July Athletes of the Month: Ryan Verchota and Rachel Wills

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Ryan Verchota

Accomplishments:

  • Complete the silver Rush 50-miler in Leadville
  • Was a guide at the 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon

What was your experience like as a guide at the 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon? 

On a seven-day notice I was asked to guide a below the knee amputee Aalkdy to finish his 24th consecutive Chicago Marathon.  While he initially was shooting for a 4 hour marathon, the day proved to be a much harder challenge and we finished in under 7 hours. To me it is about giving back and inspiring others to achieve their goals.

What is your favorite event to compete in?

Running the Rim2Rim2Rim in the Grand Canyon.  Not a sanctioned event but I did this in May 2017 and was the most epic way to see a wonder of the world while running 50 miles.

PR you’re proud of?

5:41 @ Earth Day 50k

Number of shoes you go through a year?

6 pairs of trail shoes and 2 pairs of road shoes

Rachel Wills

Accomplishments:

  • Two-time Dirty Kanza Finisher – and beating the sunset in 2019
  • Racing with Chicago Women’s Elite Cycling for two seasons on the road
  • Being invited to race for the first all women’s elite gravel racing squad The Meteor // Intelligentsia

Why did you start cycling?

I swam through college, so buying a bike and registering for a triathlon seemed like a logical transition. After a few years and a couple Ironman races, I realized I liked riding the most, and have been acquiring {and riding} bikes ever since.

Favorite race?

Dirty Kanza 200

PR you’re proud of?

Barry Roubaix 100 – 6:18

Average weekly mileage?

200

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