Battle the Beast

ALS Warrior Cyclist Michael Cimbura continues to inspire.

….The BEAST, the Bootlegger and the DEATH RIDE Tour.

Michael Cimbura was used to being an active semi-pro cyclist, adventuress, husband and devoted father but then he met up with the BEAST in January 2015. The BEAST being ALS – Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis better know as Lou Gehrig Disease. This incurable always fatal disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord, which causes progressive weakness and atrophy of the muscles.

ALS didn’t stop Mike from what he loved. Now 4 years after diagnosis he continues his role as a husband, father, adventuress, cyclist and ALS Warrior.

June 8 – 10, 2019, Mike and his trusty co-pilot, Zac Yendra will ride their 4th straight DEATH RIDE Tour … Cycle To Conquer ALS just for the fun of it and to raise awareness about ALS.

Why did Mike get involved in the DEATH RIDE Tour? Well after his diagnosis in 2015 a group of his cycling buddies on Mike’s street Hackberry Lane found out about the DRT and decided to ride it in his honor. The DEATH RIDE Tour, founded by CEO & Executive Director, Barry Sopinsky is a 235-mile, three-day charity bike ride in Southwestern Colorado over 5 mountain passes, Sopinsky started this event in 2009 to honor the memory of his Dad, Irvin Sopinsky who died of ALS when Sopinsky was a kid.

Sopinsky also puts on a one-day ultra endurance version of the tour called the DEATH RIDE Challenge, but that’s another story.

Mike’s buddies asked Sopinsky if Mike could come to the event and he said for sure. He’s more than welcome. That was June of 2015 and Mike and his son Aiden made the trip and spoke to the group. Mike was still able to walk and talk at that time.

By the fall of 2015, Mike was confined to a wheel chair and breathing through a ventilator but that didn’t stop Mike. His beautiful family was right there to support him 100%. His wife Nicole, daughter Seide, Elle and son Aiden have been there for Mike through all of this terrible disease.

Out of the blue in the spring of 2016, Barry Sopinsky received an email from Mike asking if he knew of a bike available, so Mike could ride the DRT that year. Mike had receive a grant of $1000 to help finance something. Sopinsky was baffled about what to do. One night he was at Little Machine Beer in Denver discussing with them about putting on a fund-raising event and Sopinsky asked Mike Dunky prior co-owner at Little Machine and prior Death Rider if he knew of any such bike. All of the sudden Dunky pulled up a picture on his phone and said, “ ever seen the Bootlegger” Sopinsky commented back “what the heck is the Bootlegger’?

Mike told Barry that the Bootlegger was built by Zach Yendra. Mike knew Zach because he had built the bar and furniture in the new brewery. Zach is the inventory and builder of the “Bootlegger” Bike built it originally to haul kegs of beer around in breweries. Sopinsky immediately seek after Zach to meet up with him about the bike. After many calls and emails, Zach finally decided to meet up with Barry. Zach’s shop was in Fort Collins. Sopinsky scheduled a trip to meet with Zach. At the meeting Zach said to Barry, “ let me get this straight. You want to take a guy confined to a wheel stair, living on a ventilator and ride him 235 miles, over 3 days climbing 17,000 feet in my keg hauler, sounds like fun”. From that point on Zach the mastermind went to work. We only had less than 2 months to figure everything out, but he did and in 2016 Zach and Mike rode their first DEATH RIDE Tour. A truly remarkable accomplishment. Mike’s family was right with him every mile. The kids riding their bikes along side Mike and Zach up and down the mountain passes.

Since that first DEATH RIDE Tour shredding down the passes, Mike and Zach have ridden together in 2017, 2018 and now getting ready for 2019.

If you want to learn more about the DEATH RIDE Tour contact Barry Sopinsky @deathridetour.com or visit the website at: www.deathridetour.com

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