Cycling With A Champion On A Charity Ride: Priceless. correspondent Pat McCloskey with cycling great Greg LeMond. Credit: Pat McCloskey correspondent Pat McCloskey with cycling great Greg LeMond.
Credit: Pat McCloskey

One of the more enjoyable events in cycling are those which support a charitable cause.  Throughout the country there are road rides where participants receive donations per mile or flat donations to support different organizations.  These are usually marked with support from the local motorcycle club escorts, food vendors and volunteers at the rest stops, and colleges or other venues that provide camping or room facilities with showers and dining hall options.  Sometimes these are one-day rides of 25- to 50-miles.  Others are multi-day events culminating with a large sponsored finish line party.   The events are well organized and many of the event organizers are well known non-profits like the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation , the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society , and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society .  All of these organizations have local and national events.  America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride around Lake Tahoe is a MS sponsored event and I had the privilege of riding in that one a few years back, and it definitely deserves the moniker.  Gorgeous views of the lake and the surrounding mountains.

One of the more interesting rides that I have participated in recently was an event put on by an organization called 1in6.  This organization provides support to men who were abused as children.  The honorary chair person for the ride was none other than our three-time Tour De France Champion Greg LeMond.  The event is called the Catoctin Challenge held annually in Maryland.  The compelling thing about riding with a Tour de France Champion like LeMond is how affable and easily approachable he is.  Surrounded by people all the time, LeMond tirelessly signed autographs late into the evening and was willing to answer any question that anybody had at the event.  With his wife Kathy at his side, he is surely the poster child of any charitable bicycle ride and I was fortunate enough to be with him for two years running.

The amazing thing to me was the fact that most people on the ride preferred to ride by themselves or ride with their friends.  There were only 6 of us who rode both days of the weekend with LeMond including our host Scott Weiner of MHW Corporation.  Being a former road racer, I was kind of in awe about this opportunity because I have been a big fan of LeMond for decades.  He is a little slower now, thankfully, which allowed me to ask him many questions.  What was Sean Kelly like?  How did you get on with Fignon?  How about the psychological battles with Hinault?  I peppered the guy and he was gracious in all of his responses including some of the issues with the recently defrocked seven time TDF Champion.  In all, it was a true pleasure to ride with him in two events in recent years and I can’t say enough about the guy with his entrepreneurial spirit ( He developed the aero bar, Giro Helmets, and many other cycling accessories along with his own bicycle brand.)  Truly a gracious champion and all around good guy.  Great sense of humor, too, in that one guy in our group kept trying to hammer him, and LeMond got ahead of us and hid in the bushes until the guy rode by.  We all laughed at our buddy trying to kill himself looking for LeMond in the distance.

If you ever get the chance to participate in a charity bicycle event, do it.  As the saying goes ”a great cause and riding the miles for smiles.”

Tour de France winner Greg LeMond snapping pics on charity ride with Pat McCloskey.
Tour de France winner Greg LeMond snapping pics on charity ride with Pat McCloskey.

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