Patti Burnett Rides and Raises Money at the Copper Triangle

CopperTriangle2 - Davis Phinney Foundation

At the Davis Phinney Foundation, we’re still recovering from a long summer and early fall of rides and runs and basking in the memories of all of them.  One of the highlights of the summer, as usual, was the Copper Triangle. One of our very active Ambassadors took it on in a big way this year; so, we wanted to ask her about it.

Why did you decide to join Team DPF for the Copper Triangle this year?

In 2015, I decided to bike the Copper Triangle just the night before the event. The only problem was that I hadn’t trained. I just knew that I wanted to support Team DPF somehow. When I mentioned my spur of the moment idea, my husband, Dan offered that it might be a better idea to get dropped off in Minturn this first year. After all, I really hadn’t trained or ever even participated in an organized bike event with thousands of bikers. Sometimes Dan is really smart.

So, I tried to calculate when most of the bikers would be at the Minturn aid station so that I could get dropped off there about the same time. I was so sure that all the other bikers would know that I was cheating because it was so obvious that I was a novice. There was no way I could have ridden that far so quickly and been barely winded.

I proceeded and somehow,by the skin of my teeth and sore derriere, made it to the top of Vail Pass. At the aid station, I noticed a group of riders with Davis Phinney jerseys talking; so, I went up to them and thanked them for everything that they do for people with Parkinson’s, like me. Davis introduced himself and congratulated me for making it all the way up Vail Pass. I told him that my husband had only let me ride starting in Minturn. Davis told me that Connie had only let him ride starting in East Vail. That made me feel much better, not so much like a cheater. After all, this was not a competition. This was just another example of Team DPF’s mission: to help people with Parkinson’s live well today. What a highlight in my life.

I started biking down to Copper’s finish line and remembered that I hadn’t gotten a picture with Davis; so, I biked back up to the Pass and got my picture.

What was your best memory of the ride?

Since that first year, Dan and I have had a team each year, riding and fundraising together. This year our team surpassed our goal of $15,000.

But this year also provided a slight bump in the rode. On June 26th, while hiking in Summit County, I tripped on a rock, fell and lodged the handle of my hiking pole into my ribs. I broke three ribs (shattered one), got blood and air into the pleural cavity (hemo/pneumothorax), obtained a deep wound under my arm, had my ribs plated and spent about a week in two hospitals. Uh oh, the Copper Triangle was just over a month away. How could I train?

Add to that, we had a trip scheduled to Hawaii the week before the Triangle. I knew there was no way I’d be able to ride. Well, an angel of mercy, Bill Butler, who had been on our team for a few years, offered to put me on the back of his tandem. I had never ridden a tandem before and was a bit nervous. I knew that I’d really be cheating if I let someone else do all the turning, shifting and braking. However, after a few trial rides, I decided to take Bill up on his offer.

What a wonderful day it was. We weren’t the fastest bike going uphill, but Bill was amazingly strong and at times we were the fastest bike going downhill. My 93 pounds really helped our momentum and it wasn’t unusual for us to exceed 45 mph during some of our descents.

We even ran into Davis (not literally) riding along with Polly just after Minturn. He was riding a beautiful electric bike made for him by Pinarello. I loved riding alongside them and at that moment I realized that none of us were cheating. In fact, Connie would tell us that it was quite a victory that we could all be out there enjoying the beauty of the Rocky Mountains, using our bodies to ride bicycles over crazy high passes and down washboard roads. Every Victory Does Count!

Next year, I’ll definitely be one of those non-cheaters on an eBike. I won’t give up; I will show up; I will ride with all my heart; I will celebrate another victory. Davis Phinney and Connie Carpenter, you are my heroes. Bill Butler, you too!

What were some of the biggest challenges you had while fundraising?

My donors from previous years were not as expedient this year; so, I ended up sending out a lot more emails to donors as well as to my teammates. As it turned out, between all of our team, we raised more than $15,000, which was $3,000 more than last year.

Thank you, faithful donors.

CopperTriangle3 - Davis Phinney Foundation

What are the top three actions you took, or the choices you made that helped you reach your fundraising goal?

  1. I encouraged my teammates to send out more solicitation letters.
  2. I had teammates contact Peachy directly if they were having any problems with the website. Peachy was amazing.
  3. I tried to incentivize my teammates with all the swag being offered by Team DPF. Did you know that SWAG stands for “Stuff We All Get.”

What would you say to someone interested in joining Team DPF for the Copper Triangle next year?

The effort is well worth it, and each year you do it, it gets easier.

Use your fundraising letters to tell your story. Rather than just asking for money, let people know about you and your challenges. Explain to them about Parkinson’s. Let them know why the Davis Phinney Foundation is such a lifesaver for people with Parkinson’s.

Save the Date (August 1, 2020) and Ride the Copper Triangle with us!

Join us for a beautiful day of cycling in the Rockies with a group of people passionate about our mission of helping people with Parkinson’s live well today. 
If you’d like to be part of this incredible effort next year, contact Lauren today. 

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