Dedication Recipient & Dinner
Each year El Tour is dedicated to a special person who has made significant contributions to bicycling and the community. He or she is honored the Thursday before the event at a special Dedication Dinner.
All are invited to help us celebrate and honor the Dedication Recipient. In addition to being able to meet this year’s Dedication Recipient, you’ll also get to meet other notable El Tour participants. Limited tickets are available for this fun evening with the cycling community so plan on making your reservation early.
When: Thursday, April 4, 2019
Where: Mesa Convention Center, 201 N. Center Street, 85201
Building B, Palo Verde Ballroom
6:30pm – No host cocktails
7:15pm – Dinner is served
The 2019 El Tour de Mesa Honors Denise Korenek
The Holualoa Companies 29th El Tour de Mesa, scheduled for April 6, 2019 is dedicated to Denise Korenek.
Korenek holds the record for the World’s fastest person on a bicycle. In 2018 Denise Korenek set the paced bicycle land speed record of 183.932 miles per hour.
Korenek, from Encinitas, Calif, set her record time on Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats. In three separate centuries, less than a dozen people have set a bicycle land speed record. In 2016 Denise Korenek (Mueller) was successful at setting the first ever Women’s paced bicycle land speed record of 147.7mph. Then on September 16, 2018 Denise shattered the overall (men’s) record of 167mph with 183.9mph.
2018 El Tour de Mesa Recipient – Wayne Churchman
Holualoa Companies 28th El Tour de Mesa, Central Arizona’s premier springtime cycling event held April 7, was dedicated to Wayne Churchman.
A cyclist for 42 years, Churchman is one of America’s top four perimeter bicyclists, eight-year event director of El Tour de Mesa and the current record holder for the perimeter of Mesa.
In the last couple of years Churchman has peddled more than 50,000 miles – 23,558 of those were perimeter miles, good for fourth place overall on the list of top perimeter cyclists.
“He was just the obvious choice,” said Richard J. DeBernardis, president of Perimeter. “Wayne has done so much to advance El Tour de Mesa and cycling in the city. He’s been doing this for a long time. His devotion and love of cycling make him the perfect dedication recipient for El Tour de Mesa 2018.”
“It’s just fantastic and quite an honor” Churchman said upon hearing the news. “I grew up doing things for people to be happy and to make sure they had a good time. That’s why I got into doing events. There are very few people who are able to have their vocation be their avocation.”
2017 El Tour de Mesa – Mayor John Giles
Holualoa Companies 27th El Tour de Mesa, was dedicated to Mayor John Giles – Mesa’s Ironman Mayor.
Born and raised in Mesa, Mayor Giles is an active marathoner and triathlete who has completed two full Ironman competitions, 20 marathons and four Boston Marathons.
“I have known Mayor Giles for many years both as an avid cyclist, as he has trained for triathlons with the Red Mountain Brumbys bike club, and as mayor,” said Wayne Churchman, El Tour de Mesa’s ride director. “He has a true love and understanding of cycling and has done much to advance El Tour within the City of Mesa. His help and love of cycling make him the perfect Dedication Recipient for El Tour de Mesa 2017.”
“It is an honor to be recognized at this year’s El Tour de Mesa,” Mayor John Giles said. “Cycling is a way of life in Mesa and I appreciate all that El Tour de Mesa gives back to the community through local charities.”
The 2016 El Tour de Mesa Dedication Recipient – Nelson Vails
The 2016 Holualoa Companies El Tour de Mesa was dedicated to Nelson Vails – Olympic Silver Medalist, 1984.
Vails is the first, and only, African American cyclist to win a medal at the Olympic Games. His improbable ascension from New York City bike messenger to the podium at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games, catapulted him to the world stage. Nelson Vails was known as “the fastest cat in the concrete jungle” and the cycling world dubbed him the “Cheetah.” Vails has committed his life to inspiring others around the world to overcome the odds and become their own champion.
2015 Dedication Recipient - the Honorable Scott Smith
2015 Dedication Recipient
To call the Honorable Scott Smith a visionary for Mesa would be an understatement. During his six years as Mayor of Mesa, the City began its transformation into one of the most bicycle-friendly communities in the country. Some of the highlights of his mayoral career include: President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors; found a way for Mesa to finance a Chicago Cubs training stadium; began an economic-development initiative with the acronym HEAT — health care, education, aerospace, tourism and technology — which has helped Mesa get straight to its goal of growth. Because of Smith’s efforts, Mesa’s downtown has been refreshed with the pending arrival of four liberal-arts satellite campuses, light rail and an array of popular businesses.
He’s a lawyer, a former accountant, a homebuilder and served as a missionary in Bolivia. In terms of his relationship with Perimeter Bicycling, he’s the man who asked to change the name of El Tour de Phoenix to El Tour de Mesa.
“One of Mayor Smith’s goals was to help the City become more bicycle friendly and he saw how that could be an economic engine for Mesa as well. The event always started and finished in Mesa, so why not honor the City by renaming it El Tour de Mesa. ” said longtime Mesa resident and event director, Wayne Churchman.
CONGRATULATIONS SCOTT——and THANK YOU!
2014 Dedication Recipient: Milt Fort
Milt Fort has been around cycling in the Phoenix area for more than a quarter century, being instrumental in what used to be the Scottsdale Scenic Century, now known as Holualoa Companies El Tour de Mesa presented by Pierson Construction. Because of his loyalty and commitment to the event, he has been named the Dedication Recipient for the 2014 El Tour de Mesa.Fort, 63, a longtime rider and the former assistant director of the Mesa Convention & Visitor Bureau, has been a strong advocate for El Tour de Mesa for more than two decades. He’s considered a co-founder of El Tour de Mesa.
“He’s been involved with the event since it started and he’s been a great person to work with,” said Wayne Churchman, the event’s organizer.
El Tour de Tucson’s Founder & Director, Richard J. DeBernardis, recalls meeting Fort and bringing up the idea of riding a perimeter around the Phoenix area. That’s when the event was born.
“He told me that he’d like to help with that,” DeBernardis recalled. “So, a 24-year-old friendship began. He has made sure we were funded for the ride all these years.” Fort knows how important El Tour de Mesa is to the community. He also knows how important it is to bicycle for fun and fitness, riding in the event as well as assisting with bike patrol.
”He started to bicycle, got his kids to bicycle and others too,” DeBernardis said. “Then he came to El Tour de Tucson and started riding here. He has always hoped that El Tour de Mesa would turn into something like El Tour de Tucson.”
CONGRATULATIONS, Milt — and THANK YOU!
2013's Dedication Recipient: George Esahak-Gage!
George was born in Tucson, Arizona in 1958. He cycled throughout his youth and moved from Arizona in 1976 to attend college and law school, and for a while he left his bicycle behind. But he returned to start his law career in Arizona in 1983 and, finding himself a bit out-of-shape, he decided to resume cycling and to take up triathlon. He fell in love with the active triathlon lifestyle, and soon found himself competing in most of the local races. George made steady progress and eventually began doing well in multisport races of all types and distances.
George has now completed over 250 triathlons, including 16 Ironmans, in locations all over the world. Eight of those Ironman races have been at the World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. He has also represented the U.S. as a competitor at 6 different Olympic Distance Triathlon Age Group World Championships, and he won a bronze medal for his age division at the 2003 Olympic Distance Triathlon Age Group World Championship held in New Zealand. In 2004, he was the national champion in his age group at the USA Triathlon Half-Ironman National Championship. Overall, George has won 40 triathlons in his 30-year career.
George has done most of his racing and traveling with his wife, Jane, herself an accomplished triathlon competitor. When not racing triathlons, George worked for a number of years as a real estate lawyer and partner at the Phoenix law firm of Jennings, Strouss and Salmon, PLC.
In 2006, George suffered a near-fatal accident while on a training ride when he was struck by a car driven by an uninsured motorist. In the blink of an eye, George’s life changed as the vein to his heart was torn, his lung was crushed, his neck was broken and his lower leg was shattered. In all, he broke 21 bones throughout his body and doctors needed to insert titanium rods and screws in his arm, leg and hand. The helmet he was wearing saved his life, but he suffered a traumatic brain injury and his legal career came to an abrupt end. After months of extensive therapy and rehabilitation, George returned to participating in triathlons. He started a new career as a full-time triathlon coach, joining his wife Jane in running their endurance-training company, Gage Total Training.
George also started a non-profit company called the Gage Safer Streets Foundation, which raises funds to support various aspects of cycling advocacy. The Gage Safer Streets Foundation has donated funds to organizations such as the Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists, the Not One More Foundation, and the League of American Bicyclists to support their programs.