Mar 25: Ricky Rascon, originally from Aztec, rode across New Mexico lengthwise, and he didn't do it only for fun.
Rascon, whose father is disabled, made the more than 600-mile ride from Las Cruces to Aztec to raise awareness and generate support for people with disabilities.
This wasn't his first or longest ride for that reason. Rascon took part in the Journey of Hope in 2009. The Journey of Hope is a cross country cycling event that also raises awareness for people with disabilities.
"I did it for a cause," he said, talking about his latest journey. "It made the hard parts easier because I was doing it for other people." According to Rascon, he was doing it for those who wish desperately to ride a bike.
"There are people out there that would do anything to ride a bike," Rascon said. "That's what made the hard parts easier for me." He wasn't alone.
Rascon, a Pi Kappa Phi fraternity member at New Mexico State University, managed to rope two of his fraternity brothers into the journey. Luis Hernandez and Patrick Moreno both made the ride with him.
"I was inspired by what Ricky does," Hernandez said. "It's for a great cause, and no matter what other people said, I didn't think he was crazy." Neither does Rascon's mother, Lyn Nelson, despite the fact that when Rascon told her his plan she said: "I don't know if you're stupid or crazy."
"I said that because he scared the crap out of me," Nelson said. "The first time, when he rode across the country, he was with a group that had support." This time there were only the three riders. "I just love him to death and I am so impressed," Nelson said. "What was so emotional was to see the amount of support from the people of Aztec."
When Rascon and his fraternity brothers rode into town, there were more than 25 people waiting to cheer them on. "He has always had spirit," Nelson said. "When he puts his mind to something he does it."
According to Rascon, the most difficult leg of the journey was the portion between Vaughn and Santa Fe. "It was horrible," Rascon said. "Steep uphill and 30 miles per hour winds. To make things worse there was no scenery, only one tree."
The thought of people that would ride a bike if they could kept the 24-year-old going. "This ride is about raising awareness," Rascon said. "It's helped me realize what I was capable of."