These five guys who ride Lookout Mountain have 385 years under their belts. The oldest— A.J. Johnston, the guy in the middle— is 81. The baby— Andy Ades, 2nd from the left— is just 71. Along with Greg Dobbs (on the left) who’s 76, Jim Hunsaker (on the right) who’s 77, and 80-year-old John Sladek (2nd from the right), they’ve been riding as a group since the pandemic started and some of them long before that.
Although A.J. moved from Evergreen to Golden thirty years ago, the others all still live in Evergreen. And with all those years, each has a rich life’s story to tell. We’ll tell them from oldest to youngest.
A.J. was born and grew up in New England, moving out to Colorado in 1976. He spent his business career in commercial real estate, owning and running office buildings in Evergreen and Golden and elsewhere. And he has been an active civic volunteer. In Evergreen he served on the Park and Recreation Board, then after he moved down the hill to Golden in ‘93, he was on the city’s Urban Renewal Board. A.J. didn’t get into biking until he turned 60 but he took it up with a vengeance, riding whenever the weather allows and climbing Lookout every year since. When he’s not on his bike, he’s on a golf course or a pickleball court. His age doesn’t stop him because he knows that “If I quit, I won’t get going again.” So he just keeps going.
John is the group’s newest Coloradan. After serving as Chair of Neuroscience Departments at medical schools in Rochester NY and Chicago, he was recruited in 2001 to serve as the Vice Chancellor for Research at the CU Medical Center. He oversaw all the biomedical research, from clinical trials to federal grants, for five schools on CU’s medical campus. After a long break from biking, he took it up again in 2007 “to try to get in shape after too many meals with donors.” Eventually he joined Team Evergreen, served on its board of directors, and started doing big rides himself, from the Triple Bypass to the Courage Classic. Having hosted pro cycling teams for ten years at his home, he learned a lot about pro level bikes and now rides them himself.
Jim, a Colorado native who made his way to Evergreen fourteen years ago, went to CU for two years but that got interrupted when he was drafted and spent four years with the Air Force in Southeast Asia. When he got home, he went back to school, this time to DU for a BA and a Masters in Mass Communications. He worked for several TV and radio stations, then made the switch to some of the subjects he’d been covering: he went to work for the Denver Fire Department, staying for 32+ years, helping run everything from the department’s 9-1-1 Center, to Operations, to Human Resources. Then, as if those careers weren’t enough, Jim became an ER tech with Denver Health. On top of all that, he has volunteered for the Evergreen library, the Foothills Animal Shelter, and the Salvation Army. He says he has been a cyclist “as long as I can remember.”
Greg had the longest route to Colorado, coming here in 1986 from Europe where he’d served for many years as a foreign correspondent for ABC News. Based out of London, then Paris, he covered the Middle East, the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Western Asia, and Africa. When he and his family made the move from Paris to Evergreen and people asked why, he’d jokingly tell them, “We came here for the food.” He got here with a ten-speed Raleigh but quickly discovered that it was not the right bike for the mountains, so he got into mountain biking and then at the age of 60, after his wife gave him a road bike for his birthday, he turned to road biking. His favorite climbs are Vail Pass and Lookout Mountain. Greg has served on non-profit boards in both Evergreen and Vail, for causes ranging from hospice care to classical music to college scholarships. He also volunteers for an “older skiers” unit of Vail’s ski patrol.
Andy originally is from Los Angeles but, like A.J., also came to Colorado in 1976 via New England where he had been a social studies teacher, transferring his skills to Cherry Creek High School and then, soon after that, changing his career 180-degrees to become a custom home builder, which he did with award-winning success as Ades Custom Homes for 40 years. In fact for several years he designed and built the homes that Children’s Hospital raffles off to raise millions of dollars. Andy has volunteered for several non-profits, including 20 years on the board and two terms as president of Mountain Evans Home Health Care & Hospice. He calls himself a recreational bicyclist and says he’s “pretty good at a lot of sports, very good at none.”
But here’s the reality: ranging in age from 71 to 81, these guys all still ride Lookout Mountain, which means they all are very good at that! And if age has slowed them down, it hasn’t stopped them. Their motto? “Finishing is winning!” So when you see this pack of seniors heading up Lariat Loop, you’re looking at 385 years, still on the saddle.
-written by Greg Dobbs
Thank you so much for your profiles, Greg.