Meet the 2017 Peak Pedalers
Meet Michael, the #RetireeBookie. You might say I'm just another retired fellow who finally has time to ride the bike, but the bicycling part has been all life long in Denver I delivered the Denver Post and Western Union telegrams on my bike as a youngster. Now that I'm retired from teaching English at an arts school, I'm writing my memoirs because we all know each of us has a book in us, every body tells a story, so you can call me the "Retiree Bookie." My last three years of commuting to work, I rode the bike seven miles each way, 115 days the last year, having finally figured out a routine for mopping off the sweat before my days in class. So bicycling became more the routine, and I've kept it up over the last year, averaging three days a week on Denver's great paths.
In addition to reviving writing from the past and logging new road trips and reminiscences, I've started a blog, elkbellows.com, which features articles on politics, humor, music, language, and the bicycled landscape, as I'm riding light rail to the end of each stop and pedaling back, noting views and vegetation, taking a few photos along with posting my route. I was a landscape designer before teaching English and writing, so the views on Ride the Rockies, which I've done a half-dozen times, and Pedal the Plains, which I rode the first four years, inspire me to write about the American landscape which Coloradans are privileged to enjoy. My cause if you can call it that is to document life in Denver and Colorado, which has changed but still remains the same through the six decades of my youth.
As a landscape designer and manager with the state of Colorado, and distinguished teacher in Denver Public Schools, I always saw my professions as public service. The writing has become my new public service, as I intend to record life on the high plains and across the mountains. Becoming a Peak Pedaler would offer a gateway to popularizing bicycling as the Rocky Mountain equivalent of playing golf with the president's where we thank each other for what we enjoy, and act to preserve it through recording it. I'm riding this year with a cool crew of industrial designers, barbers, and graphic artists. Ride the Rockies is always a treat getting to know this close-knit band of brothers, as well as hitching the harness of the larger group of tour folks who love the outdoors. Let me write the book of this Ride!
Meet Andrea, the #MidwesternBikeBabe. I am your girl for the job! I am coming to the ride as a "Total Flatlander" (defined as somebody whose most challenging altitude changes are overpasses), a Spin cycle instructor, gym owner, life long writer, hobby photographer, and a mom of five beautiful children ages 6-21, one of whom will be joining me on this ride!!
I write, journal and blog almost daily and I have just recently started a new blog site detailing my adventures on two wheels. "Midwesternbikebabe.com". I live in a small Midwestern town and I teach people daily how to get nowhere quickly on shiny bikes that have no brakes, in a studio next door to my 24 hour gym. I am both undeniably sociable and extremely extroverted, (I can talk to rocks and others often wish I would do that more, as they hand me a rock and walk away quickly). Give me a microphone and I'm Johnny Carson. Give me a bike and a microphone and I'm rolling like Jagger. Give me a pen and paper and I will loose it, but give me my IPad on full charge and I will write you a novella.
Thank you for your consideration in advance. I truly look forward to journaling my experiences and sharing them with your audience! (And mine of course!)
Meet Greg, #GatorGreg. Can a 60-year old Florida retiree living at 13 ft elevation and fueled by domestic beer and pizza successfully navigate the crushing elevations of the Rocky Mountains? We're gonna find it out in June, as my cousin's husband, Knee-Scarred Dave, and I attempt to ride every mile of this year's edition of Ride the Rockies. Oh, and forget the luxury of hotels and warm showers; we're proudly sticking with the RtR tradition of tents and sleeping bags!
I've got no social media presence whatsoever, or any other talents to speak of, other than a passion for cycling, a love of the beauty of our country, and an itch for some adventure.
We're looking forward to our first RtR, and we're taking our training fairly seriously. Dave, who's had more operations on his knees and legs than Bill Walton, is laying down miles on the prairies of Kansas, while I'm augmenting my group rides in pancake-flat Florida with a pathetic effort at hill repeats on highway overpasses. As an added incentive to train, Dave has inexplicably signed up to do the 1-day, 200 mile Dirty Kanza the week before RtR begins! That same weekend, I've chosen to try a 2-day double century at a charity ride in Michigan for Multiple Sclerosis. We're hoping these miles will help prepare us, but the Rockies are intimidating, and we've still got all sorts of questions: Will we have the right gearing, tires, brakes, spare parts and other equipment? Will the altitude sear our lungs? Will the never-ending climbs turn our legs into a quivering mass of jello? How will the temps and weather change at 10,000 feet? Will my cousin still speak to me after dragging her husband around the Rockies for a week?
While we're newbies to the mountains, we have plenty of experience on other rides. Last year, Dave convinced me to join him on RAGBRAI, a week long bike ride across Iowa, with a group of about 25 Hawkeyes he organized a few years ago called "Team Love Shack." (More on that name later!) The Team even uses an old converted school bus to haul the necessary provisions. During the ride, I learned it was possible to take 12 hours to go just 40 miles, since it's very important to taste and imbibe on what every town has to offer along the way!
So, given all that, we're really looking forward to seeing how our cycling "resume" translates to RtR. More importantly, we're counting on meeting new friends and creating lots of great memories! Who knows, if we survive, maybe we'll convince a few of the other Shackers and Flatlanders to join us next year? Perhaps we'll bring the school bus too!
See y'all on the road!
Meet Steve , the #HeartTransplantGuy. On October 21, 2016, I received a heart transplant. Imagine the headline, "He rides 447 miles on his own bike, with a heart he received from a donor just eight months ago". I'm riding RTR because my disease kept me from exercising for the last 18 years. I'm riding as part of my recovery. I'm riding to inspire people everywhere to never give up on their dreams. I'm riding to prove that it can be done. I'm riding as a thank you to the donor's family, to my doctors, nurses, cardiac therapists, and entire medical community. I'm riding to inspire transplant recipients that life can be wonderful again. And most of all, I'm riding to tell my wife and kids, and extended family and friends, thank you for their support and that my life is back! I've kept a diary of my journey, and have used my Facebook account HeartTransplantGuy as a way to share my story. As my health has improved I've written less (hey, I've been on my bike training!) and blogging for RTR will be the perfect reason to get me writing again!
Every year we look for a few enthusiastic riders who share our excitement for Ride The Rockies to join forces with us and become guest bloggers. These “Peak Pedalers” help us capture the spirit and tell the story of the summer’s ride. Peak Pedalers have the opportunity to tell their stories through photos and blog posts as they train during the weeks leading up to the event and while exploring Colorado during the ride itself. Contestants submitted a photo and writing sample, explaining why they'd make an ideal Peak Pedaler. After a week of voting on social media, where contestants rallied their friends and fans to vote on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, finalists with the most votes were handed over to the ride organizers, who decided on the finalists based on the unique perspective they'd bring to the RTR blog. This year’s winners are Greg AKA “Gator Greg” coming from Estero, FL, Michael the “Retiree Bookie” from Denver, CO, Andrea known as the “Midwestern Bike Babe” from Sherman, IL and the “Heart Transplant Guy” is Steve from Evergreen, CO.