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Pelotonia Love is in the Air

Pelotonia Love is in the Air

Pelotonia provides opportunities to fundraise for cancer research, learn about cycling, and meet others in the community. But did you know you could even meet your spouse along the way?? Many Pelotonia love stories have been shared in the organization’s 11-year history. Below are just two of these stories about how Riders grew closer through Pelotonia – eventually ending in (spoiler alert) two proposals.

Mary Beth Cowardin and Gregg Goldenbagen

Mary Beth Cowardin was scrolling through Facebook one day when she saw a friend’s post about wanting to put together a team of women to ride for Pelotonia. She jumped on the chance to join them, thinking it would be a great opportunity.

“When you have a group of people to train with and hold you more accountable, it’s more fun,” Mary Beth says.

She never realized, though, what a huge impact this group – now called Girls with Gears – would make on her life. What started with nine women has grown into a Peloton with 71 members.

Most of the founding women knew nothing about cycling, but they recruited some cyclists in New Albany to take them through different routes and teach them about nutrition, how to change a tire, and more. After a couple years, they didn’t need the help anymore. They were able to successfully recruit and train new women themselves. Through this process, many friendships were formed.

“I love this group of people and how they’ll rally around anyone who has a need,” Mary Beth remarks.

Girls with Gears didn’t just bring Mary Beth some of her closest friends; it also brought her to her future husband. One day, while at the house of one of Girls with Gears’ members, she ran into Gregg Goldenbagen. And from there, she ran into him again at Pelotonia on the Patio in 2015. They went on their first official date after Pelotonia on the Patio and have been together ever since.

“Any time you can share an interest with someone, you have a closer relationship,” Mary Beth says. “Knowing he was someone who cared about a cause that has touched me and so many people, that helped bring us together in a lot of ways.”

Following Ride Weekend 2016, the couple decided to take a vacation to Hilton Head Island with a stop on the way to Mary Beth’s favorite place, Wintergreen Resort in Virginia.

“Once we got to Wintergreen, I knew that this had to be the place to ask her to marry me,” Gregg explains. “It was one of the most breath-taking places I’ve ever been. As we were sightseeing the first morning, we came to one of the overlooks on the mountain. I waited until everyone else was gone, and I popped the question.”

Gregg and Mary Beth were married at Wintergreen one week after Ride Weekend 2017. Amidst all the wedding preparations, they still rode that weekend and supported the cause that is so near to their hearts. They caught other participants’ attention that weekend with their unique attire. Gregg sported a tuxedo jersey and Mary Beth had a veil on her helmet.

“We wish that we could relive the entire event – that Ride weekend and wedding weekend – all over again!” Gregg says.

Wes Kull and Jenna Mackey

Wes Kull and Jenna Mackey started training for Pelotonia together through different Pelotons and friends who “enjoyed training together and getting up at 6:00 a.m.” The training rides helped them prepare for their routes, but they were also about being social and getting to know other people.

While training for Pelotonia 2018, Wes and Jenna developed a close friendship that eventually became a relationship. By Pelotonia Weekend, they were officially dating. Little did they know, however, that next year’s Pelotonia would be the one they’d never forget.

“When thinking about our lives and our relationship, I knew that Pelotonia had to be a part of the next milestone of our lives,” Wes says.

In addition to the rush of emotions that already come with Ride Weekend, Wes and Jenna added in even more excitement to Pelotonia 2019. The couple had just completed their 100-mile Ride when Wes ushered Jenna to a shaded tree where he planned on proposing.  

 “I totally knew he was going to propose,” Jenna adds with a laugh. Even though she knew what was coming, Jenna was still overwhelmed by just how happy she was in that moment. She was overjoyed when Wes took out the ring that had been hiding in a saddle bag attached to his bike and put it on her finger.

The proposal was caught on camera by friends and onlookers. In addition, these individuals were able to share in the most exciting part – that she said yes!

“I wanted to make sure the proposal was unique and special but didn’t distract from the meaning of the day,” Wes added.

For Pelotonia Ride Weekend 2020, the couple will be officially married! The two are currently planning their June wedding and hope to incorporate Pelotonia into it in some way.

Do you have a Pelotonia love story? Share it with us!

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