Willa's Wheels 2017

Join Willa’s Wheels for a Classic Colorado Ride with a Strong Cancer Connec

Friday, June 2, 2017 by Erica Schafer

Where to? We will ride from Evergreen up 3300 feet and over Squaw and Juniper Passes arriving at Echo Mountain Lake at 10,600 feet. From there, you have 2 options: 

  •   Time to relax: You’ve had a fantastic work-out, so it’s time to sit back and relax – enjoy our tasty refreshments and food; cast some flies into Echo Mountain Lake or nearby streams (fishing licenses available on-site); take a hike on one of the nearby trails, or just enjoy the scenery…….
  •   Summit a 14er: continue on up the road another 14 miles to peak out atop Mt. Evans at 14,200 feet. Three miles up the road you will be above tree-line with beyond gorgeous views and a good chance to pedal alongside Colorado mountain goats.

The Cancer Connection: Many of us have personal ties to cancer, and as we pedal up Mt. Evans we feel a connection to cycling legend Bob Cook. Bob went to Cherry Creek High School and was the first to break the Mt Evans Hill Climb 2 hour barrier. He went on to win the event 6x before succumbing to metastatic melanoma at age 23 in 1981. 

Special Guests: Our flatlander friends show grit and determination as they train in adverse conditions, navigating aggressive Boston traffic to log a few extra miles…..or pedaling a rusted, stationary bike in the corner of that damp and dark basement….. The trio has raised over $30,000 in their 2 previous events!

See how fast the pro’s are: Turn on the strava app (free download) and compare your times to some of our fastest pros who will have raced Mt. Evans in mid July.  Our fastest rider of the day on the Summit Lake to Summit segment (that’s a tough one!) may just find themselves with one of these: Westvleteren 12.

Where does the fundraising go? All money raised through Willa’s Wheels goes to the Willa Fischer Fund for Children which provides unrestricted grants to Coloradans with cancer through our Ray of Hope Cancer Foundation friends. Help us lend a hand to those with cancer who have come upon desperate times.

So, go ahead and pick an event…. Our friend James Button will be turning miles into dollars for cancer at a number of Lafayette events this summer (See Events Tab). A number of runners will take on the Colfax Marathon May 21st which includes Ray of Hope relay teams—let us know if you’d like to join. Many of us will take part in our favorite events throughout the year—Iron Horse Bicycle Classis, The Gunnison Growler, The Bailey Hundo, Firecracker 50, Breck Epic, Leadville 50/100, Bob Cook Memorial (help me expand the 1-speed turn-out at this one!), Breck 100, The StingerTelluride 100,  Breck Epic, Crested Butte 100 (strong work Jeff C!) , and Haute Route Dolomites. Have fun—try a new challenge this year!

Let's Ride,

Henry

 

The French say 'non' to disk brakes and early season action

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 by Lydia McCoy

The French say ‘Non!’ to Les Disques! Incroyable! Ce n’est pas posible! A few too many disc-related injuries in pro races and the French Cycling Federation has banned disc brakes in all of their road races events, including the Haute Route series. My close friend, the Spot 1-speed Rallye is saddened by this news as it relished climbing many a picturesque pass through quaint high alpine French towns, generally resisting forays into patisseries and boulangeries (at least in the timed sections) in the 2015 Haute Route Alps…. and was really looking forward to the 2017 Haute Route Dolomites. Speaking of which, we have a few more spots on our 9-person team:

Mark your calendars for Haute Route Dolomites in 2017. 2-Wheel Tours treated Team Willa’s Wheels to a once in a lifetime experience in the 7-day Haute Route Alps 2015 edition. We’re aiming to repeat (twice in a lifetime) with the 2017 Haute Route Dolomites which will climb over 60,000 feet in 7-days over many a famed and steep pass (www.hauteroute.com). We will be putting down individual deposits in August -- let me know if you’re interested (** we are seeking individuals with particularly hairy, unshaved legs to divert attention from Kevin and me**).

More Early Season Action: Ray of Hope and Willa’s Wheels relay teams hit the Colfax Marathon donning capes and running-t’s on a cool Sunday morning and helped move the fundraising needle. Carolyn Feller took the top step of the 30-mile masters podium in the Whiskey Off-Road in Prescott Arizona, which hosted a stellar pro field and delivered delicious, back-country riding. Our friend and Primalwear rep Taylor Ross, riding for Go4Graham, took 12th place in the Oz Road Race just 4 minutes behind United Health Care winner Danny Summerhill!

Where does the fundraising go? All money raised through Willa’s Wheels goes to Ray of Hope Cancer Foundation, which gives unrestricted grants to Coloradans with cancer who desperately need help. Since we began in 2009, we have raised over $500,000, helping provide sweet relief for many a person with cancer fallen on particularly desperate times! Note from a grant recipient:

“I am writing you at the Raymond Wentz Foundation because I really need help. My 88-year-old mother has helped me pay some bills so far, and I am thankful for that. But my bills have totaled about five times what she gets from Social Security each month.  I don’t know how I will pay for the gas to get to my appointments – it’s 70 miles round trip to the cancer center.” 

IT’S TIME….to set up your fundraising page and help us make a difference. If you created a fundraising page in 2015, it’s still there--edit the content and set a new fundraising goal.  Let’s turn our sweat to fundraising $$ and lend a hand. Let me or our friends at Ray of Hope know if you need assistance. (eschafer@raryofhopecolorado.org)

The Carrot: We have a tasty, dinner planned Saturday July 30th tentatively in Leadville. Commit to raising $500 or more on your Willa’s Wheels-Ray of Hope fundraising page in 2016, let us know, and join us for a fun celebration (always room to sleep—beds, floor, tent-space, or Harper’s tree-house).

Fun events on the horizon: Many of us will take part in the next few weeks in: The Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, The Gunnison Growler, and Mike Mac’s Firebird 40 (designated the Colorado x-country championships).

Have fun—try a new challenge this year: a few of us will take on the Gunnison Meowler (bike 20, run 10, bike 20 at Gunnison’s Harman Rocks) this weekend; join me with a 1-speed ride in the Mt. Evans Hill Climb; head East and join Jeff in the Shenandoah 100; …. try that triathlon you’ve had your eye on…..

As a Willa’s Wheels rider, join the Spot Ambassador program and enjoy various benefits and steep discounts on bikes that make riding even more fun. My kids took one look at the 1-speed Rallye and said ‘you need that bike!’….right in front of wife Stacy (without being prepped…I promise). Sign up at:

Ambassador Program Link:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VK3ZMX5

 

And, check out Spot’s newly introduced full suspension Rollik - https://www.dropbox.com/s/1qyfz37j4rrsswx/Rollik%20DNA.pdf?dl=0

 

 

 

 

June update - highlights from Iron Horse and Gunnison Growler/Meowler

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 by Lydia McCoy

Iron Horse Highlights – a lonely 1-speed road ride?

Murray Trosterman, age 2, took this one pretty seriously, cheering wildly for mom and dad as they tandemed his burley up the steep Colbank climb for a strong summit finish.  Look for Murray to be shredding the single track quite soon and pedaling alongside Adam and Kristina as they continue their 2-wheeled exploration across continents.

As expected, Wiila’s Wheel’s riders challenged each other at the finish line – we are still examining the photo finish of David H and Ari M (should 1 elbow throw result in relegation ?). Carolyn F, as always, put in a strong ride, winning her division (she is 2 for 2 this year, also taking the Master’s division in the Whiskey Off-Road 30-mile!). 

It’s true – the 1-speed road ride usually invites solitude and meditation on 2 wheels. So, the Spot Rallye was delighted to see another frog green Rallye in our masters division. And then, for reasons unexplained, the lead riders let us hang on until Mile 28, just before the big climbs. Though the Rallye was tempted by inviting single-track on the sidelines (it is a X-bike after all), it stayed on course and enjoyed enthusiastic family support on the final stretch down Main Street Silverton, a small Colorado Mountain town at 9300 feet in an idyllic setting.

The prevailing winds, barometric pressure, alignment of  stars, and other unexplained forces uniformly slowed times, including for the pro women (2h48) and pro men (2h30) which were the slowest in recent memory, Mara Abbott,, 2x winner of the Giro Rosa and 6x winner of the Tour of Gila (including this year) won the women’s pros for the 6th time.The men’s pro division ended in a 5-man sprint with legend Ned Overend (He is now 60 years old!) finishing 3rd ahead of Todd Wells!

Gunnison Growler/Meowler do not disappoint

I did not know what to expect from the Meowler duathlon (mtn bike 16 miles, trail run 10, bike 16), but I was pretty sure I liked my chances at the 1-speed crown….by default, thinking I’d be the only 1-speeder….I was wrong! I was immediately passed by 2 highly energetic 1-speeders. One faded on the second bike leg, but the other held strong on a fully rigid Canondale for 7th place overall. Consider the 3rd annual Meowler in 2017 as a way to inspire some quite fun X-training and lead you to some nice late Spring fitness.

Humble Dave Wiens, hall of fame mountain biker (inducted before winning the Leadville 100 5 times), puts on a great event in the Growler which takes you on extensive single track up and over many-a-crazy Western Slope rock formations. Hats off to Liz C (3rd in her division); to sir Jeff for leaving everything on the course amongst a super strong 1-speed field to finish 5th. Taylor, riding for Go4Graham (see below), continues to thrive on 2-wheels with an 8th place overall finish in an event that draws some of Colorado’s best back-country mountain bikers. Sir Stig got a taste of the single track  on his 1st mountain bike ride of the year, and has his sights on the 2017 edition.

 

IT’S TIME….to set up your fundraising page at www.willaswheels.org and help us make a difference. If you created a fundraising page in 2015, it’s still there--edit the content and set a new fundraising goal.  Let’s turn our sweat to fundraising $$ and lend a hand. Let me or our friends at Ray of Hope know if you need assistance. (eschafer@raryofhopecolorado.org , Erica Schafer)

Where does the money go? All money raised through Willa’s Wheels goes to Ray of Hope Cancer Foundation, which gives unrestricted grants to Coloradans with cancer who desperately need help. Since we began in 2009, we have raised over $500,000, helping provide sweet relief for many a person with cancer fallen on particularly desperate times. Note from a grant recipient:

“Seven months ago we had our home foreclosed on and had to move into a garage. Two months ago we received the news that my husband had cancer. We cannot put into words the gratitude we have for the gift of help and the hope you have given us. When everything looked so dark, your Foundation brightened up our lives. We will never forget the hand up you have given us.”

Let us know if you can join us for.... a tasty, dinner planned Saturday July 30th at our place in Leadville. Commit to raising $500 or more on your Willa’s Wheels-Ray of Hope fundraising page in 2016, let us know, and join us for a fun celebration (always room to sleep—beds, floor, tent-space, or Harper’s tree-house).

Join in on an event for a great cause:

A message from our friend Will Stingley:

Hey Friends, 

Would love to see you this Saturday if you can make it for a special event for this group-GO4GRAHAM-that has been started in honor of Graham to raise money and awareness for depression.

You're invited! Joyride Brewing will donate $1 from every pint purchased to fight depression. 

Joyride Brewery 2501 Sheridan Blvd, Edgewater, CO 80214

This Saturday June 11, Noon-4pm.

GO4GRAHAM is a movement for mental health. It is a group of runners, bikers, and adventurers who are raising depression awareness and fighting the stigma of depression. GO4GRAHAM supports the University of Colorado Johnson Depression Center and their groundbreaking work. It was created to honor our brother, friend, and son, Graham Stingley, who suffered from depression throughout his short yet profound life.

If you want to donate but can't make it, click this link.

If you want to join our team or get involved, contact Will at wstingley@gmail.com or 719-338-4970

Some sobering statistics to remind everyone how and why their donation will be used:

-1 in 5 people suffer from depression over the course of their lifetime

-Colorado has the 7th highest suicide rate in the country

-Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide

The University of Colorado Johnson Depression Center believes that when people suffering from mental illness get the right treatment at the right time, it can change the course of their lives. Every day, they bring leading edge research and a team approach to treating patients, and they work in the community to raise awareness about mental health. Because their patients are proof that when people get the care they need, they can live happy, healthy lives.

Leadville does not disappoint, recent updates, and a look ahead

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 by Lydia McCoy

Leadville 100 arrives:  Great thanks to cycling from all corners for flying our colors. They came from places without much climbing (or altitude) – Stan Prutz and Joe Long from Baton Rouge (Stan uses the Mississippi Bridge to train for climbs), and Adam Hill from Orillia, Ontario (maximum sustained climb 100 meters? – would be more impressive if they would only change over to the foot system). Stan decided to add 700 base miles to his training 10 days before Leadville by competing in the inaugural trans-South Dakota race. He was ‘taking it easy’ until he looked at the GPS locator at 7 p.m. with  350 mile to go and realized he could win…..if he took no brakes the rest of the way.  So, he pedaled  his gravel bike almost continuously for 38 hours to take victory!. After spending time in a monastery where he ate, slept, preyed, and road his bike, Joe emerged as cycling phenom and is the reigning Louisianna Cat 1 road race champion. During his lead-up to Leadville, he was seen sneaking down to Denver to compete in the cat 1 criterium state championships. Adam, a respiratory therapist,  simulated high altitude oxygen levels on his trainer and dialed in some impressive training – including a ride that was 102 miles and, I think, within feet of the Leadville course length (he did of course take a pulse oximeter with him to Leadville – I’m not sure if he had it on during the race?).

 

Does Leadville ever go according to plan? Often not. By mile 90 Stan had 2 broken spokes and successfully navigated a wobbly bike to the finish line. Joe was going super strong and started to feel hints of depletion at mile 80 on the Power Line ascent. By mile 90, he was severely  dehydrated, having to walk his bike as the finish line approached, yet still managed to finish in 9h 35m. I think many of us would have raiseed the flag and Joe wins the Pure Heart award. Well, maybe Leadville does sometimes go according to plan – Adam targeted 8 hours and put it into Turbo the last 5 miles to finish in 69th place and 7h 59m!

 

And, of course, there is pediatric surgeon Sir Stig who was looking to again go under 7 hours and finished  fast in 7h 17m and 21st place, his ‘slowest’ Leadville 100 time (“It showed me that riding 2x per week is not enough”)! Congrats to Micki Harris for another solid belt buckle performance.  Micki is kindred spirits with Stan completing such insane endurance  events as the Breck 100 and Dirty Kanza 200. And, a tip of the hat to our Primal  apparel Rep and friend Taylor Ross who rode alongside famed bikers, like Laurens Ten Dam, to Twin Lakes and finished in 27th place in 7h 25m riding for a great cause, Go4Graham. Taylor lost a bottleand electrolyte bag and fought cramps from the top of Columbine all the way to the finish – impressive.

Mt. Evans Bob Cook Memorial:  This 7,000 foot climb over 28 miles from Idaho Springs to the top of Mt Evans is a sentimental favorite rememebering Bob Cook, a Cherry Creek High School Grad who won the event 5 times and was the first to break 2 hours before tragically succumbing to melanoma at age 21 back in 1981.

Ari Melmed decided a relentless climb was just the way to celebrate his 50th birthday and is noted to have carried on an intense conversation throughout with a fellow rider (and priest) about the existence of god and other existential topics. It distracted him enough (or gave an added squeeze to his adrenals) inspiring a nice 2h 52m climb. Stig was clearly deep in the suffer chamber at 11,000 feet as I descended past him and stayed steady to finish in 2h 1m, just 3 minutes off his PR. My Spot 1-speed Rallye overcame initial irritation at a flat rear tubeless tire in the first of the 28 miles, and then settled in to a nice 50*24 rhythm on a crisp, sunny morning , dodging a few fiendly mountain goats at the top. By they way, Mt. Evans really is the perfect road race 1-speed event and I look forward to a cohort of you joining the Rallye in next year’s edition.

Looking Ahead:

Shenendoah 100Sir Jeff heads East with some of the best 1-speed single track skills around for this classic event in the National Endurance Series . There’s nothing like exploring a fun, new event – what should we target in 2017?

Haute Route Dolomites 2017: 7 of our riders will head to the Dolomites in late summer 2017. This 7-day road race rides from Geneva to Venice and climbs 20,000 meters over many-a famous pass. Two Wheel Tours creates provides added carrying us back to beautiful high alpine European accomdations, out to tasty meals avec une biere grande, and then back to the start-line the next day. Let us know if you’d like a spot on the wait list for this once in a lifetime event (hmmm, is this the second time we’re doing it?).

Join us tomorrow with our Ray of Hope Friends for Wine Tasting and Auction and help those with cancer who have come upon desperate times – details and buy tickets here . Read about the foundation and stories of need and relief.

Eyebrows Raised by 1-speeders performance and re-cap of recent events

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 by Lydia McCoy

1-speeders with motors in bikes? The speed of these single geared phenoms has raised eyebrows with calls for bike x-rays as Jeff Carter took 3rd in the Bailey Hundo approaching 7 hours, behind Jason Hilgers (6h 43m!) and Vince Anderson.  None were available for comment, so we turn to quotes from pros facing the same accusations:
    
                      “It’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard” 
                           –Ryder Hesjedal, 2012 Giro D’Italia winner, quoted after his 2nd place finish this year in stage 18 pre-bike xray.              

                       “The motor is in my legs”   
                            -Fabian Cancellara after riding away from his rivals in the 2010 Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders classics.
 

Willa’s Wheels’ riders: Follow the pro’s in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge Breckenridge Time Trial

         * Breckenridge Time Trial VIP Package / Friday August 21, 2015: 2 VIP Passes to the LEXUS Club, 2 VIP Car rides (1 car)        

Ray of Hope Cancer Foundation will offer an on-line auction for this item in July. A similar VIP Time Trial package saw                                      Willa’s Wheels’ rider Max Hagan follow Christian Vande Velde throughout the time trial on his way to the 2012 overall victory. 

Coming Soon: We will have a good turn-out at the Firecracker 50 and Leadville 50 and Team String will take on the Triple Bypass…..re-cap on recent events at the bottom of this email….

Lucky Anonymous 18 match: The first 18 riders or runners to raise $1000 will receive a $1000 match to their fundraising page, courtesy of an anonymous ardent supporter or Willa’s Wheels and the Ray of Hope Cancer Foundation.

How do you start your fundraising page? At Willaswheels.org, hit ‘join team’ and personalize your fundraising template. Email your fundraising page link to friends, family, and colleagues and let them know what this cause means to you. Many have successfully used Facebook and Linked-in to connect with others about their fundraising. Need help? Our friends at Ray of Hope Cancer Foundation are there for you—email Erica (eschafer@rayofhopecolorado.org)

The Carrot: We have a tasty dinner planned at the Tennessee Pass Cookhouse Saturday August 1st after the Copper Triangle. Leadville friends Roxanne and Ty deliver gourmet elk, lamb, salmon, and chicken at their cookhouse yurt at 11,000 feet with views of Mt. Massive, Mt. Elbert and the Continental Divide.  Commit to raising $1000 or more on your Willa’s Wheels-Ray of Hope fundraising page in 2015, let us know, and we will add you to the reservation. This is a chance to meet the legendary flatlanders, who raised over $20,000 during their last fundraising drive, and have already raised more than $12,000 this year!

Where does the fundraising go? All money raised through Willa’s Wheels goes to Ray of Hope Cancer Foundation (www.rayofhopecolorado.org ), which gives unrestricted grants to Coloradans with cancer who desperately need help. Let’s turn our sweat to fundraising $$ and lend a hand.  Some messages from grant recipients:
  
 The Need:

“When I was diagnosed with cancer, I was already supporting my partner, who has complicated health problems. Money was already tight, but we were getting by.  I worked for as long as I could, but I’ve had to cut way back and take time off because I’m so sick and fatigued from my treatment. Our bills are mounting and we can’t do anything about it. For the first time, we don’t have enough money for food. I’m scared we’ll be evicted.”

“I’m a single mom, sole provider of 3 children. I was diagnosed with leukemia a few months ago. My SSDI covers rent, but that’s all. My parents help with what they can, but my dad was just laid off. I don’t know what we’re going to do.”

   The Relief:

“Seven months ago we had our home foreclosed on and had to move into a garage. Two months ago we received the news that my husband had cancer. We cannot put into words the gratitude we have for the gift of help and the hope you have given us. When everything looked so dark, your Foundation brightened up our lives. We will never forget the hand up you have given us.”

“Receiving assistance really helped with giving positive feelings that things would work out. Your assistance meant so much as it relieved stress and gave us time and space to be with our children. We are very grateful and want to thank you so much for the help, it will never be forgotten.”

“You don’t know how much this helped me. I just cashed the check last week and paid some bills and got some food. From the bottom of my heart, thank you and God bless.”

Early Season Action:
•    Gunnison Growler The back-country mountain bike terrain was spectacular. Liz Carter,took 2nd in her category and clearly is comfortable with a technical ride. Taylor Ross took 6th overall ! and may have been one of the few to actually ride those treacherous descents (he has a cracked helmet to show). Jeff Carter is always fast on challenging courses and took 5th in a stacked 1-speed field. Somehow he made it through the Full Growler on 3 bottles of fluid (my diesel engine required 6 and was asking for more!). I think he drank 4 beers afterwards, though. Congrats as well to Aaron Kessler, Shawn Bard and to Kristin Riley-Lazo. Marshall Miller succumbed to a mechanical at mile 7.   Our riders have done many-a-100 mile endurance mountain bike race, but this one may have taken the prize for over all effort, as well as fun, challenging terrain. 

•    Firebird 40: Mike Mac, Breck Epic architect, knows how to put on a fantastic event and this was no exception as he delivered a rugged back-country ride through diverse terrains with challenging descents. One stretch called ‘The World’s Greatest” was aptly named. This is one not to miss in 2016. Hats off to Willa's Wheels' 1-speed friends Vince Anderson and Carlos Vulgamott for 1st and 2nd place finishes.

•    Leadville Marathon: Rachel Farrett put on her running shoes, ran through snow atop Mosquito Pass at 13,200 feet, and found her way to a 4th place overall finish and 1st in the 40+ in the Leadville Marathon.

•    Colfax Marathon Relay Teams: Willa’s Wheels and Ray of Hope put together multiple relay teams. Custom designed Willa’s Wheels capes again made an appearance. Thanks to Robyn Moore, Erica Schafer, and Stacy for organizational efforts.

•    Iron Horse: Tandem Team Tocce-Trosterman made it to Cascade Village with 1-year old Murray in toe, just behind 58 year old Ned Overend who took 3rd overall in the pros (he is allowed to retire from open Men’s pro racing when he turns 75)!

•    Dirty Kanza 200: This year was thick with mud, but somehow Micki Harris rode and carried her bike through it to finish in 17 hours! Stan Prutz put in a valiant effort despite major mechanicals, converting his bike into a 1-speed for miles 10-70. beforebikebikebike was officially declared dead by a mechanic.

August 2015 Flatlanders impress again and midseason highlights

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 by Henry Fischer
 
Copper Triangle
Our 3 flatlanders again raised over $20,000!! How do these guys pull off this challenging high mountain ride? Grit and dedication. You can hear the rusty bearings of an aging stationary bike, pedals steadily churning in a dark, damp Columbus basement. The other 2 navigate aggressive Boston traffic to get in a few extra miles. One, some call ‘Wildebeest’, slid off his bike on a wintry day, dislocated his shoulder, and directed a startled bystander to reduce his shoulder (true).  
 
Their Copper Triangle riding strategies? The Wildebeest employed a unique ‘Segue’ technique, standing throughout the longest of descents. One shall remain unnamed who was seen darting into a Sylvan Lakes’ house, just shy of Tennessee Pass, for 2 cups of coffee and 4 slices of bacon. Flatlanders were observed sitting crossed legged beneath trees mid-way up Vail Pass—buddha-like? Praying? In the end, they all crossed the finish line and had turned their sweat to relief for cancer patients fallen upon particularly desperate times. 
 
Another knighting of a Willa’s Wheels rider: 
Sir Stig Somme was knighted long ago for various mind bending feats, like riding to 8 th place in Leadville 100 in 6 h 51m and racing up Mt. Evans under 2 hours…..He does these things while being a pediatric surgeon and father!
 
We hereby knight Sir Jeff Carter for his back breaking 1-speed efforts. He has now ridden the rugged, single-track Breck-100 6 times on a 1-speed, including a sub 10-hour ride and a victory (by 3 seconds!) in this year’s edition.  He has many podium finishes including at the Breck Epic, as well as a victory in the Bailey Hundo. Sir Jeff thrives in races, but his true love is exploring the remote back country on 2-wheels, better yet with family, friends, and maybe a tasty craft beer or two in tow.
 
Climbing to the clouds at Mt. Evans
Hats off to Adam Trosterman for making due with a finicky derailleur, riding with 1-gear at times, but making it to the top. He was definitely missing his tandem companion Kristina.
 
Triple Bypass achieved
Huge congratulations to Sonja O'Leary and Team String for riding 120 miles and climbing pver 10,000 feet while raising several thousand dollars!
 
Leadville 50 SilverRush: 
Micki (a PR), Max (strong ride as always), Marshall (Ugh, another mechanical issue), Taylor (6 th place overall in 4h 5m!), and (great thanks to my Spot Cream bike for taking me to the top step of the 1-speed podium) ‘sprinted’ up the start-line Dutch Henry Hill, navigated through old mining areas and fields of wild flowers, and back down to the 10,000 foot finish line. 
 
Leadville 100:
Micki put in a strong ride in her first edition earning her first (of many more to come) belt buckles while her wife and crew member Wendee was staying ahead getting pulled into medical consultations along the way; Taylor hit it up with 7h 28m in his first try despite a flat tire (he had to beg a spare tube off the side-lines); Sir Stig (oh Sir Stig) took 18 th place in 7h 4m, though he had only been on his mountain bike a few times this summer; I, inspired by Willa and by my Mom and Dad being on the sidelines, finished my best Leadville race in 7h 54m on a 1-speed and had the huge honor of taking the top step of the 1-speed podium; and Max completed his 10th edition just over 9 hours and may now sport a license plate size belt buckle out on the town! Our Leadville friend Ty Hall started last of 1649 riders, raised $5 through TransAmerica for every rider he passed, and finished in 168th place despite 2 flat tires, raising over $7000 for the Leadville Legacy Foundation!
 
Sadness and Perspective: Greatly saddened and heart-broken to hear of the death of Scott Ellis, possibly from a heart attack, as he climbed the Power Line ascent at about mile 80 in his 19 th edition of the Leadville 100 Mtn bike race. Our hearts go out to his friends and family.
 
Breck Epic: Hats off to Willa’s Wheels’ friend Carlos Vulgamott for an extraordinary 7 days of rugged (and fast!) back country riding to take the coveted 1-speed crown.
 
Honey Stinger: A recap thanks to Sir Jeff:
Willas Wheels had a strong presence at this wonderful event. Steep climbs, buff singletrack and a fast, fast field made for a fun day for all riders.  Brian Stevenson came out of retirement for his first race in 2 years. So of course he rode strong on a singlespeed. Also in the Single speed category, Andy Leifer continues a great first season of singlespeed racing despite bee stings and tangling handlebars with a fellow competitor leading to a five minute search for his sunglasses. Even more impressive was Carla Hammer’s Queen bee participation including 6 th place in the women’s pro open field, 15 th place in the marathon and 4 th place overall. Wow! I’ve done a lot of mountain bike races and never have I considered running a marathon the following day. Marshall Miller had a fun day and despite my love of single speeds, I couldn’t help but look at his all carbon full suspension Yeti with a fair amount of envy. Aaron Kessler opted for the smart choice of the duo, riding one lap instead of two. He looked a little too fresh at the finish I’ll mention. Rachel Farrett  had a fun day and found me in the beer line of all places. Speaking of, I managed to chug a full PBR at the last aid station and keep it down to the finish which was my notable accomplishment for the day.  As the season winds down, it was great to see so many pink and green kits and smiling faces in Steamboat.
 
Coming Soon: 
Our Canadian friends (Rob and Kevin) lead our team of 6 up and over many famous Alps passes for a total of 65,000 feet climbing in 7 days starting this Sunday.  
 
For the Love of Raymond Wine Tasting and Auction: join us on September 26 th from 6-9 p.m. at the University of Denver’s Knoebel School for Hospitality Management. Learn more and buy tickets at www.rayofhopecolorado.org under events. 
 
Welcome to our new partners:
 
Spot: Spot identifies with our cancer connection offering extreme discounts for Willa’s Wheels’ riders on their legendary rides. The Cream lives up to its name as the 1-speed dream machine in reviews and personal testimony (I am lucky to have such a nice bike). Check out the beautiful frames and rides for mountain biking, urban travel, and cyclocross: www.spotbrand.com.
 
Commonwealth Coffee: our aficionados claim this as the best beans in town, discounted to Willa’s Wheels’ participants. Warm up your ride with an espresso and why not end it with one as well: http://www.commonwealthcoffee.co
 
Any and All Bikes:  Family owned, Any and All Bikes operates the largest tandem only shop in Colorado and carries a large assortment of bikes to meet your needs (Recumbent, Courser, Road Urban, Adult tricycles, Cargo, Specialty bikes, both New and Used bikes): www.anyandallbikes.com
           
Thanks to long time friends and partners who continue to support our team with fantastic discounts and service: Leadville Cycles of Life with local Leadville and hart-tail 29er expertise—Brian is a master at setting up fun and fast rides (www.cyclesoflifepb.comSampson Sports where Eric engineers sleak, fast road bikes ( www.sampsonsports.com), and Tennessee Pass Cookhouse—life is good when eating elk, lamb, and salmon in their yurt at 11,000 feet with a view of the continental divide  ( www.tennesseepass.com).
 
Messages from grant recipients:
 
The Need:
“When I was diagnosed with cancer, I was already supporting my partner, who has complicated health problems. Money was already tight, but we were getting by.  I worked for as long as I could, but I’ve had to cut way back and take time off because I’m so sick and fatigued from my treatment. Our bills are mounting and we can’t do anything about it. For the first time, we don’t have enough money for food. I’m scared we’ll be evicted.”
 
“I’m a single mom, sole provider of 3 children. I was diagnosed with leukemia a few months ago. My SSDI covers rent, but that’s all. My parents help with what they can, but my dad was just laid off. I don’t know what we’re going to do.”
 
 The Relief:
“Seven months ago we had our home foreclosed on and had to move into a garage. Two months ago we received the news that my husband had cancer. We cannot put into words the gratitude we have for the gift of help and the hope you have given us. When everything looked so dark, your Foundation brightened up our lives. We will never forget the hand up you have given us.”
 
“Receiving assistance really helped with giving positive feelings that things would work out. Your assistance meant so much as it relieved stress and gave us time and space to be with our children. We are very grateful and want to thank you so much for the help, it will never be forgotten.”
 
“You don’t know how much this helped me. I just cashed the check last week and paid some bills and got some food. From the bottom of my heart, thank you and God bless.”

December 2015: Order our 2016 Apparel + Looking back at 2015 Highlights

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 by Lydia McCoy

Our Cycling Apparel is ready to order:

We kept last year’s design for our cycling bibs, jerseys, and rain shells. We have added some fun new items: cycling cap, Henley shirt, and arm warmers. Order now at:  https://shop.kitorder.com/willaswheelsDecember2015 . Note that we have extra women’s shorts and Gemini running tank tops in stock—check in with me to see if we have your size.

It’s a fun time to pick an event(s) for 2016 to target. You could:

  • Pick a fun new challenge—several us are hitting The Meowler on May 22 (40 miles of single track mountain biking with a 10 mile trail run mid-way at Gunnison’s famed Hartman Rocks)
  • Hit one of the Colorado Classics (many of us will): Mt. Evans Hill Climb, Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, Firecracker 50, a Leadville Event, the Breck Epic
  • Go Big: Maybe its time do that triathlon, marathon or endurance bike race
  • Take the path less traveled: My Rallye 1-speed will enjoy rides at The Iron Horse and Mt. Evans
  • Or, be rational: Go for a solid event(s) that will get you into the great Colorado outdoors and keep you in shape

Go Big with us in 2017? Willa’s Wheels is exploring taking a team to the Haute Route Dolomites in September 2017 with 2 Wheels Tours to add some comfort. The 7-day road bike race rides 900K from Geneva to Venice and climbs more than 21,000 meters up some really steep and famous passes…..A perfect event for the 1-speed (check it out at www.hauteroute.org and let me know if you may be interested).

Come to The Kitchen Next Door for dinner this Monday December 14 at Union Station. Mention Ray of Hope Cancer Foundation and 50% of your bill will be donated to Ray of Hope.

Team Willa’s Wheels Some highlights from 2015

Brothers McColl This multi-generation team lead by my childhood friend ran a late fall Chicago-based 10K for the 3rd year running and raised over $5,000! 10 year-old Mary Catherine sprinted to the finish (ahead of Dad) as she saw her chance to break 60 minutes (which she did); brother David paced a solid race with Uncle Michael; and 14-year old big brother James showed some wheels with a 5th place finish in 44 minutes!

The Flatlanders

As usual, the flatlanders employed creative training techniques under the most challenging of conditions (when did that Boston snow finally melt?); pulled out all their tricks during the ride (the Wildebeest’s “segue” technique on the longest of descents; unannounced off-course forages for bacon and coffee mid-ride….); and again raised over $20,000 for people with cancer who have come upon particularly desperate times.

Haute Route Alps

Great thanks to our Canadian friends for inspiring this ride up and over many a famous Alps pass with more than 20,000 meters of climbing (those meters hurt quite a bit more than feet).  This event was anticipated with respect and quiet confidence (i.e. complete fear) and inspired memorable training rides including 40,000 feet in 1 week in Baton Rouge through repeats of the 95 foot Mississippi bridge climb. 2 Wheel Tours carried us on their backs to some tasty dinners and bieres grandes (and we did not hold back).

Andy Hampsten: Andy of course is one of the most decorated U.S. riders ever (winner Giro D’Italia, Tour de Suisse twice, Tour de Romandie, Alps de Huez stage in Tour de France), and a class act. He again offered to lead a ride through the Boulder foothills followed by a tasty dinner as part of our Ray of Hope Cancer Foundation live auction.

Fantastic Efforts:

  • Micki Harris overcame rain and mud to complete the Dirty Kanza 200 (almost half the riders did not finish this one). She went on to claim a belt buckle in her 1st Leadville 100.
  • A 10th Leadville 100 finish – Max now may wear his license plated sized belt buckle around town.
  • Mt Evans, a 7000 feet climb up one of Colorado’s prized peaks: Adam Trosterman missed his ailing tandem partner Kristina and headed up solo and got to savor some 1-speed riding with a failing derailleur; Brian  
  • Honey Stinger—we had a nice turn-out for this beautiful and challenging single track course (Marshall, Aaron, Jeff, Carla, Rachel, Andy, and Brian) and I am told that some of our riders did not pass up the bacon and PBR at the last aid station.
  • Carla Hammer had many fast finishes, including 2nd place in the 36+ division in Utah’s Point to Point, and a double down at The Steamboat Stinger, completing the full mountain bike Stinger and than the Stinger Trail Marathon the next day (did anyone else do that?).
  • Sir Stig finished 1st place in the 40+ Leadville division in 7h4m (top 20 overall!) and surged ahead of Dave Wiens in the final kilometers to win the West Elks Classic, setting a course record (pretty nice results to add to his legendary palmares!).
  • Sonja O’leary chose the Triple Bypass ride as a great way to honor a friend diagnosed with breast cancer this year and had no problem climbing the 12,000 feet over 115 miles. Team String, a multi-generational team out of Pueblo also rode this event, as well as a number of other challenging road rides
  • The Colfax Marathon saw Willa’s Wheels participants on relay teams, some flying colorful Willa’s Wheel’s capes!
  • Eugene Chu again completed a full and ½ Ironman and was minutes away from qualifying for the World Championships.
  • Liz Carter put in some fine rides including a 2nd place category finish in the Gunnison Growler
  • Rachel Farrett took 4th place overall and 1st in the 40+ division in the Leadville marathon

 

The 1-speed train--Andy Leifer joined Jeff, Brian, and me and we enjoyed some fun finishes:

  • Breck 100 1-speed first place (Sir Jeff officially knighted!)
  • 1st place in the 1-speed Leadville 100 and in the Leadville 50 SilverRush
  • 1st and 3rd place in 1-speed Vail’s Off-road Outlier
  • 3rd place Bailey Hundo 1-speed
  • 3rd place Firecracker 50 1-speed
  • Andy improved upon his best time with gears in Utah’s Point to Point by 26 minutes (the 1-speed has made him stronger!)
  • 5th and 6th places in the Full Growler

A tip of the hat to our Willa’s Wheels’ friends:

  • Our Leadville friend Ty Hall started last of 1649 riders, raised $5 through TransAmerica for every rider he passed, and finished in 168th place despite 2 flat tires (otherwise, I have no doubt he would have again finished under 8 hours), raising over $7000 for the Leadville Legacy Foundation! Roxanne and Ty completed their 14th Leadville 100 and Roxanne had her best time yet (she is getting faster at 51 years old!).
  • Carlos Vulgamott won the Breck Epic 6-day 1-speed just a few weeks after becoming a father.
  • Taylor Ross had many Stellar results this season including 4th in the Vapor 125 (a very challenging 125 miles of technical single track that saw the winner finish in about 14 hours!), a 36th place finish at the Leadville 100 in 7h 28m (despite a flat tire), and a 6th place finish in The Growler and the Leadville SilverRush 50.

Successful fundraising efforts: With strong end year fundraising of $10,000 we will pass the $100,000 fundraising mark for the years, with over $350,000 since our inception. Deep appreciation for some big efforts in 2015:

  • The $10,000 club: Rob Schmults, Stacy and I
  • The $5,000 club: Brothers McColl, Pieter Cohen, Hill Harris, Carolyn Feller and David Hammer
  • The $2,000 club: Sonja O’Leary, Stig Somme, Izzy Hurley, Team String, Bill Stanley, Max Hagan
  • And great thanks to the many others who helped us move the fundraising needle

September 2015: 

Team Willa’s Wheels takes on Haute Route Alps

Training Tips: This was an event for climbers with 65,000 feet elevation gain over many a famous Alps pass where you gaze down upon inscriptions painted on the pavement urging on Tour de France riders. Our Orillia, Canada friends Rob and Kevin overcame the challenges of their flat surroundings by doing repeats, again and again, of hills in the 100 meter or so range. This was outdone by Baton Rouge native Stan. His largest ‘hill’ was the bridge that climbs 95 feet over the Mississippi. One week he managed 40,000 feet of climbing by doing repeats over this bridge! Hill Harris’s Denver-based training was tapered by a pre-race, 1-week visit with relatives in Denmark where beer was routinely served in the late morning. Ned’s and I benefited from plenty of nearby Colorado and California hills.

Highlights (and lowlights):

Attention to Detail: Stan was meticulous in his detailed analysis and preparation for the event, traits for which his engineering firm comes highly recommended. Of course, Stan’s bike was the only one not to arrive to our starting city, Nice, France; but, he took this in stride. His rental bike served him well until Day 2 when the electronic shifter ran out of power and left him locked into 1 gear on a stage with 12,000 feet of climbing, cold rain, and a grizzly end-stage ascent of the famed Col Izoard.  His Garmin failed to boot up for the stage, so he was left computer-less and riding a 1-speed (actually, this all sounded rather familiar….).  Stan overcame the challenges and finished top 100 overall and high-up in his age 50-59 cagegory.

The Diesel Engine: Kevin is new to cycling these past couple years and shares an inspiring story of significant weight loss as he discovered cycling. He also unveiled a hidden talent as a strong and steady climber which placed him in the top 90 of an event that selects for bikers that really like mountains!

A fierce inter-team duel: It was uncanny how Rob and Ned routinely finished climbs and stages within seconds of each other. Mid week, one would send an extra round of alcoholic beverage the other’s way….Offers were made to ‘prep’ the other’s bike in the wee hours of the morning before the next stage. THEN, …stage 5 opened with the Col de Sarenne, a 3000 foot steep climb in which Ned’s Reynold’s carbon wheel buckled. He looked around for the Mavic support team who, surprisingly, took a full 2 minutes 20 seconds to replace his rear wheel. Did Rob notice the mechanics working on Ned’s bike before surging ahead? We will debate this for year’s to come. Ultimately, Rob took a page out of his compatriot Ryder Hesjedal’s play-book with a steady rise in his wattage during the latter stages.

A strong showing: Hill had his back against the wall as he was under the weather when the event started. It did not help that he was served plentiful beer at his family reunion in the week preceding the Haute Route. He rode super strong into the 4th stage and then made the wise decision to call it quits until our next bike adventure.

A tip of the Hat: Our 2 Wheels Tour leader, Will Levy, rode each stage; took photos of us and posted them that evening; meticulously organized his support team and all the logistics; seemed to ride as fast as he wanted…..Oh, he also rode the Haute Route Pyrenees the week before and Haute Route Dolomites the week after (over 180,000 feet of climbing—6 “Everests”)!

Haute Route Alps was meant for a 1-speed: It’s true, we were either riding up, or riding down. OK, maybe 1 gear was not everyone’s choice for this one…..Well, Ok, I was the only 1-speeder of 500 riders…..And those first 2 days they threw in some really, really steep end-stage climbs, Col de Auron and Col de Izoard, that left me whimpering and wondering if the 50*24 gear was a bit too stiff….but the body grew used to it. And, it certainly was a great conversation starter. Some got rather animated, insisting that that my 1-speed belt really could shift gears. Then there were the French enthusiasts along the side of the road who frequently called out: “Un single!”. Tour de France founder Henri Desgrange’s refrain must still be ringing in their ears:

"I still feel that variable gears are only for people over 45. Isn’t it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailleur? We are getting soft.”      ……circa 1901                      

In the end, the Spot Rallye  provided my most fun competitive bike ride to date (by the way, our cancer cause resonates strongly at www.spotbrand.com and they set Willa’s Wheels’ riders up with sweet deals)….I’m pretty sure the Rallye will enjoy a ride up Mt. Evans in next year’s Citizen’s race.

Park City’s Point to Point

Carla and Andy enjoyed some fun single track out of Park City, Utah. Carla took 2nd in the 36+ division (she just entered this division this year) and the1-speed made Andy stronger as he improved upon his PR (with gears) by 26 minutes!

Kits have arrived and are looking sharp and a look ahead to 2016 season

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 by Lydia McCoy

Kits arrive …. and are looking sharp! Thanks to Taylor and the Primal team for helping us put this together. If you did not get in on the initial order, let us know if you’d like either bike apparel (includes arm warmers, cycling cap, shell) or running top (reply to this email).

The Carrot: We have a tasty, dinner planned Saturday July 30th tentatively in Leadville. Commit to raising $500 or more on your Willa’s Wheels-Ray of Hope fundraising page in 2016, let us know, and join us for a fun celebration (always room to sleep—beds, floor, tent-space, or Harper’s tree-house).

Where does the fundraising go? All money raised through Willa’s Wheels goes to Ray of Hope Cancer Foundation (www.rayofhopecolorado.org ), which gives unrestricted grants to Coloradans with cancer who desperately need help. We raised over $97,000 in 2015 and over $353,000 since 2011. If you created a fundraising page in 2015, it’s still there--edit the content and set a new fundraising goal.  Let’s turn our sweat to fundraising $$ and lend a hand. note from a grant recipient:

“I’m a single mom, sole provider of 3 children. I was diagnosed with leukemia a few months ago. My SSDI covers rent, but that’s all. My parents help with what they can, but my dad was just laid off. I don’t know what we’re going to do.”

The 2016 Season is upon us: a number of runners will take on the Colfax Marathon May 15th, which includes Willa’s Wheels-Ray of Hope relay teams—let us know if you’d like to join. Many of us will take part in our favorite events throughout the year—Iron Horse Bicycle Classis, The Gunnison Growler, The Bailey Hundo, Firecracker 50, Breck Epic, Leadville 50/100, Bob Cook Memorial, Breck 100, Copper Triangle, The Stinger. Have fun—try a new challenge this year: a few of us will take on the Gunnison Meowler (bike 20, run 10, bike 20 on Gunnison’s deliciious single-track0; join me with a 1-speed ride in the Mt. Evans Hill Climb; head East and join Jeff in the Shanandoah 100; …. try that triathlon you’ve had your eye on…..

Mark your calendars for Haute Route Dolomites in 2017. 2-Wheel Tours (twowheeltours.com) treated Team Willa’s Wheels to a once in a lifetime experience in the 7-day Haute Route Alps 2015 edition. We’re aiming to repeat (twice in a lifetime) with the 2017 Haute Route Dolomites which will climb over 60,000 feet in 7-days over many a famed and steep pass (www.hauteroute.com).

Spring Kick-off: Join us for a run, ride (road or mtn bike), or both from the Lookout Mtn Pillars tentatively for Saturday April 28th from 1-4 p.m. Check out our new and previous kits and enjoy a few treats and tasty beverages.

Let’s ride!

2015 kits on their way our supporters and looking back at 2014

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 by Henry Fischer

Kits are here! Primal has again helped us put together fantastic kits with new additions in a rain jacket and running ladies tank top. Our 2015 kits should arrive in early March. Prefer previous kit editions, including lighter colors?....Let me know and I’ll check our stock.

 

Our Partners:

Welcome to our new supporters:

  • Spot : Spot identifies with our cancer connection offering extreme discounts for Willa’s Wheels’ riders on their legendary rides (The Cream lives up to its name as the 1-speed dream machine in reviews and testimonies; the Honey Badger (SS or with gears) will take you through whatever back country venue calls—it don’t care; and a 1x11 titanium frame arrives in 2015 with a top notch review): www.spotbrand.com

 

  • Commonwealth Coffee: our aficionados claim this as the best beans in town, discounted to Willa’s Wheels’ participants. Warm up up your ride with an espresso and why not end it with one as well: http://www.commonwealthcoffee.co

 

  • Any and All Bikes:  Family owned, Any and All Bikes operates the largest tandem only shop in Colorado and carries a large assortment of bikes to meet your needs (Recumbent, Courser, Road Urban, Adult tricycles, Cargo, Specialty bikes, both New and Used bikes): www.anyandallbikes.com

           

Thanks to long time friends and partners who continue to support our team with fantastic discounts and service: Leadville Cycles of Life with local Leadville and hart-tail 29er expertise (www.cyclesoflifepb.com) Sampson Sports where Eric engineers sleak, fast road bikes (www.sampsonsports.com), and Tennessee Pass Cookhouse—life is good when eating elk, lamb, and salmon in their yurt at 11,000 feet with a view of the continental divide and  (www.tennesseepass.com  )

 

Words to remember (quote of the year):

"I still feel that variable gears are only for people over 45. Isn’t it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailleur? We are getting soft.”      

 

- Henri Desgrange, founder of the Tour de France………OK, circa 1901

 

Hat’s Off to Top Fundraisers (over $80,000 raised this year and over $330,000 since our inception):

The $10,000 Club: Team Hammer-Feller, Stacy + I (thanks to many generous supporters!)

            The $5,000 Club: Rachel Farrett, Tocce-Trosterman, Brothers McColl, Michelle Harris and Mike Heben

The $2000 Club: Team Carter, Hill Harris, Jennifer Gentry, Max Hagan, Robyn Moore, Laura and Davis Hurley

            And many others who have helped us move the needle: Nikki Rondinelli,

            Eugene Chu, Louisa Garrido, Michael Callahan, Sean Bard, Team

            Hammer-Leifer, Brian Graff, Marshall Miller, Tracy Johnson, Patrick Callahan,

            Darren Riethmiller

 

Looking back on a fun 2014:

  • Breck Epic: Thanks again to architect Mike McCormack for supporting our cause. This magical event took us through 6-days of pure back-country riding; down (and up) Little French shale field--bones chattering (with full suspension!); up and over wheeler pass where riders danced over Boulders on the far side (was I the only one that walked some of those sections?); and eventually to the top of Boreas Pass where kind road-siders handed-up a beer prior to the last descent (was that really PBR?....it tasted quite good).
  • Copper Triangle: Let’s face it, the start was absolutely brutal with our car thermometer reading 34F. Yet, as we drove up and over Freemont Pass towards Copper Mountain to the start at about 530 a.m., there were the die-hards biking steadily up, helmets with lights, the sun not yet quite up. Thanks to many friends joining us for a great ride! News flash: the legendary flat-landers (raised over 20K in previous edition!) have committed to the 2015 event.
  • Breck 100: Yes, this single-track 100-miler pushes the envelope. This year the badge of honor went to Kristin Riley-Lazo, Andy Leifer (1st in 50+ just over 10 hours), and Jeff Carter who completed his 5th 1-speed edition with a 2nd place finish in 9h 52m (6th overall) just behind friendly (and super-human) 1-speeder Carlos Vulgamott.
  • Leadville 50 and 100: Team DAC (Petra Storm and Dave Mack) and Team Denver Health (Tracy and Steve, Marshall, and I) joined Stig and Happy Buddha Max at the Leadville 50 where we stampeded up the start-line Dutch Henry Hill, navigated through old mining areas and fields of wild flowers, and back down to the 10,000 foot finish line. Max and I went on to bike through throngs of cheering crowds for another Pb100 adventure.

 

Miscellaneous:

  • Sir Stig took on the augural Telluride 100 (2nd place overall). Actually, the bike season is just a warm-up for the winter ski-mountaineering series for Stig. And, by the way, I tried to hang on to Stig’s back-wheel through the Catalonia Spain countryside this fall and witnessed deft bike handling with seamless navigation of busy roundabouts, as well as a road-bike descent 1500 feet down rocks and dirt.
  • Robyn Moore sliced through strong cross winds at the NY Marathon on her way to a strong finish
  • Eugene Chu flew through Boulder’s Full Ironman on a hot, hot day with a PR.
  • Rachel Farrett was seen flying up the climbs in the Breck-Epic 3-day (as a side hobby she does Xterra triathlons with a top 10 finish in her division World Championships….on a day she was feeling ‘a bit sick’!)
  • Team Tocce-Trosterman continue to climb their tandem up many a pass and there are suggestions that baby Murray may well join with his burley next season (will it have pedals?) 
  • Darren Riethmiller took on the Rocky Mountain Endurance Series and claimed victory in his division with some strong final rides!
  • Taylor Ross, our Primal rep and friend took on many an event and (among other feats) climbed to victory up Mt. Evans in Cat 3 in 2h3m! He’s taking on Stig-like qualities.
  • Team Brothers McColl took multiple generations to Chicago’s 10K and raised $6,000 in the process!
  • Carla Hammer and Andy Leifer took 2nd in their Temple Stone duo and pretty much podiums in whatever bike (or marathon event) they chose throughout the summer.
  • Indian Creek Rocky Mountain Endurance Race—Sedalia: Hats off to Team Carter for taking 2nd in SS and 1st amateur female!
  • Firecracker 50: Fun atmosphere surrounds this event starting with a downtown parade and many a high-5 delivered from the side-lines; delivering great aid support throughout; and ending with a ride through a terrain park down to the finish line. Team Carter, Max, Darren, Sean, Marshall, and I joined the fun
  • Pat Callahan: Joined brother Mica and Hill for day 4-6 Breck Epic and documented the adventure: https://mepatrick.wistia.com/medias/b9feuhuju0
  • Firebird 40: Explored some of the fine single track around Eagle with an extensive outside festival and expo.
  • 7-day 1-speed delight (Leadville 100 and Breck EPIC): This is about the best bike vacation you could ever have:  set up your cave and don’t hold back on Breckenridge food, beer, and the Blue Sage spa!

 

Who we are: Stacy and I founded Willa’s Wheels back in 2009 to honor our daughter Willa’s memory and to raise money for people who are fighting cancer….and for life’s basics. During the course of Willa’s cancer treatments, we met other kids and families battling cancer who struggled to pay bills, lost jobs, or packed up and moved as the mortgage went unpaid. Why Not? Pick an event; create a fundraising page; and turn your sweat to gold as you lend a hand to folks who have come upon particularly bad times.

 

Some words from Ray of Hope Cancer Foundation (formerly Raymond Wentz) grant recipients:

 

“I wanted to extend my thanks and appreciation for this assistance during this difficult and stressful time. This gift will go towards covering most of my heating costs for the upcoming winter. I hope in the near future I can contribute back to your fund, to assist others when they find themselves in a time of unexpected need.”

 

“Seven months ago we had our home foreclosed on and had to move into a garage. Two months ago we received the news that my husband had cancer. We cannot put into words the gratitude we have for the gift of help and the hope you have given us. When everything looked so dark, your Foundation brightened up our lives. We will never forget this hand up you have given us."

Musings from the man-cave on the Leadville 100 and Breck Epic

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 by Lydia McCoy

Leadville 100: Sometimes it’s out of your control: Max and I hit the Leadville 100. As always, it was quite an adventure—35 degrees at the mass, chaotic start. Poor Max had brand new tires and a finely-tuned bike, yet somehow got a flat on St Kevins on the way out (mile 9). He then had to work his way past many, many riders and still managed to finish just over 9 hours. As always, there were a number of bad wrecks, including Alison Powers, the reigning time-trial and road and 2013 criterium national champion (probably a pretty good bike handler?) , who got 2 flats and then fell at the top of Columbine, fileted open her leg, and had to abandon. Most riders around me were fairly laid back and friendly, but I was stunned to see 2 guys get off their bikes mid-Columbine descent and walk towards each other with fists clenched (I didn’t wait around to see what happened….and couldn’t imagine having the energy for these shenanigans after climbing that 3400 foot beast….with 45 miles still to go….).

Viewing Pb100 from the perspective of a 1-speed:  I’ve never been one for pedaling ferociously at the start of a race to get the ‘hole shot’, or lead position, but was rather dismayed to get passed by half the field, gears madly clicking, on the initial 3-mile paved descent. After some narrow bottle-neck climbs up St. Kevins, it all worked out and the race settled in. The Mindset: going into it knowing that fast trains would pass by, just a little too quickly, on the 15-miles or so of flats helped these sections pass a bit more quickly. Clicking or Grunting? Those steady clicks into that tiny, comfortable gear on steep Columbine and Power Line climbs were replaced by an awful lot of groaning and grunting Sympathy Pull: Heart-felt thanks to that now anonymous friendly soul who tapped out a do-able 1-speed pace through the stiff head wind  back to the bottom of power line The End in Sight That last deceptively painful 200 foot climb on St kevin’s became a bit more tolerable with the finish line (and man-cave retreat…see below) in sight.

Hats off: To friendly and quite fast  1-speeders  at the Breck Epic, with special mention of Most Aggressive Rider:   Dax Massey had a 30+ minute lead going in to stage 5 in 2013 when he crashed on the Wheeler Pass descent, finished the stage, but had to abandon the next day with broken ribs and a punctured lung. This year’s stage 5 saw him with a 40+ minute lead when he slid off a wet, wooden bridge 100 meters from the finish line leaving him with a dislocated shoulder. Paramedics reduced his shoulder at the finish line. He showed 4 minutes before the start to stage 6 and, though unable to raise his right arm, put in a solid ride to easily capture overall victory. What could have been: Carlos Vulgamott lost hours on stage 2 from a mechanical that left him walking to the nearest aid station. He stuck it out and found himself on all steps of \the podium for the remaining stages. The Sportsmen:Jason Hilgers kindly gave tips on the rough descents before each stage. He always offered an encouraging word on the course…..he might have lent his front wheel if you’d asked. Willa’s riders go big: Carla Hammer rode strong and consistent to 2nd in the 6-day 50+ behind an ex-pro while Andy Leifer also took 2nd in the 6-day 50+ on the heels of legend Charlie Hayes. Rachel FarrettHill Harris, and Pat and Mica Callahan rode strong 3-days. “DBF plus”: Mica planned for a DBF (Did Barely Finish) performance….and found himself holding strong to the 3rd spot on the 50+ 3-day podium. Special Mention: Eugene Chu put in a strong Full Ironman in Boulder and Kristina Tocce and Adam Trosterman took their climbing skills up Mt. Evans and Mt. Washington—one for baby Murray!

Secrets to having a good time during the 7-day 1-speed delight (Pb100+6-day Breck Epic): The man-cave was staked out on August 8th, 1-day prior to the Pb100, in a small, damp room in Breckenridge, Colorado, slightly larger than the size of a 2-person tent. It was replete with a fully-charged remote control and an abundant supply of Lucky Charms, Azucaritas (Frosted Flakes), Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream, Ruffles potato chips, and various selections from Oskar Blues brewery. Recovery soaks in icy mountain streams were foregone and replaced by departures from the cave to the Blue Sage Spa where treatments ranged from low-pressure recovery work to full-on back walking…..Actually, it doesn’t get much better than 3-4 hours of back-country mountain biking for 6 days straight through extensive single track, across mountain streams, down shale fields, up above tree-line, back down slick rooted descents, through an enchanted Blair Witch Forest, down a terrain park, past friendly volunteers handing up your aid bag or a piece of bacon or skittles or a Coors beer…. Todd Wells (Leadville 100 champ x 2, winner La Ruta de los Conquistadores, reigning X-country national champion, 2013 Breck Epic winner,  and Olympic and World Cup Mountain Biker)  describes it well.

You know you need to work on your descending skills when:

  • During your 6-day Breck Epic, you only pass 1 rider on a descent who seemed to be suffering from vertigo after navigating a maze of never-ending tight turns
  •  A few (of the many) riders who pass by you each day shout out “Are you alright?”
  • You hide behind a tree to avoid a fast train of riders that attack the rocky, rooted, slick descent off 12,500 foot Wheeler Pass
  • You en-do on the Colorado Trail Rock Garden going 2 mph  (actually, maybe the low velocity was the problem,….but then again it didn’t hurt quite so bad
  • You lobby for a mountain top finish, far above tree-line, in the next addition
  • The race director praises your climbing skills before stage 6…..and notes a pretty fine descending coach for the off-season (actually, I might just take him up on that)

Put on your running shoes: Willa’s Wheels participants are taking aim at the Denver half and full marathons this October. Join us!

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