For 10 years I was on the management side of cycling events and never once got on a road bike. I spent years helping corporations start cycling teams to raise money for multiple sclerosis at the BikeMS and even more time working with communities across the state to ensure Ride The Rockies participants felt welcome, fed and entertained after riding each day. I was also fortunate to be part of the staff that created Pedal The Plains along with the Governor’s Office five years ago.
People always asked why I didn’t I ride. The answer was easy…spandex. My body was not built for them so no thank you! About a month after “retiring” from the cycling industry I was gifted a road bike and thought it’d be rude not to try it so, on went the spandex. And I was hooked.
After achieving the first goal of actually getting on a bike, my next goal was to do a multi-day ride - but I wasn’t quite ready for Ride The Rockies. Pedal The Plains (PTP) seemed like the perfect fit an in 2012 I convened a group of friends to sign up to ride the plains. While PTP did a great job of offering educational stops and aid stations, they were missing one thing along the route…beer! Our entrepreneurial team created our own aid stations by stopping at local bars to hydrate with a few beers. Other cyclists started to follow us and before you knew it we had our first spandex party in a small bar between Yuma and Burlington. And that was just the beginning.
In 2013 it was time to take it to the next level and that is how Team Variety Pack (TVP) was born! The name is not only because we drink beers along the way but also because there are a variety of people on the team. I am proud to say that many great friendships have been built because of TVP. At this new level, I decided that in addition to our team name we should look like a team. With this new goal of looking good, I was able to pull together enough sponsor dollars to pay for full cycling kits for the team - and that made us official!
Because of our awesome group of riders and unique logo, other riders started to take notice and ask who we were. I’d like to think that we have built a reputation of being a fun, beer loving but hard riding team! Since our small inception in 2012, we have grown in numbers each year and now have an official beer man that sets up beer stops along the route in addition to a team dance, a dedicated Team Committee and our very own website. Can't get much more official than that!
Are you interested in joining or supporting us? We welcome a variety of riders (ages 21+ suggested) and there are a number of ways to sponsor TVP. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask...GO TVP!
I had heard about Pedal the Plains through Elizabeth Norris, a new friend in Denver. And at the time, I was working for First Descents, a nonprofit that offers free outdoor adventure programs for young adults with cancer. Elizabeth managed to get two entries to PTP donated to a First Descents auction, and as luck would have it, the winner ended up not being able to ride and gave me the entries. Free!
I roped in my friend Sara Distin from Boulder who had dabbled in road biking but thought it could be fun. We did a couple of training rides and somewhere along the way, I decided to use PTP as my summer challenge for First Descents. It was longer than I'd ever biked before, and as a professional fundraiser, I thought I could use this challenge to raise funds for First Descents. I set a goal of $1,000.
I hit that goal in 24 hours. So I upped it to $2500 and I surpassed that goal too. I started writing long-winded emails laced with humor and self deprecation about my horrid cycling skills (I still struggle with changing a flat) and sent them to all of my friends and family, asking them to support this crazy challenge. I took pictures on all my rides, even of my falls, and shared those photos with a lot of humility and even more pride for what I was managing to accomplish.
In the end, I rode with my friend Britte in mind. She is a cancer survivor who I met through First Descents, and the year prior, we had run a marathon together. She was my beacon of light. When I knew I was feeling down, I'd think about her, and everyone else I was raising money for. On day three, I woke up to this email from Britte:
Ok, so I'm sure you're not feeling awesome this morning with miles in front of you so I have to tell you my secret...There was a time during my chemo that I was in such unspeakable pain, really feeling like my entire body was on fire...Burning from the inside out that I actually did not think I was going to make it through the night. I even got to that momentary point in time where I was almost giving in and thinking that this was it...within the same moment I had this "ah-ha" moment...."bring the mother f'n pain" because I can feel it, and if I can feel it, I know I am still alive. So bring it... And when it came I smiled, and dared it to keep coming...which it did...and every wave was a reminder...I'm alive. So when you're out there today feeling, tired, sore, exhausted f'n smile and say BRING IT...YOU GOT THIS!
And so, we did. It was fantastic. And I wanted more than anything to be able to do it again in 2015, but life and work travel and an injury stopped me. But I'll be back in 2016!
TVP Member and 2015 Sponsor