Race Across the West 2015 Crew
As we gear up for the Race Across the West, we want to introduce you to our PHenomenal Crew! These are the people who have dedicated a week to getting this team and this cause from the starting line to the finish. Think NASCAR, at 18 miles an hour for over two days straight. So who are these intrepid souls? Read to get to know our crew!
Chuck FinderName: Chuck Finder
Occupation: Media Relations, UPMC
Why RAW?: Because the patients last year made it an experience of a lifetime.
Prior experience: RAAM 2014
Skills/passions: driving, mapping (I am a Finder), public and community relations, yelling at a balky laptop or electronic device in transit, and as a graduate of the Soup University of Cycling Tires, can change a flat.
What are your hopes for RAW 2015? Sleep; one good wash up in a clean Wal-Mart restroom; a fast and problem-free and highly successful race; plenty more patients pleased along the way….and a cure would be nice, too,
Evan RobinsonName: Evan “Soupie” Robinson
Occupation: Lead Technician for Pittsburgh Bike Share
Why did you decide to do RAW? Ultra endurance athlete Danny Chew says that when doing ultra endurance events your mind processes quadruple the amount of information you would normally take in. A week of racing (and also supporting) RAAM feels like an entire month of new experiences. Experiencing that feeling has brought me back to do RAW.
Have you done something like this before? Last year I was the mechanic and a support vehicle driver for Team PHenomenal Hope during RAAM.
What skills/passions/etc do you bring to the team? Through channeling anger and frustration I am able to do miraculous things with wrenches and profanity.
What are your hopes for RAW 2015? Survival and success. I want everyone to be OK. I want racing to about something more than racing. I want the racing to still be about racing. I hope that the team encourages more people to tackle endurance cycling events, and I hope the team encourages people to reach beyond their comfort zones.
Scott MorrisonName: Scott Morrison
Current Hometown: Pittsburgh (Ross Township)
Occupation(s): Athletic Trainer, Bike Fitter
Why did you decide to do RAW? Once in a lifetime experience to help support a team of individuals who have a passion for this type of cycling. And the ability to raise awareness for Pulmonary Hypertension. Besides, is there a better way to see the American Southwest at 12 mph then through the windshield of a mini-van following a cyclist?
Have you done something like this before? Have participated in events (crits, centuries, races etc) that require volunteers but I have never been a volunteer/crew prior to this event. Being an ATC, I am involved in team sports in a support role dealing with on field medical issues, evaluating, treating and rehabilitating those athletes to return them to play. So I am familiar of the physical and mental challenges that individuals face when involved with athletics. My role as an ATC is to support those individuals and prepare them physically to meet those challenges to reach their goals. And those athletes shouldn’t be limited to the “traditional” team sport such as Football, Soccer, Basketball, but should include cycling and other emerging sporting activities.
What skills/passions/etc do you bring to the team? I don’t think I have any special skills. I can’t sing or dance. I am a USA Weightlifing Coach. A certified bike fitter. An Athletic Trainer. Husband & Dad.
Passions: My family. Maybe that is partly why I am on this vision quest is to rediscover my passion for cycling. I have always said I don’t want to live my life sitting on the sidelines of life riding the bench. Possibly this could be my motivation to become actively engaged in living my life again – skiing, rock climbing. Things that I was passionate about in the past but as life piles up on us I have drifted away from. Maybe I will discover something new to pursue as well.
What do you hope Team PHenomenal Hope accomplishes in RAW 2015? First and foremost, I want to make sure that I don’t screw up. Secondly, I would hope to become an integral part of the crew.
“If it is not fun, then why do it” that is a Ben and Jerry’s bumper sticker that I often quote to students that I work with. And I think this applies to the adventure that we are on with RAW. So, I hope to have fun.
Pete KochupuraName: Pete Kochupura
Current Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA.
Occupation(s): Pulmonary-Critical Care physician.
Why did you decide to do RAW? Being on crew for RAAM last year was incredible. I was up for another adventure for team PH. For more on why RAW, read The Tao of Crew Blog Post.
Have you done something like this before? (What kind of related experience do you have, if any?) I was on crew for RAAM last year.
What skills/passions/etc do you bring to the team? An interest in bringing people together. And an insatiable desire to criss-cross America in a large vehicle, moving less than 20 mph, in the month of June.
What do you hope Team PHenomenal Hope accomplishes in RAW 2015? Finish the race safe and happy.
Greg FloodName: Greg “Floodsie” Flood
Current Hometown: Pittsburgh
Occupation(s): Electronics Engineer
Why did you decide to do RAW? Because spending all that time with Peter was soooo much fun last year.
Have you done something like this before? RAAM crew veteran
What skills/passions/etc do you bring to the team? I love just about anything to do with bikes: riding, photographing, watching, wrenching, or supporting.
What do you hope Team PHenomenal Hope accomplishes in RAW 2015? Besides the obvious of raising PH awareness, minimal issues and maximum fun!
Brian BlackaName: Brian Blacka
Hometown: Pittsburgh; soon to be Casper, Wyoming
Occupation: Civil Engineer
Why RAW? I’m just starting to get into biking myself, and thought RAW would be a great experience. I want to help other people ride since I’m not going to.
Have you ever done something like this before? I rode the trail from Pittsburgh to Washington DC when I graduated High School. I have never participated in an organized race before though, as a crew member or rider.
Special skills/Talents: I know a little bit about bikes and I can follow directions. I’m just going to be there to do what anyone needs me to do.
Goals for RAW 2015: I hope Team PHenomenal Hope wins! But I finishing with everybody happy will be great.
Ryann BiedlingmaierName: Ryann Biedlingmaier
Current Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA… for a few more weeks! Moving cross country for a new job after RAW
Occupation(s): Registered Nurse
Why did you decide to do RAW?: I was part of the crew with Team PH last year during RAAM. I had an amazing time and when they were looking for interest in crew for RAW I couldn’t pass it up!
Have you done something like this before? (What kind of related experience do you have, if any?): I crewed for RAAM last year. It’s nice to have that under my belt so I know a little of what to expect. RAW is still going to be a lot different than last year… shorter race, fewer riders, I’m excited to see how it goes!
What skills/passions/etc do you bring to the team? I like to to think I’m somewhat of entertainment for the team. Haha, I’m not shy once you spend several hours (or days in this case) with me. Last year I tried to do all I could to keep the racer’s spirits up. This entailed singing in the car with some of the team or radioing in some music to a sleepy rider early in the morning. I think keeping people happy and laughing encourages everyone to keep going when it gets tough.
What do you hope Team PHenomenal Hope accomplishes in RAW 2015?
I hope that team PH can accomplish working together as a team. It can get stressful and overwhelming but overall it’s a once in a lifetime experience. I want everyone to just have fun and work hard!
Carolyne WhelanName: Carolyne “Buttercup” Whelan
Nickname (that you want to be known) – in previous lives I’ve been known as Buttercup (BC for short) or Kay-Way
Current Hometown – Pixburgh
Occupation(s) – writer, bike mechanic, poster distributor, basic Jane of all trades
Why did you decide to do RAW? – I love the southwest, I’m inspired by Patty and Anne-Marie’s perseverance and spirit, and I’m always up for new experiences as adventures.
Have you done something like this before? (What kind of related experience do you have, if any?) Like RAW? No way. What else is like it? But I’ve been on bike tours and have pulled more than a healthy amount of all-nighters for the sake of a bike ride or good story
What skills/passions/etc do you bring to the team? Feel free to be creative with this one. Oh man. Pancakes? Check. Wrenching? Check. I’m pretty good at remembering strange stories and anecdotes, an am also really good at finding little things like loose nuts and bolts in the dark or dirt.
What do you hope Team PHenomenal Hope accomplishes in RAW 2015? I want everyone to be safe and have a good time, and also hope to raise more awareness for Pulmonary Hypertension. Hopefully we’ll also squeeze an ice cream in there somewhere.