From the Ground Up 

The Stories of 3 Newcomers Taking the Start Line at This Year’s Leadville Trail 100

An event with as much history, recognition, and clout as the Leadville Trail 100 is a milestone for almost any endurance athlete. Every August, we see seasoned veterans of all types toe the line on Harrison Ave., taking on the challenge of the Race Across the Sky. The countless training hours and years of practice that prepare an athlete for an endeavor like this are the unspoken war stories that make up the foundation of each rider’s journey. 

But what if this was all new to you? What if you had never ridden a mountain bike and someone gave you the chance to tackle this behemoth of a race with less than a year to prepare?

The 3 athletes selected in Ryan Petry and Alexey Vermeulen’s project, From the Ground Up are just that. They are complete newcomers to the sport that have taken a different path than the average LT100 athlete. They aren’t lifelong endurance athletes with years of experience, they’re everyday people with some extraordinary motivation to finish this race. They’ve all landed here for different reasons, and they’re ready to share their stories. 

Over the next couple of months, we’ll be following along with Enzo Moscarella, Shawna Anderson and Roberta Nuńez as they prepare to tackle the LT100. But first, let’s take a moment to get to know them and hear their stories. 

Enzo Moscarella:

Location: Queens, NY

Age: 34

Job: Decorative Plaster Artist

How did you first hear about this project, what went through your head when you saw it?

I was actually going through the process of deleting all my social media and came across the post based off of another page I must have followed. I took a screenshot of the image and clicked through the website and saved it. Later that night I must have watched Alexey and Ryan go over the project 10 times, hitting refresh on the page to prompt the video to play again. 

The next day I asked my sister to help me try and film a submission video. 

I figured ‘why not’ and hoped that it would be the jump start to something but expecting nothing to come about from it. It was fun trying to plan and shoot the video not really having to worry I would be selected. It was already such a good feeling focusing on that process and putting a tiny bit of my story out into the universe. 

  • Enzo was a bit of an enigma to all of us, his video was quirky, yet it was nearly impossible to take your eyes away. From re-finding his love for the bike in March of 2020, it has been intoxicating to hear and see his outlook on life and how he uses the bike as a vehicle.

Ask him about his mask collection!

 

Shawna Anderson

Location: Superior, WI

Age: 47

Job: Transition Coordinator working with Special Education Students

How did you first hear about this project, what went through your head when you saw it?

I believe it was in the Women’s Gravel Cycle group on Facebook. When I saw it, I thought of a friend of mine who likes a good challenge. I shared it with them and yet somehow it was me that applied. (Still not sure how that all went down, but glad it did.) I applied on a whim, without really doing a whole lot of research on what Leadville was, what it entailed, who was involved, etc. I just thought it was a long-shot that I would never be involved in but would kick myself if I didn’t apply. Needless to say, I’ve learned a lot since then. 

  • “Shawna has been riding bike for a few years, but not how you and I ride bikes – she rides them on Lake Superior in the winter – Needless to say she is one tough cookie. I remember the first time that we saw Shawna’s video we knew she was going to be part of our ‘team’. From her desire to better herself, to yearning to take on something as grand as the Leadville Trail 100, Shawna wanted to see what she is made of and we are all behind her!”

Ask her about her dog – OBIE!

Roberta Nuñez

Location: Boston, MA

Age: 30

Job: ICU Nurse

How did you first hear about this project, what went through your head when you saw it?

Applying to From The Ground Up happened by chance. I had been watching some Pink Bike videos when an ad for Pearl Izumi came up. I clicked the ad and wanted to get to their webpage via Instagram but was brought to FTGU application page instead. It was 2am and my heart was pounding – I couldn’t believe it. It’s been a huge dream of mine to get into MTB and here is this amazing project that can make it all come true!

  • “Roberta is an ICU nurse who has seen the worst of Covid and stayed positive the entire time. She began using the bike rides to and from the hospital as a way to separate herself from the difficult times at work. When we saw Roberta’s application video Ryan and I saw a girl ready to take on anything that stood in her way while helping motivate and encourage everyone else along the journey.” – Alexey Vermeulen

Ask her about where her indoor trainer is setup!

From the Ground Up Project Coordinators, Coach’s and Mentors: 

Alexey Vermeulen

Alexey Vermeulen started his career on the road with aspirations of making it to the World Tour. After racing for BMC development team and Lotto Jumbo he made a transition to the dirt, believing that the sponsorship model in professional cycling was flawed and that he could make more of an impact on the dirt. As this dream has progressed Alexey has been happy to find success not only in racing, but in community initiatives that in his mind provide as much promotion to a sponsor as a race win.

Follow Alexey on Instagram here. 

Ryan Petry

Ryan Petry is a professional endurance mountain biker and adventure athlete. Over the past 6 years living in Boulder, CO he’s earned a step on podiums at the hardest marathon cross-country races in the country. He has taken that endurance and speed and gradually shifted focus to push the limits of how far and fast he can move through the mountains on the adventures he dreams up. As a marketing professional, Ryan enjoys bringing riders and brands together through creative solutions that fill each other’s needs.

Follow Ryan on Instagram here.