The Courage Classic has led 79-year-old Sherwin – one of the tour’s oldest riders – down many beautiful and winding roads in the 20-plus years he’s been biking in the event.
But he could never have imagined that one of those paths would lead him straight to his wife, Kaycie.
Sherwin first began riding in the Courage Classic in 1993, when some of his younger co-workers challenged him to ride in the tour. That first year, Sherwin said he “trained like a demon,” because he was so nervous he wouldn’t be able to make it up the mountains.
His training paid off. On his first day of cycling, he rode so fast that he beat all of his colleagues – and even got to the lunch stop before it had opened.
He was hooked.
Then, about ten years after his first Courage Classic bike tour, Sherwin’s friends set him up on a blind date with one of their friends. When Sherwin first met Kaycie, they immediately bonded over their love of cycling, riding in the Courage Classic and their passion for Children’s Hospital Colorado.
Kaycie was a physical therapist for more than 30 years at Children’s Colorado and started Camp Spirit Colorado in Granby, a getaway for children suffering from a debilitating and incurable skin disorder called epidermolysis bullosa (EB).
Both of them had been riding in the event for numerous years, but their paths had never crossed. After that fateful dinner date, Sherwin and Kaycie rode in their first Courage Classic as a pair.
The couple was married in 2005 – and have ridden together in the Courage Classic every year since, eventually involving their children and grandchildren.
“We had our own herd,” said Sherwin of their growing group. “Getting the family together every year is so special for us.”
This year will be Sherwin’s 24th Courage Classic – and he’ll be joined by his son-in-law, daughter, and granddaughter, Isabelle, along with some extended family members.
Sherwin said that the race is still a challenge. “Those mountains aren’t getting any flatter,” he said. “But it is good exercise, it keeps you active and it’s a break in the routine. And I can’t think of a much better cause.”
For Sherwin and his wife, the Courage Classic has also become a very personal mission. Since Kaycie started Camp Spirit, children suffering from EB can enjoy Colorado’s winter adventures, including snowmobiling, hay rides, dog sled rides and sit-skiing. Pedaling for the Gene Team, Sherwin and Kaycie raise money to help EB families with expenses that are not covered by insurance and enable children from around the nation to attend Camp Spirit Colorado free of charge. Their efforts also support research happening at the Gates Center for Regenerative Medicine, a critical piece of providing hope and help for these children.
After two decades of cycling in the Courage Classic, Sherwin continues to be inspired by the courage he sees every year at the event. “Courage is apparent when you look at the struggles of getting up those mountains,” he said. “And watching the riders on Team Courage inspires us all. It takes a lot of effort and determination. But everybody’s happy to do it. The team spirit is amazing. It’s a feel good situation.”
To learn more about the Gene Team, click here.