RTR 2024 Ambassador Program

For the 2024 event we are introducing a new ambassador program! Below are our 2024 Ride the Rockies Ambassadors! These ten riders are going to be leaders among the RTR community from now to all the way through the event in June. They are from all over the U.S with a majority in Colorado. Below are their bios, cycling pictures and social media accounts. Please familiarize yourselves with them, check out their social media pages and give them a follow. They will be posting everything from training content, packing tips, rules of the road and a ton more of awesome content. We are so excited to have them onboard for the 2024 event!

Join the Ride the Rockies 2024 Strava Club!

https://www.strava.com/clubs/ridetherockies2024

Our RTR Ambassador Phil Cerenac has a training ride out of Denver! Come join him and others to train for Ride The Rockies! Below are details for the training ride. 

  • When?
    • Each Week on Wednesdays Times will vary
  • How To Join
    • Download the MeetUp App and search for Phil’s Ride
    • 720.254.6097 Text Phil with your first and last name then circut ride.
  • Where
    • Reynolds Landing, near Breckenridge Brewery, along the Platte River Trail/Mary Carter Greenway in Littleton. Full Address in screenshot.
  • This is a no-drop ride, there are plenty of options to make the ride longer or shorter if need be.

Meet Your 2024 Ride The Rockies Ambassadors

Adam Dawkins:

I got into cycling around 2014 when my uncles Tom Dea and Tim Dea introduced me to Team Samaritan House and Ride The Rockies. We raise money for Samaritan House Homeless Shelters. I have completed 6 Ride The Rockies events over the years, and each journey proves to be a truly magical experience. I enjoy the community, camaraderie, and being able to see the majesty of our state from the saddle. For a handful of years, I got into criterium racing and cyclocross racing, but now I just ride for fun. I enjoy riding long distances, climbing, and the feeling of being one with my bike and with the natural beauty of the Colorado foothills and mountains. 

Kelly Leonard:

In the early 1990’s I showed up at my first RTR alone, not knowing what to expect. Like most first timers, I was nervous about my ability to complete the ride and make friends. 30 years later, I have completed 10 RTRs including 1 prologue and 3 as a support rider; only now I am a little slower. For the first 5 or 6 RTRs, I tent camped or stayed in the gyms. Now my husband drives our small campervan.  I remember Independence Pass with wall-to-wall snow, climbing Cottonwood Pass in the dirt, fire trucks hosing us off in 100-degree weather before starting a climb at the end of a long day, and crazy games on top of the mountain passes to earn THE t-shirt. RTR is not all about the riding, spending the evenings with each community has also been a highlight of my RTR experiences. In addition to RTR, I have volunteered with a children’s cycling program in Tucson, completed self-supported bike trips, raced road and gravel bikes, and bike and barged with friends in Europe. 

Mateo Leyba:

I have lived in Colorado my entire life and have enjoyed pedaling bikes around as long as I can remember. As a young adult in the early 90’s I really caught the bike bug and in 1991 I took on my first Ride The Rockies. Not really understanding what I was getting into, It was both a lot harder and a lot more fun than I thought it would be.  Since that time I have ridden the tour 4 more times and have spent recent years racing both gravel and mountain bike events.

Megan Johnson:

Ride the Rockies has been part of my life for nearly as long as I can remember. My dad has done at least 10 RTRs and I was inspired by these rides as a kid – the changing routes, the pass climbing, the wild weather stories, and the sheer amount of time to be on a bike. It took a family health scare while I was in college to make me realize that I had always wanted to do this ride myself, even though the furthest I’d ever previously ridden was maybe 20 miles. After volunteering with a non-profit to build a road bike from recycled parts because I couldn’t afford my own, training to ride longer distances, and being set-back by ACL surgery, I eventually worked my way up to my first RTR (and to a decent bike) a couple years after graduation. Since then, I’ve ridden two more RTRs – flying home from out of state each time, my family and friends helping me and supporting me at every step along the way. Now that I’ve finally returned home to Colorado, I couldn’t wait to sign up for my 4 RTR — partially because it goes through a corner of the state I haven’t seen (despite growing up here), but especially because it ends in the town where my parents currently live. So, while I’m definitely not a competitive cyclist, cycling is my favorite way to get outside and it is a fundamental connection to my friends and family. Can’t wait to see you out there!

Phil Cernanec

I started regular cycling approximately 10 years ago.  I have two road bikes and one gravel bike.  I ride an average of 6,500 miles per year.

I have been leading outdoor group ‘road’ rides on Wednesday year-round (as weather permits) for almost a decade.  (Phil’s Circuit Ride on MeetUp with the Denver Cycling Club/DCC)

2024 will be my ninth Ride the Rockies, and I have completed three Pedal the Plains rides, the inaugural Colorado Ride (hosted by Summit Cycle Solutions), and many other rides including Copper Triangle, Elephant Rock, Triple Bypass, and Tour of the Moon. I have also raised money for six years and counting participating in Colorado BikeMS.

Erin Oliphant:

When I was looking to the transition from collegiate swim coaching to events, I discovered a position that seemed like a perfect fit for me- a cycling focused customer service role for Ventures Endurance, the company that puts on Ride the Rockies. My main hobby is triathlons if you can’t tell by the photos, but I love riding all different types of bikes from Triathlon to Road to Gravel to Downhill. I’m excited to be on this year’s Ride the Rockies and to answer any questions people might have about the ride.

Marie & Max:

My name is Maria Peters. My son Max is a 23 year old Artist and Athlete with Down Syndrome. We live in Fruita Colorado and are super excited to be the final town on this year’s ride! We have enjoyed Ride the Rockies 7 times together on our tandem. We run MaxZone a small business that sells Max Art inspired cycling socks and supports Down Syndrome awareness. We are avid cyclists and love riding and painting on the Colorado National Monument. We look forward to sharing the ride with you!

https://maxzone.life

Kathy Zawadzki

Cycling is both my personal passion and my chosen career, and I am honored to be an Ambassador and Coach for RTR. I designed this year’s official Training Plan, and I find the challenge of this ride to be very exciting.

I have been involved with Ride the Rockies since 2018 as a rider and coach. Each ride offers its own challenges and many rewards. My coaching motto, “Helping the ordinary do the extraordinary!” fuels my passion for helping athletes achieve their goals and reach their full potential.

In addition to coaching, I raced competitively for 15 years. Now, my focus is on training and riding challenging routes all over the globe and Colorado, including the three Ride the Rockies events. Apart from cycling, I enjoy hiking and backpacking in the Colorado mountains.

https://www.thefastlab.com/endurance-sports-coaching/

Peter Dattels

I have ridden every RTR since since 2018. What attracted me to the event was the spirit of adventure and community that has been the backbone of these events and the stories of each rider participating. I am a Ride Leader for Rapha in the Washington DC area and enjoy bringing people into the sport and sharing experiences on two wheels. I enjoy road and gravel riding and have done several Granfondos and Haute Route events, including the Pyrenees, Asheville and Mexico. I look forward to encouraging a good time at the RTR.

Abra Cohen

I got into cycling in my early 20s when a friend suggested it as a lower-impact alternative to running. I loved it, and quickly realized it’s a moving meditation, especially when you settle into the slow peddle up long mountain passes. I try to spend a week every summer cycling–I completed RTR in 2017 and 2022. I’m always trying to push my limits–I completed an 8848 and rode across France in 7 days.