Bike Cleveland’s Own takes home the gold at GG9

ivy gold

Just a Kid from Parma…

With the Gay Games in town Cleveland is seeing one of the largest surges in tourism in the past decade.  The games have brought visitors from all over the globe to compete, cheer, and dance while advocating equal human rights.  We have reached the halfway point of this exciting week and GG9 has proved to be more than just an event that mixes advocacy with athletics.  It has proven to be a party that EVERYONE is invited too.  The city is electric. It will be bittersweet in less than a week to see our guests go home and the events facilities come down.   Many have traveled long distances to visit the rust belt. Hopefully the GG9 athletes will take home fond memories of Northeast Ohio with a desire to come back and visit someday.  For most of us who remain GG9 will eventually become “That event our city hosted back in the day.” How vividly it remains in our hearts and minds will have a direct relationship with our personal connections with the games and the local LGBT community. ivy gold large Bike Cleveland member Ivy Filbin will undoubtedly hold on to vivid memories of this week for many years to come, especially now that she has (at least one) gold medal to serve as a lifelong reminder that she came, competed, and won. Ivy grew up in Parma and lives in Ohio City.  She didn’t have to travel far to compete but as soon as she learned the games would be in Northeast Ohio the desire to compete was obvious.  Being a recent college graduate just beginning to make her way in this world she was uncertain about the practicality of paying to compete in the event.  She was considering other ways to become involved in the games when a group of close friends took it upon themselves to crowd source her registrations fees so she could compete.  The campaign was a success and Ivy was able to sign up to compete in several events, all bicycling related. Ivy won her gold member in the Circuit race on Tuesday.  When asked about her experience she immediately started describing how people on the course were completely into her Bike Cleveland jersey.  She expressed that as she would pass other riders while doing laps on the 4 mile circuit they would cheer “go Bike Cleveland” as she rode by. One of her favorite aspects about the games is how everyone supports everyone.  “I just think it’s awesome seeing all of the loved ones in the stands, and the people in the stands are cheering for everyone… It’s unlike other sporting events” says Ivy.  After her circuit race she and her opponents sat together and cheered for the men competing in the next race. One of the underlying philosophies of the games is striving for personal bests.  Ivy and her fellow athletes are undoubtedly accomplishing this across the city.  Concurrently the city of Cleveland is reaching a personal best in acceptance.  When asked what she was most excited about coming into the games Ivy talked about being curious about “how Cleveland would react.”  She says it “surprising but not surprising” how much support the community has shown. “It’s really cool seeing the gay pride flags in the windows of local businesses.”  She, and the rest of us at Bike Cleveland, hopes that the support the local businesses have shown remains once the games have gone. If you haven’t personally experienced any of the GG9 festivities yet I highly encourage you to do so.  It’s not every day that an event of this magnitude is happening in your own back yard! If you would like to see Ivy compete she will still be racing in the Cycling Time Trials at the South Mastick Picnic Area Thursday at 9AM and in the Criterium, 9AM on Saturday, at Detroit Road & West Clifton.  Wear your Bike Cleveland pride if you come out to cheer for her, she will be! -Ben Stewart.

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