A Sports Illustrated article by columnist Rick Reilly struck a personal chord with Glenwood Springs resident Dave Weidemann. With two young children under his own roof, it was impossible for Weidemann to ignore Reilly’s words. Reilly backed a cause with his words. And now Weidemann and his 24 Hours of Sunlight ski team, Flippin’ Sweet Moves, share the nationally renowned scribe’s cause.
Roughly 3,000 African children die daily from malaria. Insecticide-doused mosquito nets are a key weapon in combating the disease. Getting these nets – which cost around $10 apiece to purchase, ship and install – to families in sub-Saharan Africa is Reilly’s aim. With every lap the four-person team completes at 24 Hours, the Flippin’ Sweet Moves will do their part by raising money for the cause.The team is made up of Weidemann, a 39-year-old physical therapist at Western Slope Peak Performance in Glenwood Springs; Mike McCoy, a 36-year-old contractor; Basalt teacher Michael Lowe, 39; and Bob Lowe, a 30-year-old wilderness guide.”We had put this team together and were training together and thought, let’s make this not a completely selfish endeavor,” said Weidemann, who is seeking sponsorship for his team and, in general, support for the net push. “Ten dollars buys a mosquito net. It distributes it and educates a family on how to use it. In theory, it directly saves the life of a child in various countries in sub-Saharan Africa.”Nets would cut the transmission of malaria by 60 percent according to the World Health Organization, and some nets are said to protect a family of four.By reaching their fundraising goal of $3,200 – they hope to complete at least 32 laps at a per-lap pledge of $100 – the Flippin’ Sweet Moves would save hundreds of lives. Anyone wishing to pledge money to the local team’s efforts can do so by visiting nothingbutnets.net and clicking on “Find a netraiser team.” From there, visitors can search by team name or by team captain name – in this case, Weidemann.Regardless of whether or not people back his team directly or offer a general donation to the Nothing But Nets campaign, Weidemann hopes to see malaria awareness heightened locally.”Number 1, I want to see people go to nothingbutnets.net, and if they see something they believe in and want to help out, send some money,” he said.
Regularly waking up well before the sun rises to train for the grueling 24 Hours of Sunlight event – which entails skinning up the slopes at Sunlight Mountain Resort and skiing down, over and over again for 24 hours – surely beckons inspiration beyond the norm. “It adds a little significance to the race and training to have something larger than ourselves to race for,” noted McCoy, who last year linked up with Michael Lowe to compete as a two-man team in the inaugural event.This year, McCoy and Lowe recruited Weidemann and Bob Lowe, Michael’s younger brother. The team is hitting the training hard.”Three days a week I get up at 3:40 and meet my teammates at 4 a.m. in Glenwood,” Weidemann said. “We try to be heading up the mountain at 4:30. That gives us time to do two laps on the mountain. I’ll be home at 6:30 or 6:45, take a shower, eat breakfast and go to work. We also train some evenings, some weekends.”Though adhering to a demanding regimen, Weidemann and company like to keep things loose, as evidenced by their team name – a call out to fans of the movie “Napoleon Dynamite.””We’re having fun with it,” said Weidemann.For the most part, the teammates met through their children. Three of the four – all but Bob Lowe – are fathers. It’s no wonder these amateur endurance athletes are rallying behind a disease that wreaks havoc on the young.”All of us in the valley and this country are very lucky and blessed for all we have,” McCoy, a father of three, said. “This is our chance to extend out to the people that don’t.”For more information on the fundraising effort, contact Weidemann at 928-7112.