From The Ground Up is the collaborative mentorship project of Alexey Vermeulen and Ryan Petry, where the two PI Crew Members help a select group of individuals with little-to-no riding experience train and prepare for one of the hardest off-road races in the country: the Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race.
On where the inspiration for the project came from, Alexey said, “From the Ground Up was inspired after doing an adventure ride with Ryan and chatting about how to positively affect the new wave of riders coming into the sport after Covid. Our overarching goal was to help educate and lower the learning curve as the cycling community grew. We agreed that “pros” were rarely the best teachers and if we could help amateurs show each other through mistakes and vulnerability that cycling was more accessible than it seemed, the project would be a success!”
After a successful first year, 2022 brought FTGU back for a second season. This past August, six months of dedication and training was put to the final test as the From The Ground Up crew took on the Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race. Over 1,500 racers from around the world traveled to the small mountain town, bringing an electrifying energy to the typically sleepy streets
On Thursday before the race, the crew soaked in this energy as they walked around the expo meeting and thanking sponsors while Shimano dialed in their bikes. Although not able to race due to his broken elbow, Enzo flew out to support the three and offer guidance and advice that he learned from his first attempt at the race. Friday was a short pre-ride with Alexey and Ryan followed by interviews for the series up at one of Leadville’s historical mines.
Race morning came quickly, and as the three prepared their bodies, nutrition, and bikes the nerves were apparent. 104 miles at 10,000ft is brutal for a seasoned rider, let alone someone who first started training in March. What we have realized is that this final test does not dictate the result of the project, for the result has already been achieved. Lining up as part of a community, all that was left was to dig deep, lay it all on the line and have a day that they could look back on and be proud of.
Check out the full Season 2 recap on Outside TV!