On Friday June 26 at 5:30am four members of Velorosa Cycling team took on the the Break The Cycle 200.
Break the Cycle uses one day – two hundred mile ride and run relay events to create awareness and raise funds to help those caught in the horrible reality of human trafficking in the U.S. and around the World.
They pride themselves on being a group who are crazy enough to complete 200 miles in one day in order to reduce, recover, and restore human trafficking survivors. Because of this, Break The Cycle 200 is not just a fun ride and run, but an opportunity to help others.
In past years the ride departs from Des Moines and takes a route to Okoboji, but due to Covid restrictions and wanting to keep the riders and volunteers as safe as possible, the route and ride changed and took place in small groups utilizing the Raccoon River Valley Trail.
Following an impressive early morning thunder storm, the rain stopped around 5am, just as riders began to arrive and get ready for the day. Beginning at 5:30am in Panora and departing every five minutes, groups of 6 riders started pedaling for the day. The last group of riders finished around 8pm.
Team “Pink” & Pete consisted of 6 brave riders, four of those riders were our very own Velorosa Vixens; Deanne Herr, Rose Willey, Krystyn Williams and Catherine Cluney. The day brought all kinds of weather, winds and adventures. Starting with watching an early morning sunrise just as a deer family decided to cross in front of them on the trail, many piles of mulberries, muddy puddles and getting caught in rain storms twice. With a ride time of 10hrs & 53 minutes and an average pace of 18.3 mph they finished the day around 6:45pm. Here are some recaps of the day from each of the Velorosa riders.
Catherine Cluney -“Our group of 6 took off at a fast start. We had some very strong riders pulling our team at a pace around 20mph. For me - this was fast! I struggled with keeping the team pace despite all the help of my team to put me in better drafting spots and their guidance. I made that pace for 60 miles and then had to stop. I then rode an additional 59 miles at my pace on some tired legs for a total of 119 miles for the day.
I learned some things, got to ride my bike with my friends, and met some amazing people! I’m so impressed with all the people that organize this ride and the generosity of encouragement from the volunteers. I enjoyed talking to everyone throughout the day. Learning about them, their family, experiences with the ride and their “why”.
For me, the reason for the ride was feeling like I am helping someone I may never know but needs help. That was a great motivator. My favorite part of the day was when Krystyn and I rode a section together and she impressed me with her “rap” skills! I am looking forward to taking on the challenge again next year in 2021. I hope we made some progress in bringing awareness about human trafficking and help those that have been and continue to be victims.
Krystyn Williams - “Break the Cycle was the most incredibly challenging and emotional experience for me. I am forever grateful for the support and encouragement I received from Team Pink as well as so many other riders. The volunteers for this were absolutely amazing.
I'm somewhat disappointed, I showed up ready to take on 200 but glad I was able to complete 150 miles for the day. While that’s no small achievement, I’m working on my why. After I finished for the day I was approached by some people asking about our BTC200 ride shirts. One was a doctor who shared at their clinic they have a system in place that uses a sticker to allow victims to signal for help. This was very eye opening how closely human trafficking hits home. It was never just about me riding my bike. For me, this was about giving a voice to the voiceless and providing support to victims of human trafficking.
Thank you to everyone who was able to donate as well as those that offered their words of encouragement. I will be back next year!
Rose Willey - “This was my 2nd time riding the BTC200. I knew immediately after finishing last year I wanted to do it all again. The ride, the fund raising for a worthwhile cause, the challenge, the opportunity to use my bike and voice to make a difference.
I had two goals for the year. Raise more funds than I did in 2019 and be a stronger rider who could help contribute more to the group for the day. With that in mind I began training a lot earlier this year and worked on improving my ability to maintain faster speeds as well as my leg strength.
While it was my second time doing the ride, this version was very different from prior years. Instead of a large peloton sharing to workload, the smaller groups made it both more intimate and also more difficult. I’m grateful for the team I had for the day, we looked out for and encouraged each other all day long. I can’t say enough for the volunteers who manned the aid stations in Perry, Adel and Panora. We couldn’t do this without you. Seriously, they put a NASCAR pit crew to shame with their precision timing, help and cheerful attitudes.
I have to give many thanks to my coach, Greg Grandgeorge, for working with me and helping me be the strongest, fittest and fastest I have ever been in my life. It didn’t make the ride less of a challenge, but I was able to take on the the day in a new way, with an ability that made the challenge more enjoyable. I am proud to say I rode all 200 miles of mulberries, in the sun, rain and various winds were graced with, as well as narrowly avoiding an early morning collision with a peloton of deer!
I’m so very grateful for my tribe which is filled with people who have big hearts, brave souls and a willingness to tackle hard things! The friendships and bonds we built together during the ride are truly one of a kind. With the help of my fantastic friends and family along with these amazing athletes we achieved both my goals for 2020 by raising over $1200 and riding 201 miles for the day! THANK YOU! I’m already counting down to 2021 and look forward to tackling another 200!”
Deanne Herr - Break the Cycle 200, 2020, was different. Just like everything is different in 2020. The route was different, the format was different, there was no police escort into Arnold’s Park, no amazing omelet bar the next morning. Yet many things were the same –same fantastic organization rescuing children from human trafficking, same strong legs and big hearts cranking out 200 fast miles on a bike, same awesome volunteers, same incredible feeling of accomplishment, same meaningful conversations and real friendships made.
Our 6-person team was nicknamed Team Pink+Pete (Basso) because we were 5 of the 6 girls who planned to ride this year. A tragic fall a few weeks ago kept dear friend and powerhouse Dee Mable from riding with us. We all wore stickers with Dee’s name on our helmets and her infectious enthusiasm was with us even though she wasn’t. One of the best surprises of the day came when we saw Dee with her crutches and big smile at the half-way point.
Our team for the day consisted of 4 Velorosa ladies – Rose Willey,Catherine Cluney, Krystyn Williams and me, Peter Basso and Lance Peterson. What a great group of people to ride with! So many wonderful conversations and good friendships are made on a bicycle!
We only had one mechanical issue – Pete blew a tire. But he should work for Nascar as he had that tire changed in less than 2 minutes. We didn’t even have time to catch our breath before we were back on the trail!
I was excited and nervous for the day. I knew my fitness was solid (shout out to my amazing coach Greg Grandgeorge for that!) and I hoped I’d be able to really contribute this year, not just participate. I got my wish and was able to pull frequently. One of my favorite giggles of the day came when I was pulling a pace line. My teammate Lance commented to Rose that, “I can’t wait to tell people that I got my a$$ kicked by a grandma wearing a HelloKitty backpack!” 🤣 (I was wearing my pink camelback because I was carrying the first aid kit in the place where my waterbottle would usually be.)
Thank you to everyone who supported me and all of the other riders this year!! It was such a weird time to be asking for donations, yet you all showed up and donated, prayed, sent words of encouragement. I get teary-eyed every time I think about it. God willing, I will be riding another epic, crazy fast 200 miles again in 2021! I love this organization and everything they stand for and I’m humbled and proud to be able to support them in this way!”
Velorosa thanks you Catherine, Deanne, Krystyn and Rose, way to #showup for such a worthy endeavor!
If you’d like to learn more about the ride, becoming a volunteer or the work that Break the Cycle and Hope for Justice are doing to today to end modern slavery visit www.breakthecycle200.com