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June 18th, 2016: Jovial

by Joe Mulligan on June 18, 2016 Comments Off on June 18th, 2016: Jovial

Marshall rolled into Durango at close to 1 AM, After sleeping for a few hours, he conquered Wolf Creek Pass. He climbed 4000 ft in 7 miles.


The media team was there, awed by the beauty of the Rockies and the miles of switchbacks and steep grades. In a car, the beauty is what we noticed. Outside the car, however, even running half of a mile with the limited oxygen was exhausting. I watched Marshall climb for seven miles, without stopping.

We watched him pedal up the Rockies with passion in his feet and humor on his mind.

I know right! Humor? How can someone be humorous as they pedal up an actual mountain.

One of the things I like about Marshall is his love of puns. Puns are his thing. Knee-slapping, hilarious plays on words are in his ballpark, right next to ultra-cycling and piloting.

So, we came up with puns and wrote them down on sheets of paper. We would hold them up as Marshall would ride by, amusing him and sometimes disappointing him.



-Are you wheelie wheelie tired?

-Wolf Creek Pass is a vicious cycle

As you can see, they aren’t great, but they gave him something to think about other than the climb.BC_RAAM_2016_06_18_WolfCreek-6-1

When we ran out of puns, we sang. Granted, our voices weren’t great either, but what we didn’t have in skill we made up for in passion.

So we ran alongside him and sang “Ain’t no Mountain High Enough” and “Eye of the Tiger.” He suggested we get some singing lessons, but the best part: he sang back.

I ran alongside him hearing him sing James Taylor as if he wasn’t even tired. He has a great voice and knows more about modern bands than I, a sixteen-year-old do.

Then he gave me some homework to do about wheel rotation and distance, which I raced to solve. For instance, I calculated that it takes him 2436 rotations to cover a mile on 27-inch wheels.

It truly amazes me. Marshall can compete in the hardest bike race in the world, support a great cause, and make me laugh all at the same time. It is about a reaction to difficulty. When you see someone take on a difficult task and retain a smile and a sense of humor, it inspires you.


It reminds me of Mom. She wasn’t gifted in puns or an ultra-cyclist, but somehow, when diagnosed with brain cancer, she walked through it with a smile on her face. She wasn’t angry, she just stayed her happy, kind, beautiful self. She cooked when she could, and still invited people over for coffee to catch up. I found myself being comforted by her, even when it was her illness that I sought comfort for.

When you donate, it is about giving hope. Every dollar goes to men and women who are trying to cure this disease. They stood up and decided that something ought to be changed. Help them give hope to thousands of people who have been diagnosed with brain cancer. Donate here.   

1000 miles behind you Marshall

Joe Mulligan

P.S. I am sure the puns will get punnier…

Joe MulliganJune 18th, 2016: Jovial