Early on in her childhood, Sharon figured out her mind was a powerful engine if she fed it with the right words and actions. Her approach paid off! In her early adult years, she started in retail, finding herself being promoted as one of the youngest store managers at the Ralph Lauren shop in Cherry Creek. When she took up bike racing and put in the hard work it took, she became a top competitor. Because of her actions and thoughts that “she’s got this,” she found herself the winner of 2 gold medals at the Maccabi Games in Israel in 2013 and the Colorado Road Race State champion in 2014. Her positive energy caught the eye of a nonprofit wanting someone to build up the cycling club arm of their organization. Sharon took on the challenge and created a thriving community of cyclists who followed Sharon’s lead in supporting each other with their goals.
Not only does Sharon harness her thoughts and actions to make “it happen,” but she also knows how to “turn lemons into lemonade” when everyday life throws her curveballs. The pandemic caused the nonprofit to shut down her 6-year efforts of building up the cycling arm, where she put her whole heart and soul into its development. Yes, she was crushed by its closing, but her lemonade-making skills were put to the test—best lemonade yet, because she was determined to create a new nonprofit that would be even more robust than the previous one. We Ride 4 was born end of April 2020, where she is the Executive Director. She made sure to make her new nonprofit serve dual purposes: to build wonderful camaraderie amongst the membership, but, just as importantly, to have the organization give back to the larger community by riding 4 a local nonprofit supporting kids’ healthy lifestyles by getting them involved in outdoor fun. A round of applause for Sharon’s success with making We Ride 4 a reality!
Director of Operations
Along with Sharon Madison, John is one of the founders of We Ride 4 and is principally involved in developing and executing its long-term strategic initiatives. He is a senior executive with over 35 years of business experience. Prior to co-founding We Ride 4; he spent the last 11 years of his career as the market sales leader for Grant Thornton in the Desert and Mountain States Region. He also has over 10 years of experience in Management Consulting working with Fortune 100 C-Level executives developing strategic business and technology solutions for their global operations.
He has a B.S. in Accounting from Villanova University and an M.B.A. in Finance from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
To many members of the We Ride 4 community, he’s known as the Chief Ambassador. To others, he’s known as Juan Jose Gigante, international roadie, gravel rider, and route mapper. To those that don’t know him very well, he’s often mistakenly referred to as Mr. Madison, Sharon’s plus one. For We Ride 4, he’s a ride leader, brand ambassador, strategic advisor, and curator to our operating model. For him, it’s not how far you ride, or how fast you rode it, but how many people join him for ice cream afterward.
His average Wordle score is 3.25 guesses. His daily NY Times Mini Crossword average time is 58 seconds. His best time for a medium difficulty Sudoku puzzle is 2 minutes, 12 seconds. That leaves a lot of time every day to work on We Ride 4 business initiatives and build his portfolio as a part-time real estate developer.
When he’s not dreaming up routes for our 3-day events in Colorado every Summer, you can visit him at his house in Tucson between the first and the last snowstorms in Colorado every Winter and he’ll show you all the best road and gravel routes in Southern Arizona while helping to grow the We Ride 4 Tucson chapter. But if riding isn’t your thing, that’s ok. He knows all the best authentic taco stands in the Tucson metro area…
His favorite line for We Ride 4…” Just come and be part of it, however it works for you!”
Some people call her Prilla, some call her Ms. O'Connell, and some call her Caboose. Just recently, she added another name — Chief Editor, or for short, Storyteller, for the We Ride 4 non-profit.
For those who know her as Prilla, they probably knew she was a teacher, social worker, an avid tennis player (even ranked 5th in the State for 3.5 in 1993), and founder and Executive Director of Net Results non-profit.
Her wonderful students still call her Ms. O'Connell to this day. When Denver School of the Arts gave her an 8th grade English class in 2005, where she taught comma rules and a few other things that might not have been related to the curriculum, it never occurred to her she'd make lasting friendships with some of them. Billy follows her on Strava, and they exchange texts about their rides. Heck, he even gifted her some Rapha winter tights. Jake had asked her to be his ring bearer for his wedding. LOVE IT!
After saying "adios" to her 35+ year public education career in 2012, she opened a small private college counseling business. Her clients called her Prilla. She still giggles about giving Cameron the directive, "Write the b*tch paragraph, and we'll go from there." He got into his top choice college because he got past his b*tching and discovered new insights about himself. Priceless!
She was Prilla for the first rides with WR4. But, it became very clear, very fast, that if she wanted to be part of this wonderful group, she would have to embrace her "cabooseness." Her solution was to name herself Caboose. She loves to flashback to when many members were speeding down Jamestown while she was dredging up the climb, and them shouting, "Go Prilla, go!" She will never forget that day, and she will never take for granted all the love and encouragement that comes from this club! Embracing her "cabooseness" has paid her big dividends!
As the saying goes, "If you can't lick them, join them!". When Sharon offered her the Chief Editor/Storyteller position, she exclaimed, "I'm thrilled to JOIN the team." Yes, she gets to use her A+ "writing" skills for her A+ "riding" club.
Board of Directors
Todd is a proud third-generation Colorado mountain pioneer, born and raised in Idaho Springs. As much as Todd loved his Idaho Springs digs, he knew he needed to leave the nest to go to college. He made a point to look for colleges close to skiing and were cheap. He attended Air Force Academy, and upon graduation, he was offered a pilot training slot. This training led him to fly jets as an instructor for 5 years. Always trying to find the next most unorthodox way forward, he transitioned to special forces helicopters. Todd explains that trying to keep skiing in the beautiful state of Colorado as the main criterion for his college search was the “best mistake” he’s ever made because he ended up in a 26 year Air Force career, retiring in 2011 as a colonel and with over 300 combat hours.
Always up for the next challenge, Todd found himself working in an even more demanding role than combat when he became a 2-time superintendent of public schools for Clear County. Todd was recognized in the education field within 2 years of service with Colorado’s Excellence in Education award and was invited to attend Harvard University’s course in public education.
Todd left public education and became an executive coach and leadership consultant. Initially, he focused on public education but soon expanded his work to include corporate, non-profit, government, and higher education.
Todd has two amazing daughters, one a nurse in Colorado Springs and another a newly minted Air Force officer training to become an Air Battle Manager and eventually an Air Force pilot. His family was always involved in cycling when he was growing up. A portion of the Clear Creek bike path is dedicated to his younger brother, Scott Lancaster, who was killed in Clear Creek County by a mountain lion. Todd and Scott rode together on the first Ride the Rockies, where Scott was the youngest rider.
Todd met Sharon when she was leading another non-profit cycling club. She captured his heart and soul. When Todd learned Sharon had started her own non-profit, he jumped on board to support her. He wants to help build We Ride 4 into a scalable model so she can realize her vision of taking WR4 nationally with individual chapters interconnected across the United States.
Rob Burton comes from a long career in public and private accounting, with his latest gig morphing from a CFO of various medium-sized, privately held companies to going out on his own in 2019 with an office manager and 2 other CPAs. It didn't stop there. Instead, he established an excellent relationship with his office neighbors, another CPA firm. Before the end of the year, Burton and Company went from a 4-person operation to a partnership with Flewelling and Mitton PC, becoming a 13-person operation with a new name - Tandem!
Rob lives with his wife, Megan, an accomplished poet and author, and a beautiful yellow Labrador named Cowboy, who has captured the hearts of mom and dad, along with Rob’s dear old dad, who has taken up residence in the barn that has been converted into the "barn apartment." The clan moved to their 3-acre property in rural Larimer County in 2020. Rob has already hosted a barn concert and plans on many more - especially because Rob is taking up the mandolin and plans to be part of the show in due time. Rob and Megan have two adult daughters living in Dallas, Texas and Singapore. As he gets more settled in on his property, he plans to start a hobby farm where he will grow vegetables and wildflowers. He also wants to get Cowboy certified so the two can make regular visits to nursing homes in the area.
Rob's CPA background and his love of biking have benefitted WR4 tremendously. Rob has been a sponsor of the club since its inception as well as keeping WR4's financials in order. Rob loves riding all his bikes - yes, he's got the n + 1 formula down to a tee! He's been the club's "go-to” guy for mapping rides in Northern Colorado and leads rides when he can. His background makes him an excellent addition to the Board of Directors in his role as Treasurer.
Kennen comes to the We Ride 4 Board of Directors by way of his stellar work ethic in life, sports, and career. When Kennen takes something on, he gives it his all, and that's precisely what happened when he joined WR4 in the early fall of 2021. In early spring, he was tapped to be the WR4 co-captain for the 2022 MS ride, where WR4 had joined forces with Primal and Audi Denver to become the Primal-Audi Denver-We Ride 4 team. The team's success with more than 122 riders and raising more than 128k, with Kennen raising more than 5k himself, illustrates his natural leadership abilities.
Kennen comes from a strong background in his 17-year career in the title industry, where he worked with everything in real estate—- from builders to lenders to real estate professionals. Seeing his career path being affected by the recession in 2011, he decided to make a bold move by starting his own Realtor practice despite the plight of the economy. He has built a thriving business that can be accredited to the same work ethic that has found him success with his biking. Kennen is someone who jumps in with "all hands on deck."
Family is everything to Kennen. He credits his successes in all he does to his beloved wife, Cynthia, because of her unwavering support! The two are very proud of their sons, one a junior in college and the other a senior at DSST-Byers High School. This family has always valued taking time out of everyone's busy days and ensuring they all sit down for dinner regularly!
Kennen loves how We Ride 4's values align with his own: self-improvement, community, and riding to give to the club's partner non-profits. Because of his uncanny tenacity and drive, as a board member, he will work hard to help We Ride 4 become an even better version of itself.
Doors opened up for Adrienne when she got her first 10-speed bike for Christmas in her middle school years. She was thrilled to have a new mode of transportation to get her to and from school, to do errands, and to visit friends. She started dabbling in swimming in the 1990s as an activity she and her daughter shared. After her daughter graduated from high school, Adrienne took a hiatus. It wasn’t until she committed to the 2016 Boulder Ironman that she started doing serious training! Of course, this spitfire put in the time and crossed the finish line with her GREAT smile. She knew then she wanted to take her biking skills to the next level.
Adrienne found WR4 in 2020 but was a little chicken to join a ride. Little did she know her virgin ride would lead to great accomplishments on the bike. Never in her wildest dreams did she think she could do Ride the Rockies or some of the WR4 3-day challenging events. In just a short time, her self-doubts were replaced with newfound confidence! She never hesitates to face the next challenge her biking may present. After all, her bike is her happy place so why not “go for the gusto” is her attitude!
Well, this spitfire has the same enthusiasm off the bike. After graduating from college, she started her 15-year stint in public education. Not only did she give it her all in her teaching position, but she also jumped into the real estate market when she bought her first house at age 24. She quickly learned to be her own “handywoman,” which paid great dividends. By the time she was 40, she had accumulated 5 houses. No, she didn’t hire a handy person but kept doing the fixing up and repairs herself! Finally, the writing was on the wall, and she left her teaching career to go full-time with her own property management business. Again, she proved that she could do anything if she put her mind to it! Bring it on, Adrienne!
Adrienne is a doer with such a positive outlook on life and will be a real asset to the board and to the organization as a whole. We all are better off having Adrienne in our company--- on and off the bike! Go, Adrienne!
David Fine is a fourth- generation Coloradan who is thrilled to be part of the We Ride 4 community. David has two adult children whom he is super proud of and lives in the Park Hill neighborhood of Denver with his wife Stephanie and their somewhat annoying but lovable Sheepadoodle Oscar. While he's been a cyclist all his life, he didn't start riding seriously until he gave up competitive soccer when he realized he was a bit too old for a U-35 mens' league at age 53. It was hard to give up a sport he played in college at the D-1 level but he is thrilled to keep up an active life by cycling. When he is not cycling, skiing or hiking he spends his time at his day job as General Counsel and Secretary to the Board of Trustees of Metropolitan State University of Denver. Before taking this position, David had practiced law in Denver for over 30 years, including a stint as City Attorney under then-mayor John Hickenlooper. David remains active in Denver politics and civic life, including service on the boards of Florence Crittendon Services and the Center for Policy Studies.
Susan is the executive director of the Denver School of the Arts Friends Foundation. Her uncanny leadership abilities, strong organizational and communication skills, and her ease with effectively directing multiple projects and priorities have made her a standout. Before becoming the executive director, she was Director of Development for the DSA Friends Foundation for 6 years, where she launched a monthly giving campaign and took charge of special events, all while overseeing multiple outreach programs, writing grants, doing data management tasks and working with the board members to strategically refine foundation goals. Before her work with DSA, she was at Mullen High School for almost 9 years, first in charge of special events and then promoted to Director of Development. Because of her rich background in nonprofit work and fundraising, the other board members recognized her outstanding skillset and elected Susan to step into the role of chairperson.
Susan and her husband, John Knill, moved to Colorado in 2003 for John’s work, leaving their roots behind in Northern California. Because of the couple’s upbeat personalities, it didn’t take long for them to feel at home in Denver! Susan joined a running group who was training for the Boulder Boulder, which led to her finding a built-in community in her first year in Colorado. When the couple are not doing their thing in Denver, they like to visit their 4 adult children, who have given the couple the gift of many celebrations: 4 college graduations, 3 weddings, and 2 lovely grandchildren. Susan likes that two of the four live in Portland (one ticket to see the two). The other two live on the east coast, so again, only one plane ticket, with the bonus of their east coast travels seeing the 2 grandkids in New Jersey.
Susan has John to thank for finding We Ride 4. He joined just after WR4 became official in 2020 and always came home from rides with all smiles! Susan was kept busy with running, yoga, pilates, and biking, but she thought, “Maybe I should go check out this cycling club.” She joined in August 2020, and as much as she loves the club rides, she loves the camaraderie among the members even more. Susan had the best time on the 3-day event in the South Fork Valley in 2022, which was not an easy course. It was going up Slumgullion Pass that she realized how WR4 embraces all riders, not just the speedsters. It was raining pretty hard, and Sharon was sagging for the group. She rolled down her window and asked Susan if she wanted to sag to the top. Susan loved that there was no shame in taking up the offer. That’s when she realized just how special WR4 is.