Portland, OR


Longest Ride: 70 miles

Gina Ambrose

I proudly hail from the mid-Best, specifically the great state of Iowa. My hometown was small (population 7500, which is actually big in Iowa standards). I grew up with just my mom and I and we were very close prior to her passing a few years ago. I vividly remember learning to ride a bike with my uncle on my pink and blue huffy. The first time he took off the training wheels and unleashed me on the open road (the sidewalk), I was straight at first... but then made a beeline for our rose bushes at the end of the yard. What can I say, I’m distracted by pretty things? Luckily I wasn’t discouraged and got the hang of things assembling my posse of a friend bike gang, biking around the town to the local pool and snow cone stand in the summer, and delivering newspapers.

Before Portland, I lived in San Francisco where I got my first cruiser commuter bike, a Felt Cafe, affectionately known as the tangerine dream and would bike commute to work. Here in Portland, I started running to meet people and learn about the city. After four marathons and more half marathons than I can remember, I was burned out and ready for a change! Enter... RAGBRAI. I bought my first road bike, a Liv, and started riding around the waterfront to train for my first ride. After a couple days of RAGBRAI the past few years, I’m looking for a new challenge. Enter this! Sounds fun and random. I would love to say I accomplished a century this year.

Aside from biking, I work at Nike in merchandising. I’m recently engaged to my lovely fiancée, Philip, and we’re getting married this December in Mexico. A century will be a great way to get into wedding shape! He’s a hilarious stand up comedian- last year we had a bet where he ran his first ever half marathon with me and in exchange I performed my first stand up comedy bit. Most people think I got the short end of the stick but I beg to differ... I totally won! I also serve as the President Elect of the Junior League of Portland, a 650 member women’s leadership development non-profit organization.

Motivation? I think growing up it was always to make my mom proud. As a single mom, she made many sacrifices for me and I always wanted to show my gratefulness. As an adult, I’ve always been fascinated to see how far I can push myself and what I can achieve. I’ve never been the most athletic but I love a good challenge. And this program seems to have the right training plans to make it happen. Plus wedding shape! Added bonus!

My First Century