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Paige Wunrow: The Force Behind The Tour de Quarantine Shirts

By: Angelina Palermo  April 25, 2020

At the beginning of the global pandemic, Brad Sohner, a well-known race announcer, decided that the world needed a good laugh. With a lack of sports to be watched, Brad created a race series called the Tour de Quarantine that airs on his social media channels. The cycling community was united over these hilarious videos and naturally, it elevated to the next level.

In disbelief that no one was selling merchandise, TdQ fan Paige Wunrow, stepped in to make it happen. Not only did she want a T-shirt for herself, but she wanted to help. In coordination with Brad, they decided that all of the proceeds would be donated to the USA Cycling Foundation. The T-Shirt went up for sale online, and the community response was through the roof. A few days later, the store expanded to a women’s cut t-shirt, then even adding mugs, cups, pajamas, and onesies.

We had a chance to talk to Paige to see how she and her husband are handling quarantine and why they wanted to get involved.

How have your daily lives been affected with the stay-at-home order? Are you both able to work from home?

I can stay home unless I need groceries. My husband and I both are able to maneuver jobs from home. He is a PhD student so he is doing his classes online and he's also a tutor. He is currently in another room tutoring students online. I'm a violin teacher. I've been teaching violin also through FaceTime whatever my students are able to do. So that's great. I'm one of the private teachers at a school district, and some of the kids have the after-school activities that parents asked if I could come to their house because it makes it easier for other travels with other siblings. It's not as easy, but I don't miss driving out to their homes all the time or to where we teach it's nice to be able to save some of that time and just be here.

Have you both been able to get on your bikes at all?

We live near Chicago. My friends’ living in the city and had issues of riding outside because the trails are so packed. So I'm hoping that it won't come to closing all of the trails. Since we live so far out in the suburbs, there aren’t as many people and we’ve been able to get outside, but have still been riding inside as well. We got about 60 miles in the other day and only saw a few people and we kept our distance.

What does your training look like now that races have been canceled?

The biggest part of our season was the first half that has all of our local races. It’s kind of sad that those have been canceled, but we understand. All of our clubs’ races in April have been canceled rather than postponed. I think the biggest one that my husband and I were looking to is to Tour of America's Dairyland, which I think is still kind of up in the air. So we'll just have to wait and see. We've been training. We don't really know what for, but we're doing something. Like everyone else, we don't really know when we'll be able to show it off, yet.

How have you guys been able to stay motivated with really no end in sight for when your next race will be?

We actually just joined a local club, PSIMET, and that's been helpful to try to see where we are with the Illinois Cycling Association and what decisions are being made. My husband actually got a Zwift membership for Christmas thinking we would only do it for three months until racing started. It’s safe to say now we’re extending it. It has been very helpful. We've been doing Zwift rides with our club, since we can’t do group rides anymore. I know a lot of them use discord so they can all talk while they’re riding. I haven't actually gotten into that yet but I've heard it's really fun to help stay motivated while you're on Zwift.

What made you want to reach out to Brad to support the Tour de Quarantine?

My husband and I started doing local races about two years ago and just kind of got into the USA Cycling community. Brad Sohner does the commentary, at the Intelligentsia Cup and Tour of America's Dairyland which we did last year. So, we know of him and seeing him on Twitter do these videos, was really funny. My husband and I were like ‘I can’t believe someone hasn’t come out with a T-shirt for this yet!’ Later, we got the email from USA Cycling talking about the hardships they were facing financially without having events this year. That’s when we thought that this would just be a really good connection, so we reached out.

What’s something that has changed during this time and what is your hope for when we get out of quarantine?

We know a lot of the local officials that we've met through racing and so there's so many people all over the US that have been affected by not having their events. It's cool to see people that we know locally, that are helping out and there's people all over the US that are vying for the TdQ videos or commenting on Brad's page. I'm hopeful that even with not being able to race and be together, it'll be something that can kind of push us that when we do get together, there will be continued support with race events. People will have a better understanding of all the things that go into setting up events, and how many people are involved and things like that. There's a lot that goes into it. My husband and I are grateful that we've joined the club now because they're pretty involved with racing, and we get kind of firsthand of what needs to happen in order for a reset to happen, and the volunteer support. So it will be very helpful and gives us a reason to all get back together.

Since you’re in Chicago, were you planning on racing Cyclocross Nationals this year?

We only live about eight minutes from the park so as long as something crazy doesn’t come up, we’ll be there volunteering every day!

Shop the Tour de Quarantine Merchandise HERE

If you are interested in supporting the USA Cycling Foundation, CLICK HERE