Elaine Bothe killing it at Sturdy Dirty

Elaine Bothe | Sorella Forte member spotlight

Joined Sorella Forte in 2009

Let’s learn about one of our longtime members, national gold medal champion and coach Elaine Bothe @elainebbikes.  

Elaine, who uses she/her pronouns, has been riding a bike since she was 4 years old. She came to racing after enjoying triathlons during and after college. She took up cyclocross in 2009, which led to her finding her passion: mountain biking.

Elaine Bothe is a coach and former racer

Elaine Bothe, a national gold medalist, is a bad-ass mountain biker and a dedicated coach.

As an experienced national-level racer, Elaine earned multiple age-group medals and high-level podium finishes, before earning a gold medal at mountain bike nationals—the only Sorella Forte member so far to earn the top national podium spot. Her adventurous spirit shines through with every encounter. She’s climbed the 11,249-foot peak of Mt. Hood and biked from Seattle to Portland in a day.

She transitioned to mountain biking in 2010, and in short order, advanced to a category 1 racer in short track. In 2012, she found her calling for mentoring through pre-ride clinics with Wenzel Coaching @wenzelcoaching. It’s with Wenzel that she discovered a true passion for helping others ride their best. During her work as a coach, she started racing enduro and downhill, where she earned several top-five finishes and became a certified mountain bike instructor.

Her first Sorella encounter was a rainy group ride in the early 1990s. She was riding on Cannondale wheels and got a nasty flat that took the group at least 20 minutes to change. She still remembers how patient her ride mates were that day. After that experience, she purchased a new wheelset, donned the Sorella Forte jersey and eventually got involved in team leadership. Serving in progressive positions on the board, Elaine started as a member-at-large, then member coordinator and finally as board president from 2013 to 2017.

Currently, Elaine enjoys riding in the woods while coaching almost full time.

She says that when she wins or does well in a race, that gives her a single smile. But when she helps others achieve and grow in the sport, her smile multiplies. She truly loves coaching, being an instructor and trainer to help spread the joy of biking.


Fun Facts

  • Elaine has a stash of lucky racing socks. They must have some red in the pattern to qualify as lucky.
  • She enjoys working on her bikes and is fond of functional work tools.
  • Elaine is a talented carpenter and has worked on remodeling two cabins.
  • She’s a cat person. She hopes her next feline friend (her last was with her 19 years) will enjoy adventures and exploring in her van.
  • Elaine has taught mountain bike classes at the indoor bike park, The Lumberyard, for years. Sadly, it is closing this fall.
  • One of her favorite summer mountain bike/enduro race recommendation is the women-run, Sturdy Dirty. It’s full this year, but rumor has it they tend to get through the wait list pretty quickly. @sturdydirtyenduro

Related Links

Ryan Leech Connection

Bike Instructor Certification Program

Wenzel Coaching

Is there a Sorella Forte member you’d like to see highlighted? Please contact us.

Julie Ann Smith and her husband have a little cycling fun on their wedding day.

Julie Ann Smith – Member spotlight

Our title sponsor, Julie Ann Smith of Blue Lake Oral Surgery, has a fun story.

Julie Ann Smith enjoys competing in cyclocross

One of Julie Ann Smith’s favorite types of races are cyclocross events.

Julie Ann (she/her) started cycling in her early 40s after years of distance running. She has not been a lifelong cyclist. Early on, she thought of cycling as far too dangerous, but her interest was piqued after she had some significant running related injuries and her doctor recommended an alternate sport. Julie Ann had to relearn how to ride since her last last bike ride was as a teenager. After purchasing a bike at River City Bicycles—a hybrid she later found too heavy for competing in triathlons—Julie Ann quickly upgraded to a faster and lighter road bike.

Like many in the Portland Metro community, she found out about Sorella Forte from River City Bicycles. She has been participating in Sorella’s Saturday intermediate rides for more than 10 years and credits the cycling community with bringing many wonderful people into her life. Prior to Sorella, Julie Ann also rode with teams Trailhead and Sweet Pea Ladies Auxiliary.

Today, Julie Ann is an avid racer and can be found racing the PIR series, time trials, cyclocross and mountain biking. Her most memorable race was a PIR on her 50th birthday when she raced while four months pregnant.

“I was dead last, but so proud,” she recalls.

Anyone who rides with Julie Ann quickly learns of her passion for the sport and eagerness to share the joy of cycling with others, including her 3-year-old, Katie, who has two bikes of her own.

Julie Ann Smith and her husband have a little cycling fun on their wedding day.

Julie Ann Smith with her husband on their wedding day. Notice her fantastic shoulder carry.

Fun Facts about Julie Ann
Joined Sorella Forte in July 2017
First organized ride: Portland Bridge Pedal
She’s also a swimmer.
First bike race: PIR on August 6, 2012. After a quick drafting lesson, Julie Ann shares, “I got last place in the novice men category, but it was FUN!”
Met her husband at her first cyclocross race.
Best meal after a ride? Burgerville. “A cheeseburger and fries after a cyclocross race, it’s become my tradition.”

Is there a Sorella Forte member you would like to see highlighted? Please contact us.

Fischer's Mill advanced ride

March board meeting news

Top news from our March 2, 2022, board meeting

Present Linda W., president; Julia S., secretary; Lisa C., member at large; Jodee Varney, treasurer; Tera H., membership coordinator; Emilie P., member at large; Clay W., social media coordinator. Members present Jaime R., Linda F., Julia S., Rhonda M.

Top news

Format of River City Bikes rides
The title has changed from “Challenge Ride” to “Advanced Ride” for the regular 8:30 a.m. Saturday ride. Think of it more like a faster, hillier team training ride. While still no-drop, many are training for races/events and there are less stops than the intermediate ride, which is focused on recruitment and getting women comfortable riding in a group of supportive riders. More conversation-pace comradery riding. See if the advanced ride is for you by contacting Lisa C.

Equity, inclusion and diversity proposal
Like Sorella Forte, many cycling teams have been on a journey to create a safe space for BIPOC, LGBTQ+ (binary, trans etc.).

Lisa C. has been taking a page from the Minnesota-based Stamina Racing Club, founded by a BIPOC cyclist who advises clubs they must be willing to put money and effort behind diversifying your club. It’s not just about recruiting current diverse cyclists; it’s primarily around creating them.

Action: The board supported Lisa’s next steps – to gather a working group to research more and propose how Sorella can move in this direction. If you’re interested in joining the workgroup, contact Lisa C.

Social Media
Clay identified 3 audiences to focus our efforts:

Current members: Highlight member stories, who’s going to what events to join in, what you are doing off the bike as well. See your teammates on social so you can share.

Potential members: Curated posts that show the team’s comradery, fun side. Yes, we also race, and can be tough racers too.

Community engagement: What’s the larger discussion in our cycling community? How do we play a part in moving/leading efforts around diversification of our sport? Participation in ongoing discussions and sharing of ideas/best practices. Regularly promote our sponsors by amplifying/sharing their posts.

Action: Need photographer to capture what we’re trying to portray/move toward. Graphic design so that we have curated content ready to go on regular basis.

Longer term: Refresh Sorella’s website using this imagery that reflects broader, diverse riders rather than an all-white, elite racing team. Think replacing homepage photo with image/graphic that represents where we’re going. Up level our photography/images for website so website and social media are aligned in the image that we’re moving toward.

Race coordinator proposal
Per member feedback, we will be adding back a race coordinator role as a board role. Club used to have this role the in past when there were more members racing. Desire communicated at annual meeting to return this role to support those who’d like to race.

Action: Watch for race coordinator opening announcement once we’ve dialed in the role description.

Sorella Bylaws Review
Per member feedback and request during our January annual meeting, board members reviewed our club’s bylaws, which haven’t been updated since 2012. With our club’s equity, inclusion and diversity journey desire is to ensure alignment between our bylaws and actions.

Action: Board will be updating language around diversity in addition to updating board role descriptions.

Researching digital waivers
Now that the RCB rides are back open to the public and we’re advertising again on Meetup, the board is researching a simple way for riders to sign a waiver before the ride begins.

Action: Tera will do research and recommend to board at next meeting.

Next Meeting

Next board meeting is June 1, 2022, at 6 p.m. Members are always welcome to join and/or bring topics/concerns/ideas to the board.

Graphic by Pixabay

Annual meeting set for January

Mark your calendar.

January 30, 2022, from 4-6 p.m. is the date for our annual meeting. Fingers crossed we can actually meet in person. We’ll evaluate closer to meeting and let you know.

Our annual meeting is usually one of the only times we’re all together, and it’s important for team building and team business. You’ll also receive 1 MiGS (Member in Good Standing) for attending.

Two Sorella board seats are up for vote at January meeting. Want to serve and have influence over club decision making? Board members earn 4 MiGS for each year served (terms are 2 years). If you’d like to run, contact Linda Watts to be added to ballot Any member can run against any incumbent or for any open position.

Board roles coming open for election at annual meeting:

Treasurer: Jodee Varney is incumbent

Secretary: Julia Sperry is incumbent


Graphic by Pixabay

Sorella Sweep at Ashes to Glory Gravel Race

Sorella Jodee Varney took first place in the Masters Women 50+ category at an October 2021 OBRA sponsored Ashes to Glory gravel race in Madras, Oregon. Rhonda Morin took 2nd and Lisa Congdon took 3rd for a Sorella sweep of the category.

The three rode 61 miles and climbed 6,200 feet on the most gorgeous October day in stunning scenery.

Tonya Roe Memorial Ride was on July 17, 2021

Ride Report Tonya Roe Memorial Ride

Twelve Sorella members started out at River City Bikes (RCB) on Saturday, July 17, 2021, and we made our way north to Marine Drive, where a tailwind set us free and we made great time heading east. We had one flat shortly before reaching Glen Otto Park, but that didn’t slow us down too much. It was awesome to meet up with another nine Sorellas and have a chance to talk to Andy, Tonya’s husband and long-time Sorella photographer, who snapped a team photo as he has so many times before. Tonya and her family will truly be missed by our club.

After that, we all headed together up to the Portland Women’s Forum State Scenic Viewpoint, a state park in Corbett, Ore., where we enjoyed the view and a bit more social time. Most of the group turned back, but the intrepid Trish and Karin (a former Sorella who joined us for the event), and I headed up Larch Mountain Road for about 5 miles, then headed south on Devereaux Road and made our way back to Hurlburt Road, rejoining the old highway in Springdale. We then retraced our route back to Marine Drive, where we headed our separate ways to head home. 

We may just call this the the Tonya Roe loop from now on.

Tonya Roe Memorial Ride was on July 17, 2021

Sorellas making their way down Marine Drive during the Tonya Roe Memorial Ride.

Ride report by Ann Thomas

Tonya Roe was a Sorella Forte cyclist.

Tonya Roe Memorial Ride

Sorella Forte member Tonya Roe will be remembered by her cycling sisters during a memorial ride on Saturday, July 17, 2021.

Tonya Roe was a Sorella Forte cyclist.

Tonya Roe is seen here in a cyclocross race, one of her favorite events. She passed away earlier this year.

Roe died January 1, 2021, in Portland, Ore., after a battle with cancer. She was 52 years young. In our years together, the club shared many, many memories with her. We miss Roe’s spirit, her kindness, her dedication to the sport of cycling and women’s fitness, her laughter and most of all her friendship. 

The ride begins at Glen Otto Park in Troutdale, Ore., at 10 a.m. Members will ride to Women’s Forum via the Old Historic Highway, with an optional return on a longer route along Bull Run Road.

For more information, contact Linda Watts, president of Sorella Forte.

River City Bicycles is a premier bike shop in Portland, Oregon.

Saturday Morning Rides are Back

After a long 16-month hiatus, our Saturday River City recreational group rides are back as of Saturday, July 10, 2021.

Now that more than 70% (and climbing) of Oregonians are COVID-19 vaccinated as of July and Oregon is opening up, we are back on the road hosting our Saturday rides at River City Bicycles, our shop sponsor’s Portland store.

We ask that unvaccinated riders wear a mask or face covering. Fully vaccinated riders are welcome to wear a mask per their comfort level, but at this time it is not required.

See About our Rides section for full details and what to expect when you plan to join us.

Tonya Roe was a Sorella Forte cyclist.

Passing of a Sorella Member

A beloved and fierce women’s cycling advocate left this earth.

Sorella Forte member Tonya Roe died on Friday night, January 1, 2021, in Portland, Ore., after a battle with cancer. She was 52 years young. We shared many, many memories with Tonya. We miss her spirit, her kindness, her dedication to the sport of cycling and women’s fitness, her laughter and most of all her friendship. 

Here are some of the precious moments and recollections Tonya’s teammates had with her:

“Tonya raced cyclocross, PIR and road. She was a strong, fierce racer. I first met her cyclocross racing in 2009 and I think she raced until 2012. She will be missed terribly by her family, her husband and two boys and all those who knew her.”  ~ Bonnie

“Her boys and husband were at the cross races with their dad when they were younger. They were the perfect family.” ~ Lynne

“Tonya was a former Kaiser colleague and brought everything to her work and cycling.”  ~ Emilie

“Tonya was so kind and sweet to me when I was a newbie Sorella trying to keep up with the group during our indoor winter training sessions. What a loss. She was good people.”  ~ Sherri

“Not only was Tonya a determined racer who liked nothing more than getting completely muddy with her teammates, she was a staunch advocate for women’s reproductive rights. Our community has lost a giant.” ~ Rhonda

This summer, if it’s safe to do so, Sorella Forte members will hold a memorial ride for Tonya. Additionally, a scholarship in her name is being explored.