MOMENTS OF VICTORY® – Sarah Zenner Finds Victory Through Team DPF

Sarah Zenner and her team share their Moments of Victory at the Climax of Colorado. They are using Davis Phinney's Victory Arms. They are wearing orange bike jerseys, bike pants, and helmets. There is bike on the left side of the picture.
Each month, we spotlight Moments of Victory® from people in our community. Today, we are happy to feature Sarah Zenner, a member of Team DPF from Evergreen, Colorado.

What event did you participate in or host as part of Team DPF?

I participated in Tour de Victory, Ride The Rockies, and Copper Triangle. This recap is all about my week with Team DPF at Ride The Rockies.

Why did you decide to join team dpf for ride the rockies?

Why Ride The Rockies (RTR)? In February 2022, I finally retired after planning to leave for eighteen months. As my retirement date drew closer, I knew I wanted (not needed) to take on new challenges. I had time now. And then I heard about RTR with Team DPF, and I thought, 'Hey! I could do that!' I didn't know what it entailed, but others reassured me I could do it. So bam, I was in. When I make up my mind about something, I'm in.

Share a favorite memory from your Team DPF fundraiser.

I can't pick a favorite! While I didn't finish RTR last year, that's part of my story! After I got my bike, I completed my first ride just a few months before the event. I wasn't prepared, and I paid the price. On the first day, I pulled into the Team DPF aid station - probably the last Team DPF rider to pull in - and by that time, I had ridden more miles than I had in my whole life. I was tired, but I had to get going to keep up with the group. The wind was ferocious that day! And hot! I couldn't click into my pedals, I was five seconds behind, and the wind turned that five-second deficit into a minute or two and counting. Soon, I was by myself. I started thinking I couldn't finish. Then, another Team DPF rider returned and pulled me into the last aid station. I could have cried; I was so relieved. This is what riding with Team DPF means - someone will be there for you.

My body had a hard time with RTR due to my lack of training and Parkinson's. I wanted to continue, but I was clearly putting myself at risk. That's when I got an email from Davis. He gave me words of wisdom from his many years of being on a professional team. He knew I was not at my best and reminded me that when riding with other cyclists or on a team, you must show up at your best. If you don't, you not only compromise yourself, you compromise the team. I hadn't thought about it that way, and it's something I will never forget. You have to put the team first. I didn't realize that people would look out for me and that I would help others. We were there to help each other finish. That's the amazing part of Team DPF. We are there for each other. My teammates made it fun, made me feel safe and not alone, and I learned a lot.

What challenges did you face when fundraising?

Sarah Zenner, in a blue Team DPF shirt and a orange and white Team DPF trucker hat sits in a lawn chair next to Davis Phinney, who is wearing a black Team DPF shirt and black shorts. Sarah has shoulder-length brown hair and Davis has short grey hair with biking sunglasses on his head. They are both smiling.

Well, I didn't have proper training going into the ride. I'll be better prepared next year, and I learned a lot about the importance of training not just for me but for my team members too.

What are the top three actions that helped you reach your fundraising goal that you recommend to others?

  1. Create a Facebook fundraiser. Set your goals and try something new to raise money. I joined Facebook last December, so when Team DPF presented the opportunity to create a Facebook fundraiser, I gave it a shot. Everyone in my tight circle knows I have Parkinson's, but there are many people on Facebook who don’t know the day-to-day of my Parkinson's. By putting that fundraiser on my Facebook page, many people reached out to let me know their connections to Parkinson's. All of those pings from people I hadn't talked to in a while made it really exciting! I was able to connect with people in my world who are affected by Parkinson's! I connected them with the Davis Phinney Foundation. And now, many of us have remained in touch.
  2. If you meet your goal, increase it! Don't settle. Make sure to use those new connections you'll make from your fundraiser to reach more people and surpass your goal.
  3. If you need help with your fundraiser, reach out to Lauren! I followed those steps and raised over $17,000 for the Davis Phinney Foundation this year.

What advice or encouragement would you give to someone interested in fundraising for the Davis Phinney Foundation?

Join Team DPF! While I didn't finish, I had a great experience. People approach me and say, "I keep seeing this jersey; tell me about it!" Whenever I wear the Team DPF jersey, someone asks about the Davis Phinney Foundation and how I connected with them. It's an opportunity for me to share about my Parkinson's and connect people to the Foundation, and it's an opportunity to be a part of this amazing Team. I'm a representative of the Foundation, and I have the opportunity to spread the good word. That feels great. You never know who is affected by Parkinson's. As an Ambassador and member of Team DPF, I want to help motivate people and show them that fundraising to help others is just one of the great actions you can take to live well with Parkinson's. It's never too late to try! Set your goal high! Never say never. I didn't finish my race, but I showed up and did my best.


Each month, we spotlight people from our Parkinson’s community who embody living well today – what we call Moments of Victory®. Your story, like Sarah's, could be featured on our blog and Facebook page so others can learn from your experiences and victories.  

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