Roaring Fork Riders are breaking away
Post Independent Staff
As an emergency room nurse, Peg Vidakovich has cared for people of all ages. Next weekend she will cycle 157 miles for Colorado’s youngest patients.
“It’s always tough to see kids who are sick,” said Vidakovich, an Aspen Valley Hospital employee who has collected nearly $1,000 for the Courage Classic July 16-18, a fund-raiser for The Children’s Hospital in Denver. “Dealing with children with life-threatening diseases takes really special people. Children’s Hospital is a phenomenal place, and the people who work there are totally dedicated.”
Vidakovich, a first-time participant in the Courage Classic with the 32-member Roaring Fork Riders team, said she is honored to ride for children with life-threatening diseases. The Glenwood Springs resident has joined longtime friend Pat Bohman and her 16-year-old daughter, Kelsey, a leukemia survivor, in training and fund raising for the three-day event that runs from Leadville to Summit County and back. If the team feels strong, members have the option of adding another 46 miles to the route, putting them over the two-century mark.
“We’ve got riders who are enthusiastic about bicycling and we’ve got riders who are enthusiastic about the hospital,” said Pat, who befriended Vidakovich when they volunteered as paramedics on Glenwood Springs ambulance runs 25 years ago. “It seems like we all ride for those reasons. The camaraderie is amazing, and we are one of the top five fund-raising teams in the Courage Classic this year.”
Although this is the first year Vidakovich will ride in the Courage Classic, the avid cyclist has experience in going the distance. In 1987, she completed a three-week cycling trip through New Zealand, averaging between 45 and 125 miles a day.
“In New Zealand you ride through all types of terrain. You see anything from coastal beachfronts to rainforests to mountains,” Vidakovich said. “There were lots of sheep.”
Vidakovich is not the only first-time Roaring Fork Riders Courage Classic cyclist. Kelsey, who will be a Glenwood Springs High School junior in the fall, recruited Glenwood Springs High School teachers Brit Boyd and Laura Hardman ” and her husband, Tal ” to join the donation-driven effort.
“I’m expecting it will be a lot of fun, but also difficult at times,” said Hardman, an English, journalism and black-and-white photography teacher. “As difficult as it will be, it will also be inspiring. What we are doing is nothing compared to what these kids have gone through.”
Hardman said Kelsey’s positive attitude has motivated her to raise nearly $400 toward the team’s $40,000 goal. Kelsey, who was a six-month Children’s Hospital patient four and a half years ago, is training for her fourth Courage Classic.
“She seems to have this quiet wisdom about her. That quiet presence is really powerful,” Hardman said. “The silly things that go on with other teenagers that they make so dramatic seem to not be as important to her.”
For Kelsey, enjoying a fit lifestyle is a main priority. She competes on her high school’s soccer team and recently completed a kayak camp for kids with cancer in Sweetwater, Colo. She trains for the Courage Classic with her mom three times a week by cycling up Red Mountain.
“I like to bike, but it depends on the climb,” said Kelsey, who was born and raised in Glenwood. “My friends joke that I’ll be the next Lance in the Tour de France.”
Like six-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, Kelsey rides her bike to prove that remission and courage are all in a day’s ride.
Contact April E. Clark: 945-8515, ext. 518
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