Monthly Archives: September 2011

Mount Evans. Epic.

On Saturday, I rode Mount Evans from Idaho Springs with a group of friends. Mount Evans is one Colorado’s many 14,000 ft peaks. (And one of only¬†two, I think, with a road to the top.)

This really was one of the rides from my bucket list. (No, I don’t have a real bucket list, but I certainly have a list of rides I want to do. Sometime soon. Long before I die!)

The ride went well. Not fast. (I’m never fast.) I did finish the climb strong, and I’m really happy with that. Overall, the climb is 27.5 miles, and 6,700 feet. It’s hard to not call that epic!

Here’s the data on Strava. It took 4:20 to do the climb (plus 1:40 of waiting, resting, socializing and eating), and about 1:10 to come back down. There were eight of us in the group, making it a nice social ride. At Echo Lake on the way up, we had two long breaks, pigging out on hot chocolate and cinnamon rolls. And we had another long break at Summit Lake. Dan G. put a bunch of pictures up on picasaweb.

And here are a few of my own.

Neil and Mike, and Alma on our first little break about half way to Echo Lake.

Randy and Mike take off.

Dan G. serving up one of many cinnamon rolls.

Neil, Randy, Frisco Dan, Don, Alma and Mike.

The road as we pass tree line at about 11,500 feet. Some of the cracks had been improved upon by marmots. I almost ran over one sticking his head out through the pavement.

Here are Randy, Dan, and Don approaching the first switchback past Summit Lake.

At the top!

Above 14,000 feet! The real summit is about 100 feet higher, but none of us wanted to hike it in our cycling shoes.

Neil and Frisco Dan got to the summit well before us. They had decided not to wait at Summit Lake. I passed them near the top when they were on the way down after waiting up there for a half hour or so.

Arrival shots of the second summit assault group:

Don.

Dan.

Randy.

Alma and Mike.

And here’s one more shot of Dan in front of the rather weird shelter. (An old building burnt down in 1979. The new shelter is built in and around its remains. It’s actually rather cool.)

Why did I call Ron Paul an “immoral prick”?

On twitter, earlier today I retweeted an article from NPR, and yes, I called Ron Paul an “immoral prick”. Sure that’s a bit harsh. After all, he’s not the one who yelled “yes!” when asked if we, as a nation, should let people without health insurance die when they’re sick. He did say that local charities and and hospitals should take care of these people.

I’m sorry, but I still see that as immoral.

It’s a cop out.

It ignores the ramifications that come with such an attitude.

Yes, I agree that in the absence of a better system, hospitals have a moral obligation to help the sick whether or not they have health insurance. It’s hard to argue against that. And I hope most people would feel that way.

Ron Paul also said that people have a responsibility to buy health insurance. I agree with that too, as far as it goes. But he said that a person who decides not to buy health insurance gets what they deserve. That’s the immoral bit.

People don’t always get what they deserve. Some people are poor and simply can’t afford health insurance. They’re poor not because they’re lazy, but because of other circumstances beyond their control. The assumption that everyone’s situation is due to their own choice is simply wrong. If you think this way, you lack empathy. You’re the one who’s flawed, not the poor person.

But what happens when a hospital is located in a poor area, where there’s a high percentage of people without health insurance? Well, the answer can be all too simple. The hospital could go out of business. And in the less simple case, it could send the sick, uninsured patients away. Either way, that’s bad.

We can do better.

We should do better.

We, as a nation, as a people, have a responsibility to take care of those around us. We’re a rich nation. This is well within our means. If we take care of this as a nation, rather than pushing the responsibility down to the states or cities, we can do this more cheaply, and more efficiently.

Ron Paul sees everything that government does as something that individuals, churches or localities could do better. I understand the frustration that he, and many others, have with government bureaucracies and their inefficiencies. But simply shirking the responsibility is not the answer. It really is a cop out.

Government is what we make it. Let’s make it better, not destroy it. Let’s do things as a nation, as a people with many shared goals and ideals. Let’s not assume the answers are all isolated and fractional. Let’s solve some problems together.