Area bicycling trio raises $2,300 for Children's Cancer Research Fund via Great Cycle Challenge

Left to right in above photo, Linda Wilder, Rose Heins and Tracey Tepesch recently completed the Great Cycle Challenge to raise funds for Chidren's Cancer Research. They were among 217 people from Iowa who participated in the event, with Tepesch being the top fundraiser in the state of Iowa. Photo by Sharon Drahn, Postville Herald.

by Sharon Drahn
Postville Herald

Three area women, all of whom are avid bicyclists, decided to take their love of biking and exercising to a whole new level this summer. Tracey Tepesch and Linda Wilder of Waukon and Rose Heins of rural Postville logged the miles they rode during the month of June as they participated in the Great Cycle Challenge to raise money to Fight Kids’ Cancer through the Children’s Cancer Research Fund.
Tepesch, who saw information about the challenge online, thought it would be a wonderful way to raise awareness while doing something she enjoyed. Although the women competed individually, they had the option of forming a team. Tepesch explained, “We each set our own personal riding goals as we helped in the fight against kids’ cancer. We pledged to ride a certain number of miles while raising money for childrens’ cancer research.”
Although Tepesch, Heins and Wilder were the only participants in northeast Iowa, they were part of 217 cyclists from Iowa who took part in the Challenge. Tepesch explained, “When I saw the information on Facebook, I contacted Rose and Linda as I knew they enjoyed biking as much as I do.”
Tepesch explained that she wanted to take the challenge for her dad, who had taught her to bike when she was a child. Heins noted that her dad, too, was instrumental in getting her started as a cyclist. Heins said, “My dad helped me buy my first ten-speed so I could bike back and forth to work when I was in ninth grade.”
Although Tepesch and Wilder rode together occasionally, most of the biking was done independently. Heins said, “Due to my work schedule, and that of my husband, I did a lot of my riding on the stationary bike in our home. I did do some riding on the Old Stage Road.” No matter where they rode, the women kept a log of their miles.
The women agreed that for a time the riding consumed their lives. Wilder, who also has been biking for over 40 years, said, “The riding became an obsession with me. We could go wherever we wanted to and I really enjoyed riding the bike trail in Decorah.”
Tepesch chimed in, “We really need a bike trail in Waukon. The streets are not the easiest to ride on. I rode from Ridgeway to Cresco, the Lanesboro Bike Trail and also in Prairie du Chien.”
Together the trio biked over 950 miles and raised over $2,300. Tepesch said, “I actually got very excited about the fundraising and ended up being the top fundraiser in Iowa, placing 125th in the nation for individual dollars raised. The total amount I raised was $1,635 and I biked 164 miles. Linda ranked eleventh in the state with $797 raised and 485 miles biked.” Both Wilder and Tepesch received a biking jersey for their fundraising efforts.
When asked how the fundraising was handled, the women explained they each had their own webpage where people could pledge. Donors could either pledge by the mile or donate a flat rate.
Heins biked a total of 301 miles and raised $45 in donations, which ranked her 46th in the state of Iowa. The total number of miles biked across the United States was 1,037,778, and the total dollars raised from the Great Cycle Challenge was $1,669,434 for Children’s Cancer Research. The total number of participants was 12,586 nationwide. Iowa ranked 23rd in the nation in fundraising with a grand total of $22,751 raised.
Asked if there was any kind of a support system, Tepesch said, “We were able to follow our progress and that of others on Facebook. I updated my progress that way, too. I also shared my progress through emails. Linda and I would send words of encouragement, via Facebook posts, when we saw how many miles the other had ridden that particular day or when we saw that donations were coming in. It was comforting to know that someone else could ‘feel the pain’ and push each other to exceed our goals.”