Ivy Filbin can't remember exactly when she learned to ride a bike, but she'll never forget the feeling that made her want to ditch her training wheels. "I remember being at my grandma's house in Parma and watching my older cousins," she says. "Once you see someone just a bit older than you riding without training wheels it puts it in your head that you can do it too."
Fast-forward a couple decades and the City Roast barista is a bona fide bike junkie competing in four cycling events in the Gay Games.
The 26-year-old kicks off the games with the sprint triathlon: The swimming, biking and running trio involves a 16-mile ride. Then, she'll compete in a 30k road race and a 10k time trial. She finishes with the criterium, a 25-minute lap race with super-tight turns and a breakneck pace.
Her participation in the Gay Games is an opportunity to support her city and her community. "I'm proud to be a member of the LGBT community, and to support these games and how inclusive they are, not just for the LGBT community but for Cleveland as well," she says, "to show what a great city we are, not just as a city but as a city that's so supportive of this community."
But she almost couldn't afford to compete. The nearly $600 price tag for registration and event entry was way out of her grasp until friends stepped in. Last Christmas, fellow cyclist Julia Schnell announced that she'd started "Send Ivy to GG9," an Indiegogo campaign dedicated to covering competition costs. The crowdfunding campaign hit its goal and then some in just under two months.
"It's really great to have friends that support you," she says. "But to have a whole community support you, that's even greater."