Article

Psyched to Climb Cycling Team Rises to New Fundraising Heights

October 21, 2020

In just two years, a dedicated group of cyclists has raised more than $200,000 for the Pediatric Mental Health Institute through the Courage Classic Bicycle Tour. Read how they are making a difference and what inspired the team’s captain to get involved.

Team Psyched to Climb at the 2019 Courage Classic

As a parent of teenagers, Lydia Lambert Woodard is concerned about the mental health landscape in Colorado, especially the availability of care for adolescents. She also enjoys cycling and the outdoors. Last year, these two passions came together when she became the co-captain of Psyched to Climb, a new Courage Classic cycling team dedicated to raising funds for mental health services at Children’s Hospital Colorado.

For more than three decades, thousands of cyclists have come together each year to raise millions of dollars for Children’s Colorado at the annual Courage Classic Bicycle Tour in Copper Mountain. Alongside her co-captain, Chad Pennick, Community Outreach Coordinator for the Pediatric Mental Health Institute, Lydia and the Psyched to Climb team are already making a tremendous difference in addressing the youth mental health crisis.

“It was so inspiring to ride,” says Lydia of her first Courage Classic bicycle tour in 2019.

The inaugural Psyched to Climb team of 40 participants raised $90,000 in 2019 to help kids facing mental health challenges, a remarkable achievement for a first-year team.

The 2020 Courage Classic was a little more challenging—as much because of the smokey air caused by nearby forest fires as the fact that, due to the pandemic, this year’s event was virtual, so the 70-member team couldn’t ride together. But the team was tenacious, and neither of these obstacles stopped Psyched to Climb from raising more than $130,000 for the Pediatric Mental Health Institute at this year’s virtual event. It was the second highest fundraising total among all the teams participating in the Courage Classic this year.

“The pediatric mental health crisis negatively impacted Colorado youth long before COVID-19,” says Lydia about why she feels so strongly about the team’s cause. “And we already are seeing the effects this pandemic is having on kids as they struggle to navigate online learning, the lack of social involvement and all the other anxiety that accompanies the stressors in kids’ lives today.”

Funding for mental health has never been more critical. The money raised by Psyched to Climb is being used for mental health research, enhanced community partnerships and prevention programs, and the expansion of services and facilities to provide more kids with the highest-quality mental health care.

In addition to critical funds, Psyched to Climb teammates share another important goal: Ending the stigma that surrounds mental illness.

“Young people are much better at talking about mental health than people of my generation,” Lydia says. “We have a lot to learn from them.”