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As the founders of Velorosa®, Kim and I originally thought about trying to connect with ultramarathon-cyclist, Sarah Cooper, in early 2016. We had been throwing around the idea of Velorosa sponsoring an elite rider, and knew Sarah would be a great choice. She is a local athlete who is well on her way to becoming a legend in the world of ultra-cycling, and we’re a Des Moines-based company that designs women’s cycling kits. Felt like the perfect fit.

We met Sarah for lunch in December. It resembled a first date; you’ve got a good feeling going in, but you’re still nervous and hoping you don’t come off too eager. Sarah had just spent the better part of her morning on her bike. And by ‘better part,’ I mean five hours. In December. In Iowa.

Sarah is a 45-year old mother of four. Her kids range in age from 11 to 16. Sarah told me she struggles to balance time in the saddle and time with her husband and kids. She’s a nurse practitioner by trade, but these days she’s either on the bike logging hundreds of miles a week, in the car shuttling kids around from piano to horse-back riding lessons, or racing. There isn’t time for much else.

At lunch, the three of us talked about our mutual biking friends in the Des Moines cycling community. We laughed about being middle-aged women who saw their bicycles as having changed the course of their lives. It just so happened that only one of us is ranked as one of the top ultra-cyclists in the world.

Sarah said she found the sport by accident. She began as a triathlete, with the bike being her strongest event. She started wandering farther away from home on every ride and realized her pace remained strong and steady. She could maintain it almost indefinitely.

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