Remember that guy, Allen Lim, who rode off on his bicycle at TEDxMileHigh?  That guy with a Ph.D. in Integrative Physiology from CU Denver who turned his love of bikes into a vocation that helped guide countless professional riders in the Tour de France and beyond? How about that woman, Shannon Galpin, who spoke on the importance of the ‘Power of Voice’ for women and girls at TEDxMileHighSalon? Well, as expected, neither of their stories ended on the stage. Dr. Lim has now gone on to create Skratch Labs (which he presented at TEDxMileHighSalon), a company that merges Lim’s academic and scientific background with his love of active lifestyle to produce real nourishment and hydration for athletes.  His involvement with pro cylclists early in his career led him to discover that most energy bars and supplements weren’t natural, and weren’t good for the rider—much of what they ate would make them physically sick.  So he fiddled around with his cooker on Tour, used his Ph.D. in physiology, and began to create all-natural, delicious energy for people that needed it the most.

                      Shannon Galpin has been cruising with her non-profit, Mountain 2 Mountain, and is currently doing an art project on the Streets of Kabul that showcases the soul of Afghanistan, where art and self-expression are often limited.  The exhibition has traveled around the US to various world-class museums, including the Denver Art Museum, to break false pretenses of a country so often misunderstood, raise our global literacy, and show another story of the Afghan people and countryside.                             The life-size photographs are now in Afghanistan; a ground-breaking project that casts aside the current narrative of war, instead showcasing the beauty, color, and vibrancy of the Afghan people to those who might need to experience it the most: the people themselves.  Though the soul of the organization is lifting the voices of women involved in gender violence in Afghanistan, the exhibition is a showcase for all—the good, the bad, the real, the beautiful, the dark, the common humanity.


          Through Mountain 2 Mountain, Shannon has used her love of bikes to serve as a vehicle for social justice, and Dr. Lim has used his love of cycling to share his desire for better health and nutrition for all. Now what?
Well, we are excited to hear that the two have now teamed up after meeting at TEDMileHighSalon, and have created a Colorado partnership that seeks to expound upon their passions and visions. Next year, Mountain 2 Mountain is taking their vision to raise the voices of women to Colorado, in a domestic program called Strength in Numbers.  Using what she’s learned as a victim of gender violence herself, and her extensive work with women and girls in Afghanistan, Strength in Numbers seeks to turn Colorado victims into social change-makers and leaders through mountain biking. From the website:

The week-long retreats will consist of daily mountain bike rides and skills sessions with local and international mountain bike riders/racers, morning yoga and meditation, and stand up paddleboarding. Guest speakers, and film nights with filmmakers and movies and discussions like; Miss Representation, 23 Feet, MoveShake, alongside bike flicks like LifeCycles, etc. will broaden minds, spark conversation, and inspire change to create our Strength in Numbers.

The strength, confidence, camaraderie, and empowerment developed during the program is only the first step.  The ripple effect of the retreats is created as the young women take part in community social action projects after their camp – back in their communities or overseas with Mountain2Mountain projects.

At Strength in Numbers, Skratch Labs will feed the campers like they’re pro cyclists.  Says Dr. Lim on M2M’s blog, “We know this isn’t necessarily the right decision for a company so young and vulnerable in terms of bottom line, but it’s 100% the right decision on an emotional level.”  For Dr. Lim and Shannon Galpin, it’s a relationship that fits. Like Strength in Numbers, when the dust finally settles, we believe that the ripple effect of any event should be action.  We desire that TEDxMileHigh, or any event that brings together extraordinary people, elevates our community through the action of attendees, speakers, and volunteers. We’re excited to see what transpires in our community after TEDxMileHighWomen. With that in mind, we want to pose a couple questions for the TEDxMileHigh community: What connections have you made at TEDxMileHigh?  How did it impact you or your understanding?  Did you walk away and take action?