to appreciate the geological rock formations that towered around them, but they do appreciate their beautiful country. All three blind individuals served their country proudly in the US military and made this Memorial Day one to remember.

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