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U.S. Ski Teamers to Race Bikes at Night—in the Desert

world-cup-dreams-foundation_1The World Cup Dreams team in Moab last year. Courtesy photoOn October 8, three current members of the U.S. Ski Team, plus six retired compatriots, will join hundreds of mountain bikers in the dust and cacti 13 miles south of Moab, Utah for the Le Mans start of the 24 Hours of Moab. When the gun goes off, World Cup racers will jockey with casual riders in pink tutus and serious pros and run 200 yards to their bikes. They’ll clip in and pedal a 15-mile circuit of red rocks, winding downhills, and wheel-eating sandpits—then relay to a teammate and repeat for the next 24 hours.


Hold on. Shouldn’t they be in Chile perfecting their tuck? That’s still the ultimate goal. But many ski racers don’t have the luxury of million dollar contracts, often paying their own travel and medical expenses. So the alpine stars are racing bikes to raise money for the World Cup Dreams Disability Fund, a nonprofit that helps Ski Team members pursue their training—or even just return to the sport after injuries.


“Last year we gave out $30,000 to 13 athletes,” says Scott Macartney, CEO of World Cup Dreams and a racer who knows a bit about returning from injuries (see Kitzbühel 2008). “Steve Nyman blew his ACL, Andrew Weibrecht had two shoulder surgeries, and Resi Stiegler blew her knee. We helped with the expenses for all of them, and the list goes on.” Last year, four Moab teams raised more than $22,000, riding a collective 1,028 miles in 24 hours. Nyman, Wiley Maple, and Nolan Kasper will represent the current U.S. Ski Team in Moab, joined by retired racers Bryon Friedman, Erik Schlopy, Macartney, Adam Cole, John Minahan, and Dane Spencer.


This year the racers hope to raise more than $30,000. “Last year my lights went out on my second night lap,” Nyman says. “I had to shadow some random person and use his light. It was sketchy but I came out clean.” —Dave MacRunnel


Visit worldcupdreams.org/donate to support the cause, and offer encouragement on the World Cup Dreams Facebook page.

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