Taylor's Leadville Race for The Dirt Therapy Project

Taylor's Leadville Race for The Dirt Therapy Project

From Taylor Atchley

To raise awareness and funds for The Dirt Therapy Project, I'm racing LEADVILLE! TDTP is a non-profit that helps veterans through mountain biking. No funds go to my race - all donations to to TDTP

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Recent Updates

Update #7

20 days ago

I have a birthday coming up in 7 days! For my amazing birthday present, instead of what you were going to send me (I'm sure you ALL were going to get me something amazing 😁), please consider donating to my fundraiser to support veterans on mountain bikes! Visit https://fundly.com/leadville-2021-for-tdtp for more info and click the "Donate Now" button. Thank you so much!

More Info

First off, I'm just a normal guy. I work as an active duty member of the United States Air Force, and have a beautiful family consisting of a wife and two kids. For the past 5 years have really enjoyed mountain biking as a hobby. 

2018 was the year I first heard about the Leadville Trail 100 MTB: Arguably the hardest one-day mountain bike race in North America. 

"I'll never do anything like that," I originally thought. But as a few weeks passed by, I heard more about this race, and my mindset changed to, "Why WOULDN'T I do this?"

So that is when I set my goal to do this crazy race referred to by most simply as "Leadville." I knew I'd probably only do this race once, so I set a ridiculous goal:  Finish the race in less than 9 hours and earn the coveted "big" Leadville belt buckle.

Over the next many months I trained like crazy and also lucked into the race. However, I realized that although this is a healthy goal, it was somewhat selfish. All of the training and the travel and the race itself was all for my own benefit. I then decided not to make this adventure all about me. I wanted to give back to the military members that have sacrificed much for our country, and somehow tie it in to my love of mountain biking.

Through Facebook, I learned of an organization founded by Jonathan Hagerman, who served in the Marine Corps from 2009 - 2013, called The Dirt Therapy Project. TDTP's mission is to help veterans manage their unique stressors (such as PTSD) by introducing them to the world of mountain biking. They do this through organizing rides, teaching beginner classes, and even organizing mountain biking trips. TDTP even has a fleet of bikes for their members to use in order to gain access to this sport. Through this wonderful organization, veterans can connect with nature and each other through mountain biking and some good ol' fashioned PT.

I reached out to Jonathan in early 2020, explaining to him my Leadville race goal, and that I'd like to use this journey of mine to raise awareness and funds for The Dirt Therapy Project. Jonathan was on board almost immediately, and so I have created this page to spread the word about this great organization and to give folks a chance to donate in order to help our veterans through this medium. And hey, maybe I'll convince some members of TDTP to also come up with some crazy mountain bike goal one day!

100% of your donations go straight to The Dirty Therapy Project. At this point, TDTP is looking to scale up and spread the program to new locations across the U.S. Each location needs a fleet of bikes and gear for 3-5 riders. Fully funding a new location requires about $6000. Aside from helping to spread the impact of TDTP, your donations will also contribute towards necessary overhead to keep this organization going strong (website hosting, marketing, consumables, etc.)! Your giving also will help fund overnight mountain biking trips TDTP organizes for their veterans at no expense to them! For example, this year TDTP is taking twenty people to Palo Duro Canyon for two days of riding. Each trip costs between $2,000 - $3000.

Check back frequently! Over the next few months, I'll be posting about my training, my equipment, my plans for the race, and things TDTP is doing for the veterans they serve! And wish me luck: I'm going to need it.

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Help Taylor raise $5,000 by making a donation.

Taylor Atchley posted a new update:
20 days ago

Update #7

I have a birthday coming up in 7 days! For my amazing birthday present, instead of what you were going to send me (I'm sure you ALL were going to get me something amazing 😁), please consider donating to my fundraiser to support veterans on mountain bikes! Visit https://fundly.com/leadville-2021-for-tdtp for more info and click the "Donate Now" button. Thank you so much!

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Taylor Atchley posted a new update:
22 days ago

Update #6

Hi everyone!

Since the COVID outbreak really ramped up, I decided to not focus on this fundraising project for a while until things simmered down a bit. Now, with some communities starting to trend back towards normalcy, I'm going to get back to regularly updating my training progress and asking for donations to TDTP.

TDTP recently took a group of veterans on a trip to Angel Fire bike park, and has also added an E-bike to their fleet - this should make it possible for even more vets to break into this great hobby of exercise, nature, and comradeship.

My training has been on a "maintanance" plan until about 2 weeks ago, when I have started to ramp things up a bit more. I've got over a year still until Leadville (since this year's race isn't happening), which should give me plenty of time to be well prepared.

For those that follow, please consider a donation - all proceeds go to The Dirt Therapy Project, to get more military veterans access to mountain bikes and mountain bike activities.

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Taylor Atchley posted a new update:
3 months ago

Update #5

Needless to say, COVID-19 has impacted my race plans this year tremendously. First, as mentioned in a previous post, I will be racing in NEXT year's Leadville race (2021). Secondly, my qualifying race last weekend was cancelled. Thirdly, Dirty Kanza was cancelled, so I'll wait until 2021 to do that too.

For now here is my racing agenda:

- Sep 2020: The Barn Burner in Flagstaff, AZ
- June 2021: Dirty Kanza in Emporia, KS
- July 2021: Tahoe Trail 100 in Northstar, CA
- Aug 2021: LEADVILLE

My training has suffered the past 2-3 weeks d/t loss of motivation and some personal things taking precedence over training. I plan on slowly waking my legs back up over the next week, retesting my on-the-bike power, and getting back into a 12-week, consistent training block.

I will not be asking for donations to The Dirt Therapy Project until this whole coronavirus thing settles down, but will update every now and then for those interested. Stay safe!

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Taylor Atchley posted a new update:
4 months ago

Update #4

Big news! So I've planned for the past 2 years to race Leadville in 2020. However, they have offered me a chance to defer until 2021. With an upcoming move to Las Vegas just before the race, I am going to take this chance, as I don't want to leave my family in a new city alone right after we move.

The good new is that I we have tons of time to raise money for TDTP now! And, I've added a race to my 2020 calendar: DIRTY KANZA!!! Although its a gravel road race as opposed to a mountain bike race, this one has been on my bucket list for a while and I am super stoked about it.

So keep following this page - over the next many months I'll keep you informed on how my training, riding, and races go. I'll also post about what I do regarding nutrition, equipment, etc for other people to learn from. And I'll keep everyone abreast on how TDTP is using mountain biking to help US military vets. And PLEASE consider a donation - even $5 will help out this awesome non-profit organization.

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Taylor Atchley posted a new update:
5 months ago

Update #3

Why Mountain Biking Rocks:

Hopefully you’ve read how and why I’ve decided to do the Leadville Trail 100 MTB. If not, head on over to https://fundly.com/leadville-2021-for-tdtp and scroll down to “More Info.”

But, how did I get into mountain biking to begin with? And why?
Well, I’ve always loved the outdoors. I grew up in a rural part of East Tennessee with my dad taking me hunting and fishing at every opportunity we could get. I went to college near the Great Smokey Mountains and spent a ton of time hiking the amazing trails embedded within (including portions of the Appalachian Trail). I was also an agriculture major in college, which involved a lot classes with significant nature-associated assignments. Being outside surrounded by God’s creations meant for us to enjoy brings me a since of peace and since of connectedness to my Creator. Nature is also just plain beautiful to look at!

Then I went to a post-graduate school in Washington, DC for 4 years, followed by an intense post-graduate education training program in the Air Force located in Biloxi, MS. My outdoor hobbies during this time fell by the wayside – I barely got outside to do anything. I studied indoors, I worked indoors, I exercised indoors (rarely), etc., etc. I was also dealing with depression and anxiety issues, which affect every aspect of life in those that struggle with such things. I was gaining weight, and my physical heath was declining.

During my intern year of my post-graduate training, I found this YouTube video about a group of guys biking along this thing called ‘The Colorado Trail,’ which traverses the wilderness from Denver to Durango. You should check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpTSGrq5vno.

I immediately was like “Yes! That is what I need!” At the time I was stationed in Biloxi, MS at Keesler Air Force Base. Although the flat landscape of the Mississippi Gulf Coast is a far cry from the sweeping mountain vistas of Colorado, with a bit of research I found out that there were some mountain biking trails very close to my house!

I purchased my first mountain bike from a local dealer in 2015. I’ll be honest, it can be an expensive hobby to venture into: You can expect to pay $400-$600 for an entry-level mountain bike and all the gear you initially need. I don’t think my wife was initially very happy with what seemed to be an impulse purchase at the time (understandably so, I have a history of getting into new hobbies easily and just as easily abandoning them), but I got out and did my first ride at the Bethel Mountain Biking Trails in the Desoto National Forest, and I was hoooooooooked! It was THE perfect way to get outdoors, surrounded by the beauty of nature, and get some exercise in - with a sprinkle of adrenaline pump for good measure.
So, obviously, I stuck with it.

Over the next couple of years what started as just a way to get outdoors and get some exercise became my outlet, my escape, and one of my passions. I met new friends and I found a new reason to travel to different areas. I discovered all the different disciplines of the sport: general trail riding, XC racing, enduro racing, and even got to try out some downhill trails while on a trip to Germany (which is arguably the most intense, scariest, adrenaline-junkie-oriented subset of cycling). There truly is something for everyone in this sport. To make it even better, my physical and mental health have improved tremendously over this time. My wife has been hugely supportive of me, and I can’t thank her enough for that.

All of this is why The Dirt Therapy Project (TDTP) speaks volumes to me, and why I’ve started this fundraiser to do my part to contribute to them. They help introduce US military veterans to this incredible sport by establishing beginner rides and classes, providing loaner bikes to those that aren’t sure if the initial investment is going to be worth it, and even arrange mountain biking destination trips for their members, all at no charge. Their mission is to help veterans manage stressors in life due to PTSD, military life transitions, school, and work through an introduction to mountain biking.

So please, share my page with others and consider a donation. With your support, I hope TDTP can increase their footprint across the nation and ultimately give back to those that have sacrificed our country.

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Taylor Atchley posted a new update:
5 months ago

Update #2

The first week of this campaign has been great, but we need a lot more sharing and donations to help The Dirt Therapy Project help more veterans through mountain biking. As a reminder, your donations do NOT go to my Leadville Race. They all go straight to TDTP!

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Taylor Atchley posted a new update:
5 months ago

Update #1

Check out this trip TDTP has organized for its members! Such a great way for veterans to get out and enjoy nature, adventure, and camaraderie, through mountain biking.

https://www.facebook.com/events/56393669769340

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