What would inspire two Colorado expedition racers to paddle 308 miles of the Colorado River – braving endless Class 3 to 5 rapids, long hours in complete darkness, and sub-50-degree water in just over a single day without sleep or support? Friendship, love of adventure and a desire to help find a cure for the leading disease that has no treatment or cure: Alzheimer’s.
Shane Sigle of Durango and Jeremy Rodgers of Boulder could have chosen to bake cookies or play bridge to raise money for Alzheimer’s research like so many other Coloradans will as part of the Alzheimer’s Association’s The Longest Day fundraising event. But they’re professional adventure racers and former US Canoe and Kayak team members – a bond they share with Evergreen resident Mark Macy, who recently was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s – so they chose a path less traveled…and more treacherous.
Sigle, who grew up in Evergreen, partnered with “Mace” Macy and his son, Travis, on Team Endure in The World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji in 2019. Now, the expedition racers are undertaking their own unique endurance challenge to honor Mace and help find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
“We’ve both known Travis and Mark for decades,” said Rodgers. “I personally grew up following Mark Macy on the Eco-Challenge. I was fortunate enough to eventually race with his son, Travis, on the same team when he was just coming out of college before Travis went on to be one of the best adventure racers in the world.”
The Colorado River adventure
Sigle and Rodgers will start on the Continental Divide by foot on Saturday, June 12, and descend the entire storied 308-mile watershed from west of Estes Park to the Utah state line, making passage through its endless rapids, railroad tracks, and diversion dams. They expect to complete their trek in just over 30 hours.
To contribute to Sigle and Rodgers’ Longest Day team supporting Team Macy Endure, click here
. To follow the expedition, which also is designed to raise awareness of the plight of the Colorado River watershed, click here
to see a flyover of their route.
“My personal inspiration for this expedition stems from my passion for river conservation and treading lightly on the world’s most spectacular watersheds,” said Rodgers. “The history of the Colorado River and its economic importance to the U.S. is unmatched in scale, and to have this opportunity to descend it nonstop with Shane is just an expedition opportunity of a lifetime. We just want to suffer with grace and see the historic river basin at water level like early explorers Sir George Gore and Jim Bridger while following the paddle strokes of expedition paddlers Hal Leich and Walter Kirschbaum. As hardship invites, we’ll learn a little more about ourselves.”
The impact of Alzheimer’s
Macy is one of 76,000 Coloradans and 6.2 million people across the United States living with Alzheimer’s disease, the sixth-leading cause of death. That number for the U.S. is expected to rise to nearly 13 million by 2050 if a cure is not found.
The Longest Day is the Alzheimer’s Association event held annually on the longest day of the year to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and funds for Alzheimer’s research. The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading non-profit funder of Alzheimer’s research in the world, behind only the governments of the United States and China.
Mace Macy and his family have formed their own Longest Day fundraiser, Team Macy Endure, which has raised over $30,000 toward its $35,000 fundraising goal. Click here
to see more on Team Macy Endure.
To learn more about Alzheimer’s disease, go to www.alz.org/co
or call the Association’s free, 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900.
The Alzheimer's Association leads the way to end Alzheimer's and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's and all other dementia.™ For more information, visit www.alz.org or call the 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900.