Team Sea to See is made possible by the support of these amazing people:
Crew Chief, Felix Wong is a mechanical engineering consultant based in Fort Collins, Colorado. He has a mechanical engineering degree from Stanford and master’s degrees in both business administration and management/leadership from Western Governors University.
In 2008, he was one of the original eight finishers of the Tour Divide: the Canada-to-Mexico mountain bike race that is considered the grandfather of ultra-distance bikepacking races. In 2015 he also completed the Trans Am Bike Race from the Oregon to Virginia coasts, finishing 8th overall. Thus, he is one of the first and few folks in the world to have successfully raced across the United States both north-to- south and west-to- east on a bicycle in a self-supported manner. [Website]
Chief Mechanic, Paul Majors has been racing and wrenching on bikes for over 30 years. Paul has supported two winning RAAM teams and one record holding WCTT team, as well as countless cross racers and 24-hour mountain race bike teams. “I am excited to bring everything I have learned over the years to Team Sea to See to make their crossing the best it can be. Working with tandem bicycles is a challenge for RAAM, but I have done it before.”
Paul lives in Denver, Colorado where he is a board member of Bicycle Colorado and races off road for Feedback Sports.
Kyle Coon, Marketing Manager (also a stoker for the team), lost his sight at age six after a battle with Bilateral Sporadic Retinoblastoma—a rare form of childhood cancer. After meeting world-class blind athlete Erik Weihenmayer, Kyle got into rock climbing and became one of the first competitive blind rock climbers in the United States. When he was just 14 he hiked the Ankascocha Trail into Machu Picchu, and at age 15 he climbed and summited Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Kyle graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in Interpersonal/Organizational Communication and struggled to find employment for more than a year. During this year he struggled with depression and weight gain until he finally decided to start running. After connecting with someone to run with he became interested in triathlon. To date he has completed four marathons (including Boston), two Ironman Triathlons and numerous other endurance races. He is only one of nine athletes who is blind or visually impaired to complete an Ironman Triathlon in under 12 hours.
Kyle got his feet wet in the employment world by working as a Customer Care Professional for Lighthouse Works—subsidiary of Lighthouse Central Florida which is a vision specific rehabilitation nonprofit organization in Orlando, Fla. He eventually worked his way up to become the Advocacy Coordinator for Lighthouse Central Florida in which he advocated to members of government from the local to federal level on the issues surrounding employment and the blind and visually impaired community. He then left the nonprofit world to work in Corporate Operations for the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division—a division of the department of the Navy that specializes in modeling and simulation in order to train the warfighter in a safe and effective environment.
Currently, Kyle works as a Social Media and Marketing Assistant for Bubba Burger and represents the company at various endurance races as an athlete across the country. He lives and trains in the Roaring Fork Valley of Colorado with his Seeing Eye(R) dog, Skye. Follow his adventures on Facebook.
Steve O’Leary, Assistant Crew Chief and Driver
Andrea Croak, Project Manager and Driver
Graham Norwood, Fundraising Coordinator, has been securing corporate sponsorships for Team Sea to See. He is also blind.
Stephen Letnes, Music Composer, will be the music composer and film lead for Team See to Sea’s documentary. Born legally blind, he is an American composer and the Executive Director of Able Artist Foundation. Stephen has written music for over 100 films, including features for Sony Pictures, European historical societies and nonprofits that support people with disabilities. His films have been nominated and won many awards, including the “Bill Murray Comedic Award” for the film “Lady Lillian” and his score for “Santa’s Boot Camp” was nominated for “Best Score” at the Love Int’l Film Festival.
Aleshia Mueller (Reel Nomad Productions), Producer/
Emily Lafferty, Website Administrator, is co-owner of Granite Tandem Design, specializing in custom tandem bicycles. Emily and her husband, David, are ultra-cyclists and have raced tandems together for the past decade. Her work also includes website design and development, including a site, tandemraam.com for ‘solo’ tandem RAAM in 2017.
Michael Somsan, General Counsel, is a retired First Lieutenant from the U.S. Army. After suffering a gunshot injury in the line of duty which left him totally blind, Michael returned to school to earn a Master’s in Public Administration and a law degree from the University of Arizona. He is now a practicing attorney and partner and sits on various non-profit boards to give back to his community. Michael is also a para-Olympic cyclist and triathlete who recently finished first place in the physically challenged division in the 2016 Ironman World Championships.
Charles O’Kane, Mechanic and RV Navigator
Jason Coble, Mechanic and RV Navigator has been involved in the bike industry for over 17 years, including starting up his own bike shop, working as a mechanic for several national MTB and CX champions and as a sales rep for a Colorado based bicycle manufacturer. “I am honored and humbled to be a part of Team Sea to See. The drive and passion of our RAAM team really inspires me, and I look forward to helping in this adventure.”
Deb Yoder, Medical, Nutrition, and RV Team Lead
Karen Rott, Nutrition and RV Manager
Shana Erickson, Nutrition and RV Manager is Steve Letnes’ sister. She grew up in Fort Collins and is an All-American swimmer who has done Ironman triathlons.
Russ and Sheila Stevens, Van Driver and Navigator have been friends of Felix Wong for nearly two decades since finishing graduate school at Stanford. They rode their tandem across the US in 1998 as counselors for a group of teenagers and have since ridden or led many centuries, double centuries, and week-long tours. Russ finished the HooDoo 500 as a solo voyager. They have extensive crewing experience for 500+ mile endurance races and Sheila has also crewed for the Race Across the West, which covers the first third of the RAAM course. They live in Santa Clara, California, but enjoy spending time in the tiny house they built in the Santa Cruz Mountains
Matt Hannifin, Driver, well known as “the Science Guy” in Fort Collins due to owning the Science Toy Magic store there for roughly 10 years until 2017, now gives science presentations all over the world in eleven languages. Yes, eleven!
He also piloted balloons in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for 20 years, was Director of Installation at the Museum of Holography (NY, NY), is a patented inventor (boomerang for the blind), and has competed in four U.S. National boomerang tournaments. He juggles, rides a unicycle, plays the didgeridoo and has grown most varieties of carnivorous plants. https://www.sciencetoymagic.
Mark Tapp, Driver, is a friend of Chris Howard and Steve O’Leary and a fellow cyclist who used to live in Denver. He now lives in Radford, Virginia and is a financial advisor.
Jim Holden, Navigator
Bharat Pannu, Navigator is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Indian Army. He won the 2017 Ultra Spice 1000km cycle race, finished 3rd in 2018, and also completed the 2200km 2017 Race Around Austria. He will be racing RAAM as a solo rider in 2019.
Nate Faudel, Driver is a mental victory coach at Lotus Seed Life, barista champion, backpacker, and philosopher. As Dick Fosbury said, “When you reach that elite level, 90% is mental and 10% is physical. You are competing against yourself. Not against the other athlete.”
Nate says, “Mindset is everything. This adventure proves it. I’m excited and proud to be part of such an exceptional team.”
Brad Thurman, Driver was a police officer for 15 years and an armored vehicle driver for 6 years. He is medically retired due to hearing loss from numerous years on a SWAT team with a lot of flash bangs and high powered weapons. He has been married to his wife Michele for 20 years and has two teenaged boys named Zach and Ryan. Brad has many years of experience driving RVs and large vehicles and is a close friend of Mark Woodard, Team Sea to See’s alternate stoker who is blind.
Dick Sievers, Driver is an avid skier, biker, and hiker. He’s a semi-retired geophysicist and volunteer Nordic ski instructor with the NSCD and DAV.
Jessie Groeschen, Van Navigator is a practicing artist and sculptor with over thirty years experience. It has been her life mission to empower women in the arts as well as empowering nature. She works with a variety of mediums.
Recently she traveled to Amritapuri, India, the home and spiritual center of Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, “Amma” the renowned humanitarian and spiritual leader, to practice her art. Today, she is creating an original piece for Amma’s upcoming North American Tour. Jessie has been invited to create at the the iconic art festival, Burningman in 2016. Grace, beauty and humor inspire artist, Jessie Groeschen as she infuses soul into art as she created imaginative and unusual forms. She describes her work as “a dance – just me, spirit and the medium, right here, right now.”
Jessie has written articles for Chip Chats and Woodcarving UK. She has also authored a book in its 2nd edition. Jessie is a chainsaw art competitor, taking first place with her Lotus Flower with Leaf in the premier Women in Art Chainsaw Series. She was the first foreigner to compete at the Japanese Chainsaw Carving Championships where she carved, Three Stages of the Rose in 2002. At the English Open Chainsaw Carving Competition in 2004, Jessie carved Tree of Life, a piece inspired by Celtic tree spirits that featured 108 blossoms. In 2007, Jessie created the “Star Gazer Lily Bench” in the Netherlands, Fasna Carve receivng accolades and earning a spot in the top. She returned again in 2013. Jessie created in inaugural 2017 Kootenai Country Montana Chainsaw Championships where she created “Lucky 7” a carving about the spirit of a horse. She has an art degree from Humboldt State University with a focus, on sculpture, painting and art history.