PBLRB Team & Staff

The Riders

Beth Ann Orton

Hometown: Yelm, WA

Current City: Portland, Oregon

Home Team: River City Women’s Cycling Team (road), Team S&M Sellwood Cycle Repair (cyclocross)

Work: PA, Department of family medicine

Education: MPA-S : Master of Physician Assistant Studies

Beth Ann discovered bike riding in her late 20’s and started racing after graduating with her masters degree from OHSU at age 30. She started in the dirt and has several top finishes at UCI cyclocross races and a bucket full of wins in the local series here in Portland. After taking to the road for training in 2013, the discipline quickly stole her heart. She found herself finishing at the top of the list in local races and quickly made her upgrade from cat 4 to cat 2. Beth Ann is an aggressive and respectful racer who became fast friends with the other riders in the local peloton. She has done well in local stage races this season taking the overall win at Walla Walla and is looking forward to pursuing races at the top level and honing her skills on the road.

Follow Beth Ann on other places on the interwebs:

Blog: www.bethannorton.com

Twitter: @bethannorton

Sydney Running

Hometown:  Brownsville, OR

Current City: Portland, Oregon

Home Team: Ironclad Cycling Team

Work: Public Health Educator

Education: BS in Health Promotion and Behavior

Sydney started racing bikes for real in 2012. This is her first season racing with a team and she has quickly found her place among the strong and passionate group of Ironcladdies. Sydney has an ever growing love for the sport and competition, and has started out her 2014 season as a top contender for the Oregon Women’s Prestige Series. She loves racing in the Pacific Northwest and she looks forward to pushing herself and seeing what her body and mind will do against the best riders in the country.

Follow Sydney on other places on the interwebs:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/runningsydney

Twitter: @runningsydney

Instagram: @like_australia

Megan Gray

Hometown:  Spokane, WA

Current City: Seattle, WA

Home Team: SCCA/Starbucks

Work:  Bike Mechanic at Bikesport

Education: BS Civil Engineering/BA Business Administration

Megan Gray is relatively new to bike racing and it all started in Spokane. When she grew tired of seeing how many men she could beat at local races, she would venture across the state for some lady competition. She found herself hanging with the pointy end of the bike race in no time and her love for the sport is fueled in many ways by the people she meets. She has many strengths on the bike and is one of the most thoughtful humans you may ever meet. She has creative and unique ways of showing her admiration and respect for other women in the local PNW race scene and whoever crosses her path is a lucky duck. Megan raced well at Cascade Cycling Classic in 2013 and is looking forward to this opportunity to give it a go in Minnesota in June.

Follow Megan on other places on the interwebs:

Blog: www.theadventuresofboogs.com

Brenna Wrye-Simpson

Hometown:  Corvallis, OR

Current City: Portland, OR

Home Team: Ironclad Cycling Team

Work:  Sellwood Cycle Repair

Education: Bachelor of Arts, Music from Reed College

Brenna is a lifelong bike commuter, she’s never even driven a car! If you would have asked her 3 years ago if she would be a bike racer today, she may have giggled in your face and answered with a wry smile ‘no ma’am!’. How things have changed, you can hardly get this gal away from the races now. She has found a supportive and good workplace in Sellwood Cycles Repair as well.

Brenna started racing with Ironclad in 2013 and cannot get enough. She is a fresh cat 2 racer after seeing much success and moving swiftly through the ranks. While Brenna is a force to be reckoned with herself, she has also proven herself a most impressive and selfless teammate. She continues to take the time to learn the sport and continues to get better as a rider and teammate. She is looking forward to learning heaps and racing hard alongside her PBLRB mates in Minnesota in June!

Follow Brenna on other places on the interwebs:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/brenna.wryesimpson/

Instagram: @effyootoo

Alexandra Burton

Hometown:  Bridgewater, CT

Current City: Portland, OR

Home Team: Portland Bicycle Studio

Work:  Massage Therapist

Education: Associates in Massage Therapy from Umass Amherst/Oregon School of Massage

Alexandra found bike racing through Cyclocross and via a convincing argument of a good friend of hers. Her friend promised it would be really difficult, muddy, gritty, and that Ali would love it. Her friend was a wise one and Alexandra fell for racing pretty quickly.  After a couple seasons of winging it, she decided to put some focus into improving. Around the same time in 2011, she found an amazing local women’s team who offered support, encouragement, and guidance in road racing. Both road racing and cyclocross hold a very special place in Alexandra’s heart. She loves toeing the line with a group of dynamic women, never knowing what could happen on any given day. She loves the place racing takes her. Together, racing and training have helped her maneuver the challenges life throws her way. Racing is a constant reminder of how she can meet and surpass her expectations and be the best version of herself.

Alexandra appreciates the discomfort caused by racing and how it allows her to find success in small ways and unlikely places. She is very grateful for the relationships she’s formed through racing and the bonds that continue to motivate and inspire her. She is looking forward to another opportunity to do so and try her strength, intuition, compassion, and tenacity against the best women in the country while surrounded by a fantastic team and support crew from the PNW.

Follow Alexandra on other places on the interwebs:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/alexandra.burton.716

Lelah O’ Shaughnessy

Hometown:  Portland, Oregon

Current City: Portland, Oregon

Home Team: River City Bicycles Women’s Team

Work: Salesperson at River City Bicycles

Education: Currently studying at Portland State University for a BA in Spanish

Lelah has been road cycling since she was 15 years old and worked for a couple years as a bike courier while also dabbling in touring adventures. She did her first cyclocross race in 2011 and won the beginners race. Cyclocross seems to have been the gateway sport for road racing, which she found more enjoyment in. She had a successful first road season and quickly upgraded to cat 2. Lelah had a couple top ten finishes at collegiate nationals earlier this season including winning the field sprint in the road race.

Lelah is grateful to work with so many accomplished riders at her job at River City Bicycles. She credits these talented folks with her improvements and quick progress as a rider and racer. She is looking forward to racing on the PBLRB team and trying her legs in what will be her first NRC race in Minnesota in June!

Support Staff

Heather VanValkenburg – Soigneur

Hometown: Vancouver, WA

Current City: Vancouver, WA

Occupation: 6th grade teacher in Battle Ground, WA (for 14 years!)

Education: Masters of Science in Middle Level Education, BA in Elementary Education

When thinking of who to send along as ‘support person extraordinaire’ (a.k.a. Soigneur), Heather was the first person that came to mind. She has been racing and riding bikes since the winter of 2000 and she’s done it all – road, track, TT, crits, cyclocross. She found her natural strengths in sprinting and has earned 8 masters nationals titles on the track in various events. In recent years, she has returned to the road and found great enjoyment in the competition and friendships she’s made. Heather is someone you always want in your corner. She is calm, collected, knowledgeable, and encouraging in a way that will be integral to the success of PBLRB at NSGP this June.

Heather is an OBRA (Oregon Bike Racing Association) official and has helped at the USA Cycling Talent I.D. camp in Forest Grove, OR over the past two summers. She has found this teaching and learning experience to be very rewarding and keeps in touch with many of the young riders as they develop into amazing athletes.

Heather loves to eat delicious foods and this fact is a big reason she keeps coming back every season to the racing scene! Cycling keeps her fit, sane and smiley! It’s hard not to be happy when she’s having amazing adventures outdoors with her friends.

Heather has been involved with Let’s Race Bikes (LRB) from the beginning and has played a big role in helping to grow the sport of women’s road racing locally. She has emceed two fundraising events and helped lead countless rider clinics with LRB. She continues to be a great role model and advocate for the sport and PBLRB is very lucky to steal her for the whole week in June! Also of note, she has jumped through a few logistical hoops to sneak away from school during the last week, we are very grateful to her for this!

When Heather tears herself away from her bikes, you can find her hiking, backpacking, and adventuring with her dog. She is looking forward to her role with the composite team and taking on a new job within the sport of cycling. Big high fives to this remarkable woman!

Brandon Meinke – Sellwood Cycle Repair Mechanic

Hometown: Mountain View, CA

Current City: Portland, OR

Occupation: Bike Mechanic at Sellwood Cycle Repair

Brandon was born in Mountain View, CA, but has called Portland home for almost 20 years. He spent the last three years in the Twin Cities, so he will surely know his way around at North Star Grand Prix!

He works as a mechanic at Sellwood Cycle Repair and spends plenty of time on the bike when he’s not fixing the machines that bring us all so much happiness and adventure! He is the perfect candidate for PBLRB for several reasons and we are so stoked to have him aboard.

Brandon was introduced to bikes by his crazy-fast trackie sister. She gave him his first road bike, an old Trek 760, that was too big for her. Brandon credits his sister with his bike-centric lifestyle, he never would have found the sport if it wasn’t for her and we think that’s pretty neat.

Brandon also races, starting on the track and moving to road racing. He most enjoys the long road races of the epic variety.  He prefers rough terrain, tough climbing, loose gravel, strong wind, and terrible weather. He finds joy in these types of situations when everyone else is cursing, he’s laughing.

Brandon will provide these six riders with the mechanical prowess that is on par with professional teams thanks to his skills and the generosity and support of Sellwood Cycle Repair. We are looking forward to happy bikes and a great week with Brandon at NSGP in June!

Dave Aldersebaes – Director 

Hometown: Crystal Lake, IL

Current City: Portland, OR

Occupation: National Sales Manager for Ironclad

Education:  Teaching

Dave has been involved in cycling a long long time. He started racing back in Chicago some 13 years ago and has been involved with the sport at many levels. He wrote for Pez Cycling News for 10 years and his writing brought him all over the world following bike races.  Dave has dedicated the last 8 years of his life to a little racing team in Portland, Oregon, with a large focus on women’s development. His relentless passion for teaching the sport of road racing has allowed many women to progress as far as their minds, bodies, and bikes can take them.

Dave’s strategy is spot on for turning fresh new beginners into racers who ride with integrity, heart, passion, and grit. He knows how to teach and reveal the true beauty of the team sport. He has an uncanny way of rallying all his riders around a common goal and to sacrifice for one another. He always puts the focus on 100% effort, racing as one, and treating the race and all the riders with genuine respect. Whether or not his riders cross the line in the front, we are confident he will lead the team and create an atmosphere that allows each rider to race to their fullest potential each day of the race. We are glad to have him on board and look forward to watching the team cohesion grow stronger each day.