Make Your Miles Matter for Colorado Cancer Patients in Need

A look ahead to 2019

Thursday, February 7, 2019 by Henry FIscher


Looking ahead: Team Willa’s Wheels Adventure Ride June 2019

  • This informal team ride supported by Ray of Hope Cancer Foundation and Button Button Real Estate will start and finish in Louisville (Colorado!)
  • Choose your passion: some of us will take on  “Jeff’s Big Adventure Ride” which promises scenic road riding with plenty of climbing, some gravel-dirt, and a couple of gut-punching pitches over about 60 miles; others the “Scenic Road Tour” over about 35 miles on paved roads with 2000 feet of climbing; or a 10ish K fun run; or, just hang out at home base abutting an open space area with plenty of tasty food and drinks
  • We encourage: fun bike choices – maybe it’s your chance to ride a tandem; or to dig up a classic pre 1987 frame (Miles where are you?); or to find meditation in a 1-speed.
  • We promise: a fun, unique event with extra tasty food and beverages and a few choice prizes for compelling bike choices. Spread the word!

Pike’s Peak Ascent:

  • Join us on the Pike’s Peak ascent as part of the Haute Route race. The profile of this one is impressive and reminds of those steep Haute Route Dolomite climbs.

Other Events to Consider: Our colors will be flown at a number of events:Mt Evans Hill Climb, Firecracker 50, Mountain bike through the Teton National Park in Grand Targhee resort’s Pierre’s Hole,,  The Leadville Race Series….or get together with some friends and choose your own challenge.



Colfax Marathon on May 18th & 19th: 7 races to choose from

Thursday, February 28, 2019 by Tiffani Lennon

COLFAX MARATHON:    Saturday, May 18 & Sunday, May 19, 201at Denver’s City Park

  • Post-race party at the Charity Village including free lunch, beer and giveaways
  • Be sure to visit Ray of Hope's tent for a big congratulations and picture after your race

Make Your Miles Matter. See how we will reward you for your fundraising.




¶ Active  Wear  T-Shirt  and Free  Fit Bit  Watch

¶ Two Tickets to ROHCF's Annual Masquerade for Hope-October 26

¶ Recognition  on Race Day

¶ Social media/newsletter feature

¶ Bragging Rights for the Entire Year



¶ Active Wear  T-Shirt

¶ Two Tickets  to ROHCF's Annual Masquerade  for  Hope--October  26


¶ Active  Wear  T-Shirt

¶ One  Ticket  to ROHCF's Masquerade  for  Hope  on  October 26,  2019




¶ Active Wear T-Shirt



Need Help with Fundraising? 720.238.5401



A successful Pike's Peak summit and our inaugural Boulder Belgian Classic

Thursday, February 7, 2019 by Luke Contreras

PIKES PEAK ASCENT HAUTE ROUTE. All 10 of us had strong rides and reached the summit of what is one of the toughest climbs around with long stretches of 9-11%. Some highlights:


Big Heart (and skills): Ari Melmed aided a downed rider on a slippery gravel descent leading to the climb and re-set a disclocated, fractured ankle.


A tip of the Hat: Will Healy raised over $3500 for our cause! He and Carina Clancy recently completed the Dirty Kanza in 17h 40m and turned to this vertically-oriented challenge, with success!


Just in Time: Stig Somme rode ahead of the GC contenders (which included some of the US’s fastest X-country pro’s – Finsterwald, Petry, Driscoll and 2-time US road race champion Matt Busche) to finish in 3rd overall (just 21 seconds behind 2nd). He descended very fast (but safely!) to his car, drove to Albequerque New Mexico, and arrived for his weekend pediatric surgery call at 5 p.m.!


Team Rallye SS: Niki Pardoe and I made it a 1-speed adventure and Niki turned a large gear to 2nd place overall in the Women’s (and looked a lot fresher than I at the end of the day!).


A strong recovery: Micki Harris dealt with wrist fracture surgery from a mountain bike fall in the Spring, yet was not to be denied the Pike’s Peak challenge.


Lending a hand to Willa’s Wheels: Taylor Ross continues to set us up with top-line, highly discounted Primalwear apparel. He encouraged me to keep pedaling (I really wanted to sit down at a bench and take a break!) and we had a very sweet high-5 arriving at the summit.


The Haute Route King: Stan Prutz completed the Haute Route quadruple last year (Pyrenees, Alps, and Dolomites in succession, as well as the Rockies – he won the age 60+ Alps along the way!) and now has Pike’s Peak on his palmares as well. He lives and trains on rather flat terrain in Baton Rouge!


Oh Brother where art thou? Every year a new 2-wheeled challenge calls and brother Ned never fails to join in on the fun. Our 2 Wheels Tour Haute Route friend and minder Will Levy (pic below) encouraged him to the summit.


Haute Route Pyrenees anyone? Speaking of which, we hit the 7-day HR Alps in 2015 and the Dolomites in 2017 with our sites now set on the 7-day Pyrenees in 2019 (late August/early September). Let me know if you’re in!



WILLA’S WHEELS INAUGURAL BOULDER COUNTY BELGIAN CLASSIC Our 15 milers (below) enjoyed a cider mill en route, the 40 milers climbed up Left Hand Canyon and Old Stagecoach Road, and the 65 milers added some gravel with the 15% grade Lickskillet and a smooth gravel descent of Sunshine Canyon. And everyone, of course, was offerred a bit of bacon, Belgian Beer, and Lamar’s Donuts! A tip of the hat to Tarl Ford for raising $2000! Huge thanks to Shannon and Todd Stevenson for hosting the event, to James Button (Button Button Real Estate) for lending much support, to Jeff Carter and Brian Stevenson for helping us design the course and event, and to our Ray of Hope friends. Stay tuned for our June 2019 edition!


Where does the money we raise go? All money raised goes to Ray of Hope Cancer Foundation which support familes of kids with cancer who have hit desperate financial times through the Willa Fischer Fund for Children.


Ethan is a 2-year old neuroblastoma patient who was diagnosed with

cancer in early August 2017. His mom said that her energetic son went

from a typical 2-year old to not being able to walk in just three weeks.

After months of difficult treatment, Ethan can walk again. Ethan’s mom

and dad never missed a medical appointment, and his father eventually

lost his job due to too many work absences. Their expenses quickly

outpaced their income and savings, and fell behind on their mortgage.

Fortunately, Ethan’s family received a grant from the Willa Fischer Fund

for Children.


Coming Soon:


Huge thanks to James Button for awareness of Ray & Willa on 7/4 at Waneka Lake in Lafayette!


Have a safe, fun ride for anyone joining in on the Firecracker 50!


- Henry

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

Thursday, February 7, 2019 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 ( 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. (

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:


And, check out Spot’s newly introduced full suspension Rollik -





Squaw and Juniper Passes

Thursday, February 7, 2019 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,



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

Thursday, February 7, 2019 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… 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, 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 (

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 ( ), 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.

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

Thursday, February 7, 2019 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.

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