MEET RICK

Being asked to describe myself as an “inspiring” Peak Pedaler is somewhat of a misnomer from my point of view. I’m more of an advocate for cycling than an inspiration but, if at some point I have indeed inspired or can inspire anyone to begin or return to cycling, well, then I shall swell with pride knowing one more soul is living a healthy lifestyle among us.

I am 58 and a former smoker who grew up in the front range of Colorado. Favoring the mountains, I moved to the mountain community of Bailey. It was here that I kicked the smoking habit and discovered the two loves of my life. The first knows who she is. The other was cycling. My life had changed forever. Feeling complete and energized, I heard details of a week-long tour through the mountains called Ride the Rockies. It was 1989 and the fourth year for the organized bike ride. Eager to test my newfound passion, I managed to gain entry (with thanks to Paul Balaguer) in the 361-mile event. The organization, comradery and scenery were all beyond expectation. I had never viewed my home state this way. I was hooked and having the time of my life. I soon sought out other riders and joined the then young cycling club, Team Evergreen. I would also immerse myself further into cycling by attending Barnetts Bike Institute becoming a certified mechanic.

I managed to ride in five more tours before acting on a dream to experience the Last Frontier; Alaska. In 1996 I moved to the bedroom community of Eagle River just outside of Anchorage and found property secluded in the Eagle River Valley. I work as a Project Planning Coordinator for the largest roofing company in Alaska. I’m not sure what the title means, but it keeps me very busy. My cycling took a hiatus while building my dream log home and when I did return to the sport, I fell in love with it all over again.

For nine years, I volunteered as a bike mechanic for a local two-day fundraising cycling event called the Ride for Life. It was designed to bring awareness to colon cancer and provided screenings for those who otherwise could not afford the procedure. I couldn’t help but reflect on the terrific experiences of Ride the Rockies so in 2009 I entered the lottery, was chosen and experienced yet another week of cycling bliss. I have no intention of taking any more breaks from the sport. This year’s tour will be my 15th. I wish to be the guy that, when in my 70’s or even 80’s, can still have the passion and muster the strength to climb Independence Pass on future Ride the Rockies tours. Maybe then I will be providing inspiration.