2022 - A Year in Review
The members were ready to up their fitness for 2022. For most, that meant Zwifting during the week and weekend outdoor rides. In order to create an incentive for everyone to start their training early, we announced the routes and dates for our 3-day road event in July. Within a couple of hours following the announcement, the event was sold out!
Because of the enthusiasm WR4 members have brought to their teams in past years, the Primal - Audi Denver Team invited WR4 to officially join them this year with the team's new name being Primal - Audi Denver - We Ride 4. WR4 members got started right away to help the team reach the ambitious goal of raising $100,000!
While the Bike MS team was underway, several of our club members were toughing out the cold, snow, and mud at the Old Man Winter Gravel event in Boulder which provided our Facebook page with some of the best photos of the year. Meanwhile, several members participated on teams at the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo mountain bike event in Tucson, affectionately referred to by the locals as “The Burning Man of Southern Arizona”!
As we started to near the end of the prime season in Tucson, it was time to make an even bigger impact in our efforts to support the Pueblo Road Warriors program before our part-time AZ residents started heading North again for the spring.
With the help of several of the students in the program, WR4 surprised them with a check for $10,000 which would go a long way toward providing them with jerseys, entry fees for events, new bikes, and various parts and accessories they struggle to pay for every year. It was an unexpected contribution in our first full season with the newly established Tucson Chapter which made it even more special.
As the WR4 team moved more toward outdoor group rides in Colorado, the event season officially kicked off with a long list that included Wildhorse Gravel, Santa Fe Century and Gravel, Mad Gravel, and Ironhorse. We even had 10 members participate in the Colfax Marathon, Colorado’s largest running event, where we have been providing the bike pacers for the past 7 events.
Finally, with the club growing by leaps and bounds, a ride-level ambassador program and ride leader program were implemented with an incentive plan to reward those who volunteer for these programs. So, if you like free stuff and meeting new members, call Sharon and she’ll help you get started in the program.
Summer is officially here. Everyone is riding themselves into mid-season form just in time for some of our annual marquee events. More than 80 members participated in what would be the last official Elephant Rock event after 35 years; one of the state’s longest-standing cycling annual traditions. This ride meant so much to so many of us. For many, it was our 1st official event, our first metric century or full century. Many friendships were made here. We even had 2 members get engaged at one of the aide stations one year. For all of us, Elephant Rock will be missed.
One week later, 35 members followed by Sharon in a private support vehicle gathered at Copper Mountain for the 6 days of Ride the Rockies with over 450 miles of riding and more than 27,000 ft of elevation gain. The route was one of the hardest in the history of the event, but everyone finished. After RTR, WR4 finished out the June event schedule with Bike MS where 37 club members rode 150 miles over 2 days while helping the PRIMAL-Audi Denver-WR4 team raise over $125,000 blowing through their ambitious $100,000 goal putting the team firmly into 2nd place for fundraising.
Once again, 50 members from the club gathered in South Fork, CO including a brave few that drove up from Tucson, for the 3rd annual WR4 3-day road event. This year’s route followed Colorado’s historic Silver Thread Scenic Byway through the towns of Creede and Lake City, up and over Slumgullion Pass. For many, it was their first time riding over 11,500 ft on a bike. Not everyone knew all 50 participants when we started but everyone made new friends by the end.
The weather was wet, cold, and challenging at times, but stunningly gorgeous when we needed it most. It was hard, it was fun, and 50 people did it together as one group working together with the help of our good friends at Summit Cycle Solutions who provided road support and amazing photography every day.
August brought an unexpected phone call to WR4. One of our event partners and his wife were working with the young daughter of a good friend who was the victim of abuse. The call was requesting a bike for the young girl to help her get back and forth between her college classes and her job. Not something that WR4 typically takes on, but thanks to the quick thinking of one of our Board members, Rob Burton, we were able to find her a new bike within just a few days. In addition to several donations from other members, we were also able to provide several other accessories to help with her commute. The power of the WR4's members' commitment to helping others is unconditional and truly amazing.
Prior to September, Trinidad was just a town that passed by the window of our cars on the way to somewhere else. Maybe we stopped there for gas or a quick food stop but most of us never thought about staying overnight or visiting the town. But on a sunny warm day in May, on their drive back to Denver for the summer, John and Sharon decided to stop and see what all the talk was about Trinidad becoming the Gravel Bike hub of Southern Colorado. Sharon still wasn’t back on the bike at the time following her February crash that fractured her pelvis. So, she and John drove all the routes for a day and a half. When it was over, they had everything they needed to organize 3 days of gravel rides 4 months later. Fast forward to September. The weather was perfect. The town was charming. And for 3 days, 30 WR4 members rode the remote scenic gravel roads on the outskirts of town and when it was over, everyone agreed we’d be back.
It takes months of hard work from a small army of people to put on a fundraising event that only lasts for a couple of hours on one evening. But that doesn’t discourage the WR4 fundraising event team. Led by our Executive Director, Sharon Madison, the team includes Prilla O’Connell, Wendy Miller, and a few others from Lucky to Ride.
Impressively, this team brought together 250 members and supporters at Audi Denver for the Tour de Lucky gala. When the night was over, the event raised over $100,000, with $85,000 of that coming from WR4 members. All proceeds from this event went to our Denver chapter nonprofit partner, Lucky to Ride, to support their programming aimed at getting more under-served kids outdoors and on bikes.