Cris Rothfuss - The Real Ride Team MemberAn athlete by nature, I have cherished being active and part of a team from youth sports, to Division 1 collegiate basketball and track, to racing bikes, including cyclocross at the national elite level.

My motivation for the REAL Ride runs deeper, however. My parents raised their three daughters to be strong and adventurous in body, spirit, and mind. They bestowed upon us everything we needed to launch and thrive in life, most especially the foundation of love and family. The magnitude of these gifts became most apparent when we lost them two years ago, months apart, unexpectedly, far too young.

I am many things, but most of all, a fortunate human being – a fact I recognize despite the grief of recent years. I designed the REAL Ride to express gratitude and to honor my parents by doing something not only bold and ambitious, but something that pays forward some of the goodness I have experienced in this life.


Erin Abrahams - The Real Ride Team MemberI was committed to the REAL Ride from Day 1. For an avid cyclist, the appeal of the ride itself was undeniable. But its significance for BDEA answered an even deeper calling for me.

I enjoy a fulfilling career as a veterinarian, and also have had the privilege of serving 3 years as a Veterinary Corps Officer in the U.S. Army. I love cycling too — a passion borne from growing up watching my father ride and race bikes. I have since ridden many centuries, both on- and off-road, and enjoy riding  and racing mountain bikes.

My father also instilled in me the importance of living with intention and gratitude, and an appreciation for all of the blessings in my life, something I strive to practice every day.

The REAL Ride is a rare gift, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, to help BDEA students discover their passion and realize their potential to dream, create, and achieve something as grand as a cross-country bike ride. I am grateful to be a part of such a monumental project.


Dan St. Croix - The Real Ride Team MemberA hobo, a tramp, a vagabond wrapped in wool, denim, and lycra. A heart of gold with a pocket full of beef jerky and Twizzlers. Where he came from is anybody’s guess. Where he’s going? Just follow those dirt roads toward the smell of small batch bourbon and you will be hot on his tail. But you better hope those roads don’t turn uphill — ’cause if they do, he will be long gone.




Perri Mertens - The Real Ride Team MemberMy love of cycling began the moment I threw a leg over the banana seat of my very first bike, the “Misty Rose.” That passion led to BMX racing as a kid, being a bicycle messenger in my 20s, and many years of racing road and cyclocross.

I was immediately drawn to the REAL Ride, perhaps because of the parallels between cycling, the REAL Ride, and the mission of BDEA in providing a foundation of independence, building confidence, and creating a thirst for exploration.

Cycling has helped me through difficult times in my life where the best route wasn’t always clear and was often filled with detours and potholes. I feel fortunate to have navigated through some rough spots to reach my goals. I’m hoping that by sharing our experiences through this ride, we might help the students at BDEA navigate their “detours and potholes” in some meaningful way and get to the finish line.

I feel honored to join this team and not only fulfill my longtime dream of riding cross country but, at the same time, supporting an organization like BDEA.

Jay Vasconcellos - The Real Ride Team MemberJAY VASCONCELLOS

I’m a lifelong skateboarder who took kindly to pedaling to justify my insatiable appetite for cookies, brownies, and any such treat at the local bakery. A shave or two could help in the streamline department if seconds mattered at the finish line, but I’ll let it grow since we’ve got a long way to go. A hill up ahead? Yeah, let’s go that way. When in doubt, pedal it out.




We’re not sure what we did to deserve their help, but at this point we’d be lost without them.
Lyn Ketterer
Michelle Roy
Lynn Kappelman