Our only Canadian (from Ottawa), Mark always wore a Canadian flag pin on his clothing in order to distinguish himself from the rest of us. Mark was real fast on his titanium bicycle, but I was amazed that he continued to ride it after discovering that the cement holding the tubing to the lugs was failing and his downtube was actually sliding out. Raised in Montreal, Mark was our French translator.
Judith is as macho as any man, but she softened to the point of tears in the cold of Sustin pass. She was the only vegetarian and the foulest mouth in the group ("Bite Me!"). Having just spent $2,000 on an operation for her cat, Judith brought only $100 for a 2 week trip through Europe. She skipped eating on days when Tom wasn't serving us and skipped most of the sights to conserve funds. As hard as she was, we all began to like her as the trip progressed and she began to know us.
Residing in New Jersey, but currently working in Frankfort, Germany, Michael was our German translator. For helping me with my wash, his "fee"was a free wash for his jersey and bike shorts. Michael was a former bicycle racer, who is probably the fastest rider in the group.
A Chicago area school teacher, Kären is amazingly fit. Kären can stay right up there with the fastest of cyclists and was quite proud of her conquest of L'Alpe d'Huiz -- a 21 switchback Tour de France climb. Kären attributes her success this year to "spinning" and weight training classes through the Chicago winter. Kären eats like a polar bear who has spent a week on an ice floe -- everything in sight.
Kären's other half, Bill works as an executive with a technology firm and trains less than his wife. Bill has gained some weight since we rode together on the Alaska Highway, but at 6'4" he is still much stronger than me.
A 28 year old Atlanta school teacher, Karrie is Bill & Kären's little girl. She is not a bicyclist, but at her parent's insistence, she accompanied them on a two week bicycle trip through the Alps. Karrie spent a lot of boring time in the sag van. She was absolutely incredible at entering into a conversation with folks from different cultures (especially people with dogs) and the language barrier never seemed to be a problem for her.
Newlyweds Lisa and Ken were inseparable, so it was not possible to take their photographs individually. Though they rode separate bikes, their cadence looked as though they were riding a tandem. They are very fit owners of a music store chain in Massachusetts. They both ride titanium bicycles with absolutely nothing extra on them--no racks, handlebar bags or trunks on their bikes. Though they stopped often to see the sights, so were not the first into camp, they were among the strongest riders.
An overweight, undertrained, snorer, Ed struggled to make the passes, but on several occasions was forced to ride in the sag van. As the eldest rider in the group, Ed is proud of his accomplishments, especially setting a personal record of 7,500' climbed in one day, but he is determined to do better and will be on future rides to prove to himself that he can. Ed's snoring was a constant source of consternation among his fellow camp mates.
As Tom's right-hand man, Alan, a "kiwi" (from New Zealand) did a great job of balancing out Tom. With a background in river guiding in New Zealand and heli-skiing in British Columbia, Alan is service-oriented.He was genuinely concerned about us riders, making sure we knew where we were going and that we were having fun.
As the owner of Cyclevents, Tom is doing what he wants in life--riding and hiking in the great outdoors. Some of the rides are more difficult than the riders would prefer, but to Tom, every day needs to be a new challenge, so he designs the daily stages to push each of us to our limits. There are no wimps here! Like everybody else, I get frustrated with Tom's laid-back approach to detail, but on the other hand, I walk away from each Cyclevents ride with an adventure under my belt and some pretty good bragging rights, so I'll be back.
The bus driver took this group photo as we departed for the Munich airport and the trip ended.