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Shaler woman, teammate biking across the West for charity

| Tuesday, June 9, 2015, 5:28 p.m.
Anne-Marie Alderson, 33, of Shaler, rides through Arizona last summer during the 3,000 mile Race Across America bike race. She competed with Team PHenomenal to raise money and awareness for pulmonary hypertension. This year she'll be doing the 860 mile Race Across the West bike race to continue the team's mission.
Anne-Marie Alderson, 33, of Shaler, rides through Arizona last summer during the 3,000 mile Race Across America bike race. She competed with Team PHenomenal to raise money and awareness for pulmonary hypertension. This year she'll be doing the 860 mile Race Across the West bike race to continue the team's mission.
Anne-Marie Alderson
Anne-Marie Alderson
Anne-Marie Alderson, 33, of Shaler, rides through Monument Valley in Utah last summer during the 3,000 Race Across America bike race. She competed with Team PHenomenal to raise money and awareness for pulmonary hypertension. This year she'll be doing the Race Across the West bike race to continue the team's mission.
Anne-Marie Alderson, 33, of Shaler, rides through Monument Valley in Utah last summer during the 3,000 Race Across America bike race. She competed with Team PHenomenal to raise money and awareness for pulmonary hypertension. This year she'll be doing the Race Across the West bike race to continue the team's mission.

In a few short days, Shaler resident Anne-Marie Alderson and her teammate will set out from California to ride 860 miles on bike to complete the Race Across the West.

But don't worry about her; this isn't her first rodeo. Last summer, she rode 3,000 miles with three teammates in the Race Across America from Oceanside, Calif. to Annapolis, Md.

“I can't even put into words how incredible the experience was,” she said. “It was just so much fun for me to be on my bike and surrounded by friends and supporters and to see the country by bike.”

On June 16, Alderson and her teammate, Patty George, of Regent Square, will set out from Oceanside to ride 860 miles east to Durango, Colo. for Team PHenomenal Hope. Team PHenomenal Hope is a team of endurance athletes who participate in ultra-endurance sports to raise money and awareness for pulmonary hypertension.

Last year, Alderson, George, Stacie Truskowski and Ryanne Palermo rode for Team PHenomenal in the Race Across America and raised $125,000.

Race Across the West is the third-longest endurance bicycle race in the United States, said executive director Rick Boethling, and goes from the coast, through the desert and into the mountains. It is the beginning of Race Across America and follows the same course.

There are no winners or prizes in Race Across the West, just bragging rights and the opportunity to do something great for others.

“There is no money in it for people,” Boethling said. “It's a source of pride and a huge source of satisfaction. We've also provided a huge charitable platform … so what Patty and her team are doing, they derive a great source of pleasure from finishing the race but also from raising money for pulmonary hypertension.”

Alderson, 33, picked up endurance sports in 2003 when she ran her first marathon. She did her first triathlon in 2007 and is a certified triathlon coach.

She met George, a pulmonologist for UPMC, through local cycling team Steel City Endurance, and when she was approached about doing the Race Across America, she jumped at the opportunity.

Preparation takes a lot of long endurance-building rides and high-intensity internal training, but, Alderson said, riding was the easy part in the race last year.

“The funny thing is, as tough as it sounds to ride your bike across the country, the logistics are even more daunting,” she said. “You need to have a really good crew chief and crew behind you.”

Last year, they divided into two teams with two riders each. One team would ride for a period, with each rider taking turns riding for about 25 to 30 minutes each. Then they would transition to the other team, and the first team would rest in a recreational vehicle, Alderson said.

They completed the Race Across America in seven days.

This year, with a two-rider team, they will do a similar rotation during the day, and then each rider will do a longer ride at night, Alderson said. They hope to average 225 to 250 miles per rider per day and finish the race in two and a half days.

Although the race is shorter this time, it will be tougher with only two riders, but Alderson is excited to get out on the road.

“Everyone is out there to enjoy the experience,” she said. “The goal is to go out there and do it and have a safe race. I think we'll be happy with whatever we get.”

For more information on Alderson, go to www.aewcoaching.com, and for more info on Team PHenomenal Hope, go to teamphenomenalhope.org.

Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or rfarkas@tribweb.com.

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