MEET THE ABB STAFF

These are the people who make it all happen...the man behind the whole show, the voices on the phone, and the faces on the road who will lead Fast America 2007 across the nation.

Back        Meet the Riders                       

President:  Douglas Torosian

Doug had a love of long distance cycling from a very young age.
He first rode cross country self contained in 1982. And in the last 24 years has provided the means for 1000’s of cyclists to achieve their goal of riding their bicycles across the United States.


ABB was founded by cyclists for cyclists as a full service long distance touring alternative for bicyclists who want to cycle across the USA.  “Our philosophy is to create a level of support for our cyclists that includes; great routes, motel lodging, meals, friendly experienced cycling staff, compressive mechanical and sag support, luggage transportation, daily maps and cue sheets, etc.  Our goal is to allow you, the cyclist, to ride your bike at your own pace and truly see America...as you only can from the seat of your bicycle.  No worries, ride your bike!”  "We continually update our current tours to find the best roads, lodging, logistics, etc., while continuing to develop new and interesting events to give cyclists a real choice of touring options to see this great country.  We hope to see you ride with us someday."

 

Associate Director of Operations: 
Bill Lannon

Came to ABB in 2001.  The voice on the other end of the line when you call to sign up or have a question.  Responsible for marketing, advertising, and all materials sent out to the riders.  Coordinates motels, meals, and other tour logistics.

 

 

Office Manager: Karen Bagshaw

Been with the organization since '93.  Responsible for accounting and creating all documentation that leaves the office.  Not to be confused with Karen Bauer (the one that eats broccoli).

 

ON ROAD STAFF


 

MIKE MUNK, Tour Leader/Mechanic


Age: 59
Married:  (To Barbara)
Home:  Prattville, Alabama (Transplanted Yankee...originally from Indiana)
Occupation:  Retired Air Force Navigator, Cross Country Bicycle Ride Leader, UBI Certified Bicycle Mechanic
Experience:  Cycling since 1989
Bike:  Custom Roark Titanium
Favorite Quote:  "You don't quit moving if you get old, you get old if you quit moving!"
Second favorite quote:  "Your worst day on a bicycle is better than your best day at the office."
Third favorite quote:  "Put the hammer down now, I can rest when they put me underground!"

Experience: First rode across the country as staff with Cycle America in 1996 upon retiring from the Air Force.  First rode with ABB in '97 and began serving as head mechanic and leading ABB tours in '98.  Has crossed the US 27 times and has led a total of 39 tours with ABB as of 1 Jan 2007.  

Started riding in 1989 at 42 years old and started racing at 45.  Since '89, has amassed over 150,000 miles and has medaled at district, regional, and national levels in Armed Forces Masters, USCF Masters, and Senior Olympics competitions.  Training includes:  LABs Effective Cycling Instructor Certification, United Bicycle Institute's Bicycle Mechanic Certification, and is a Walden School of Cycling graduate.  Four time National Senior Olympics Gold medalist; currently, the 5K time trial Bronze Medalist (55-59 age group).  Still holds the 50-54 National Senior Olympics record for the 5K time trial (6:29/29.0 MPH at Orlando FL, '99).   

Although cycling is a passion, other interests include golf, traveling, meeting new people, and playing with this web site.

 

BARBARA MUNK--Assistant Tour Leader, Logistics Coordinator: Lodging, Food, Finance, and MOM


 

Age: 57
Married: To Mikie
Home:  Prattville, Alabama
Occupation:  Keeping Mike out of trouble is her full time job, but her grandkids (4) call her "Super Nena!"
Favorite Quote:  "Being happy is a personal responsibility."

Heard saying to a motel desk clerk:  "Do you want to talk to the man in charge, or the woman who knows what's going on?"
Experience:  Barbara began supporting bicycle tours so she could see Mike in the summer time.  After he returned from his third summer on the road while she stayed home, she told him if he went again, he had to take her or stay home himself.  She has been a wonderful addition to the ABB staff as she comes to us with 8 years experience supporting and developing bike tours.  Her basic duties include taking care of the luggage, meals, motels, and general support of the riders (but mostly, as said before, she spends the majority of her time keeping Mike in check).  You'll see her smiling face at the SAG stops and while preparing lunches on the road. 

She spends most of her time, when away from bicycle tours, being the perfect mother to her two daughters (Krystal 35 and Niki 32) and grandma to her 4 grandkids Michael (9), Noah (6), Annaleise (3), and new granddaughter, Rebekah Joy (2).  She enjoys reading, working in the yard, travel, movies, and her grandkids (all while keeping Mike out of trouble). 

 

KAREN BAUER, Ride Leader/Senior Sag Support Specialist, Level 4
 

Age: 53
Single
Home:  Eugene Oregon
Experience:  Cycling since 4, touring since '89 (she was a bit older than 4 by then).  I asked her if she'd been riding all her life and she replied, "Not yet."
Bike:  Roark Custom TI
Occupation:  Working out and eating bagels and broccoli.
Favorite Quotes:  "It's not the goal, but the way there that matters.  The harder the way, the more worthwhile the journey."  Wilford Thesiger
And "Can I have broccoli with cheese on the side?"

Karen comes to us with 9 years staff experience.  She has been involved with numerous state and local rides and 17 cross country rides.  She has been with ABB for 7 years and we are proud to have her experience and personality on our staff.  Smile when you see her...She'll have a camera in hand at the SAG stops or in the support van when she is not riding.

She holds a MS degree in Physical Education and has coached US disabled cycling team at the Paralympics in Atlanta and Sydney Australia.  She has raced tandem at the northwest Burley events and captained a tandem during the '95 US ABA Masters Disabled Nationals to the gold medal (Set national record) in the 40K women's tandem team event with a blind stoker.  Placed 6th and 8th in the time trials and was the SILVER medalist in the 20k road race at the 2005 National Senior Olympics in Pittsburg PA.  Most recently, qualified for the '07 National Senior Olympics by placing 2nd overall in the Alabama State 40k road race and 5k time trial.

Her hobbies include: cycling, reading, working out, traveling, and meeting new people (and she plays a big role helping Barbara keeping Mike our of trouble).

 

DEBBIE TARVIN, Ride Leader/Junior SAG Support Specialist, Level 1.5

Age: 59
Single
Hometown:  Wapwallopen PA
Occupation: Finally Retired
Bike: Roark Custom Ti
Favorite Ride: Where ever I am today
Hobbies: Riding my bike
Favorite Quote:  "Life is like riding a bicycle; to keep your balance, you have to keep pedaling."

This is Debbie's second year as staff with ABB, and she's ridden with us on 3 previous occasions.  We've been after her to be on staff for a long time and she finally decided it was time to come join us and retire from her former life...great to have her...her smile is infectious.  She plans on working hard at having fun now that she's retired.  She was heard to say, "I retired from a 9-5 for a 24-7.  Let's see...9+5 is 14...24+7 is 31...that's a bigger number so it must be better right?"  Riiiiiiiiight Deb.

Debbie started riding with a kiddie seat on the back and just kept riding...she still has the kiddie seat on the back of her former bike.  She eventually bought a road bike and started touring. 

She loves the outdoors so she is a perfect match for staff duty...she said she'd even sleep in a tent if we needed her to.  Luckily, Karen needs a roommate. 

Debbie has two sons and twin granddaughters. 

Many of you may have seen Debbie and didn't even know it...that's her behind Floyd Landis (in the white hat) during the Tour de Georgia.  Oh, she's the one who didn't see the mike in Floyd's face said "OLN" on the label.  Nor did she realize he was being interviewed after the Brasstown Bald stage when she waived at her friend who was taking her photo.  So she wasn't trying to be dorky on TV...it just happened.

 

JIM BENSON, Mechanic
 

Age: 49
Single
Hometown:  Lincoln VT
Favorite Quote: 
Sometimes I get lost in thought and my brain is a really big place
Occupation: Recreation Technician
Bike: Specialized Roubaix
Favorite Ride: The one I’m going to do today
Hobbies: Reading, Tour de France, collecting maps 

Jim has over twenty years of experience leading bike tours in the USA, New Zealand and France. He started with Vermont Bicycle Tours in 1983 leading trips and working in operations at the Bristol HQ. He led the first tours in New Zealand for VBT in 1988 and later served as Technical Project Manager at their Beaune, France office in 1993-94. One of his most memorable rides was the La voie de la Liberte, an 11 day tour in 1994 commemorating the 50th anniversary of D-day and the liberation of France by the American and Allied Forces. The route started in Normandy and followed the path taken by the liberators through western France, Paris, and finished in Bastogne Belgium,

His winters are spent working for Middlebury College at the Rikert Ski Center, the training facility for Middlebury’s Div. 1 ski team. In addition to daily operations his main area of responsibility is the maintenance and preparation of the ski tracks and has been the “Chief of Course” for several NCAA Eastern Championships and National Championships. In 1980 he was selected to be a Course Steward at the Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid.

Jim also works with Vermont Ski Safety Equipment, conducting hands on workshops designed to teach ski mechanics proper binding installation, release testing procedures, and ski tuning and repair. These workshops held each fall and sponsored in part by the major ski and binding manufacturers, are an important training tool for the certification requirements of those manufacturers.

This is his fourth tour with my crew at ABB.  If bikes need TLC, Jim's your man...we probably won't use his ski expertise this trip.
 

 

JEFF LAZER, Ride Leader/Junior SAG Support Specialist Level 1.49 and Luggage Handler Expert Grade.

Age: 54
Single...but not for long
Hometown:  St Paul MN
Occupation:  Independent contractor
Bike:  Custom steel Wyganowski
Favorite Quote: "No matter where you go, there you are."
Favorite Ride:  Anywhere with "Mike."

Jeff took his 20 year old $100 hybrid bike down from the rafters to ride from St Paul to Chicago on an Aids Ride.  Survived and has never looked back.  Eleven years later after six more Aids rides, many other charity rides, 6 days in the Rockies, and two ABB rides, he needed another challenge.  Staffing a ride!  He just finished co-leading the Mississippi Ride and has now joined us for the North Ride.  We're really excited to have Jeff on our crew, he's highly motivated and can't wait to get at least an entry level rating to his duty title.

Jeff is getting married during the ride to his honey, Sondra, who will be joining us in Mankato MN.  Jeff has one son named Grant.
 

SONDRA PUTNAM
RIDE LEADER and Jeff's Helper Level 1.

 

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