Tuesday, August 21, 2012

COUP de CASCADES – Washington State’s only RAAM qualifier

L to R: Larry Denke, Mick Walsh, Chris Ragsdale, Dave Preston
The 2nd annual Coup de Cascades took off with an official whistle and cheers from spectators early Saturday morning at 7:29 am Aug 18th 2012. It is the only Ultra Marathon Cycling RAAM Race in Washington State.

The Coup de Cascades is a 425 mile bicycle race route, through the Cascade Mountains, making it a RAAM qualifier. Race Across America or RAAM as it is known, has been deemed the “toughest bike race in the world”, according to some.

RAAM owner and past racer, Fred Bothling visited the Redmond Rousers Rotary Club, who are the owners and sponsors of the Coup de Cascades. He said, “the area is ripe for road racing. It’s the perfect area to train for all terrains”. With the total elevation gain of over 24,000 feet, it is an adventure to say the least. The views and overlooks are spectacular.

In November of 2011, Bothling was here to give the great news. According to all the documents submitted in their 1st race on Sept 24 & 25, 2011 the Coup de Cascades is now officially a RAAM qualifier. The hard work has paid off. The Rousers earned the RAAM worthy title. “We get to use their name and logos for the event” say Kyle, “that’s huge”.

Kelly Kyle the co-founder and Race Director of the Coup de Cascades, decided to officiate again this year from the road. “I did it solo this year, and it turned out to be a great experience. I was not disappointed or bored at anytime during the race. I feel this event could turn out to be the greatest bike race in Washington state”, says Kyle, past President of the Redmond Rousers Rotary Club. The terrain and the scope of this race all make up to be one heck of a field for athletes who love a challenge.

This year’s Solo winner was Mick Walsh with a time of 28 hours and 47 minutes. Almost 1.5 hours faster than last year’s race. The 2-man team made up of Dave Preston & Chris Ragsdale was won in 23 hours and 1 minute. Larry Denke, from Kennewick, Wa. entered the solo division, and made it 270 miles before leaving the race near Lake Chelan. The Coup de Cascades 425 mile RACE, the 100 mile Century & the 50 mile ½ century RIDES are all fundraisers for the Rousers, so the money collected goes to charities to help others locally and globally. Rotary helps kids and families and is the largest service organization in the world. There are over 1.2 million Rotarians helping others just like the Redmond Rousers do.

“All the local volunteers and club members had a wonderful time helping and being a part of something really big”, said Deana Hale with Edward Jones Investments, a sponsor of this year’s race. Another big sponsor for the Coup de Cascades this year was HAMMER nutrition. They provided lots of products for the goodies bags for all the Racers and our century Riders too. Thanks to Redmond Inn & WOM 10 for also supporting the Coup de Cascades for its 2nd year.

Polio is a disease that knows no boundaries. It’s still a big concern for all kids around the world. It can spread like wildfire. “With a non-vaccine climate growing in the USA, and globally, we might find ourselves at risk if we do not eradicate this thing NOW”, say Kyle. “It’s a virus that lives inside you that once you have it, it never goes away. It can have a devastating effect on people and even cause death in some. Most are horribly disfigured and then can’t walk, leaving them a burden on their families”.

Polio in North America and most of the world has been wiped out for many years, but it still exists in 3 countries around the world. In Afghanistan, Pakistan & Nigeria, the small villages and mountainous regions are tough to get into because of religious reason, fighting and war. Polio could come back if it is not 100 % eradicated. Our mission in the Redmond Rousers Rotary is to help get it totally eradicated off the earth. It’s been Rotary’s vision and plan for the last 25 years. Rotary has great partners like the World Health Organization, UNICEF & the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation who make the job at hand easier. Let’s all help to get this done and past us. Let’s END POLIO NOW. Go to the Coup de Cascades website www.coupdecascades.org for more info and how to help volunteer or sign up for next year’s 425 mile RACE or the local 50 and 100 mile RIDES.

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