SALT LAKE CITY (VN) — As Michael Creed saw his hometown of Colorado Springs ablaze in June, he was like most people: powerless.
Creed (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) tried to volunteer for the American Red Cross.
“But you need quite a bit of training, and I didn’t have it. So, you kind of feel a bit helpless. I was trying to figure out the best way I could to help in quick fashion,” he said before the start of stage 4 at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah.
Creed picked up the phone and started calling his contacts across the bike-racing universe, planning a charity auction on eBay that he hopes will raise $20,000 for people affected by the massive Waldo Canyon Fire, which destroyed 346 homes and burned nearly 30 square miles this summer. All proceeds from the auction go to the Pikes Peak Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Two people were killed in the blaze, and the fire is the most expensive in Colorado’s history, with insurance claims expected to total more than $350 million. Creed’s father’s home was thought to have burned in the fire, but he learned days later that he had been a lucky one.
Creed enlisted the Pro’s Closet to manage the auction and set about collecting donations. The offerings on display are both practical (new SRAM brakes) and unique (Lance Armstrong’s road book to the 2009 Tour de France, signed with race numbers). The Armstrong donation is up to $760, with six days left on the auction. There are bike parts, frames and VIP seats for a stage during the upcoming USA Pro Challenge.
Creed donated his very own cycloross bike, fresh from the shop, without a single pedal stroke.
“I spent all this time asking people for stuff, I should probably give up something of my own,” he said. “I really just asked for favors and handouts. I was really surprised how quick people were to donate. It took on a life of its own.”
Danny Pate (Sky) gave up a Cervélo frame. Garmin-Sharp donated an entire bike (Cervélo also). But people who aren’t pros are giving items, too.
“That was really cool to me,” Creed said. “To see somebody going out of the way to contact me and request things like that.”
Creed has collected about 100 items. Thursday night, Timmy Duggan (Liquigas-Cannondale) said he wanted to donate his King of the Mountains jersey from the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. There are jerseys from Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Christian Vande Velde and David Millar (Garmin-Sharp), Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) and Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale).
For Creed, the auction was a chance to give back with the resources he’s earned as a cyclist.
“I think pros in general, we realize we live a pretty selfish lifestyle. We realize we live in a bubble, where we can’t always help, and we don’t know how to help,” he said. “And maybe this is an easy method for a rider to feel like they’re giving back instead of always taking.”
Creed is planning to shut down the auction in mid-August.
“Trying to get a charity drive going is probably the most rewarding and frustrating thing I’ve ever done in my entire life,” Creed said. “But I really want to thank every body for taking part in it.”
To view the auction visit The Pro’s Closet or search Twitter for #cofiresale.