Local family takes on Ride the Rockies together

Father, son and daughter riding and fundraising for those affected by Parkinson’s

By Katherine Nettles

If the old saying is true that a family who plays together stays together, then the Murray family is ample proof. Rick Murray has recently recruited both of his children, Chad and Chelsea, ages 30 and 33 respectively, to join him for this year’s Ride the Rockies event, while his wife, Ingrid, and his mother follow along in the adventure by car.

Rick first did Ride the Rockies in 2000 alongside his son Chad. In the time since, he participated in the 2003 and 2007 tours, being joined again by Chad in 2007. This year, since the event is beginning and ending in Crested Butte, Murray was able to get both his kids to come along with him and make it a family affair.

With Chad in the Air Force based out of Sacramento, Calif. and Chelsea an international mountain bike guide based in Bend, Oregon, that’s not something Rick is taking for granted.

The kids have a long history of biking with their dad and each other in Crested Butte and Gunnison County. Rick and Ingrid moved to Crested Butte in 2006 to retire after raising their kids in Michigan, and Chelsea attended Western Colorado University, running track and riding on the mountain bike team there. Her brother Chad attended the Air Force Academy and also raced on the mountain bike team. The two overlapped in their collegiate pursuits of biking.

“We actually got to compete together at Hartman’s one year,” recalls Chelsea.

“We’re really a mountain biking family,” says Rick of their choice to do the road-based tour. And he has the pictures to prove it, beginning with young Chelsea and Chad posing with their bikes and their parents in front of a sign for Paradise Divide more than 20 years ago. Rick has another version of them in the very same place from only a few years ago as well.

Although the family considers that “Mountain biking is for fun, and road biking is for work,” as Chelsea puts it, RTR presented a great opportunity to get together and “see who is in the worst shape.”

“With [the tour] starting and ending here, it’s just great… I’m looking forward to spending the time with these kids,” says Rick.

Chelsea says she will be sure to remind him of that sentiment a few days into the tour. She also notes, “Dad will come places to ride with us, too.” She lists recent trips he has made to join her in Spain and Chile.

Chad, who is a major in the Air Force, doesn’t get a lot of time off. “This is really special for him to get a whole week,” says Ingrid. It’s been almost three years since Chad has visited Crested Butte, and he will be arriving just one night ahead of the start this weekend.

“Chelsea can stay for a little longer. Chad will have one quick night to acclimate,” Ingrid says.

“The fact that my brother can come out is pretty cool,” says Chelsea. She says the opportunity of the father-son-daughter trio inspired her to make their tour together a fundraiser. So she contacted the Davis Phinney Foundation and the Murrays will be riding to raise money to help people with Parkinson’s Disease. The family says they chose this cause for several reasons. Ingrid’s dad had Parkinson’s and passed away in 2009. Rick also has a friend in town with Parkinson’s. They hope to raise $2,500 (or more) and have already gotten $1,750 as of publication, many of the donors being bike clients of Chelsea’s.

“We’ve had family and friends affected by this disease and we strongly believe in what the Phinney Foundation does,” write the Murray family team on their fundraising webpage at http://events.dpf.org/goto/murray

“It’s pretty special when the family can ride together like this,” says Ingrid.

She and Rick’s mom, who will be visiting from Michigan, plan to follow along throughout the week as supporters. The whole family will share a hotel stay one night in Aspen, says Rick.

While Ingrid is featured in many of the family bike riding photos, she says she is happier to be in a supportive role than she would be biking the full distance.

With 15 total Crested Butte locals registered in RTR as of press time, the Murray spirit should be in good company, riding in tandem across the Western Slope.

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