Lead Challenge team formed to honor Frisco cyclist who died in 2022 crash

Greg Bachman had intended to complete the Lead Challenge before he died riding his bike the afternoon prior to the 2022 UNBOUND Gravel event in Kansas

"Just when I’m going home alone, I know Greg would be happy for them," Crystal said regarding the five friends who completed the Lead Challenge in his honor. "But I’m so devastated that he’s not with me, that he didn’t get to see it, and there’s really no justice."
Crystal Miller/Courtesy photo

Editor’s Note: This is the final story in a three-part series on Greg Bachman, a Frisco cyclist who died after being struck by a vehicle while riding the afternoon before the 2022 UNBOUND Gravel event in Kansas.

Frisco’s Crystal Miller is still suffering from the death of her husband, cyclist Greg Bachman, who was fatally hit by a car during a ride in Kansas on June 3, 2022. She can sense the confused stares and thoughts from members of her own community as she grapples with her mental health struggle. 

“People don’t know that I saw it, that I was there, that I watched it, that I live it every day,” she said. 

“It’s changed my whole personality and demeanor.” 

The support from her Lead Challenge teammates has been invaluable during the coping process. 

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“I’m angry, miserable … just trying to get through the day,” she said. “But that little cadre of friends is helping me get through.” 

A group of Miller’s closest support beams, those who’d held her up in the darkest days immediately following the crash, coalesced to form a Lead Challenge team — the first of its kind in Leadville Race Series history — with each individual completing one leg of the grueling endurance challenge Bachman had hoped to finish in 2022.

Even Miller’s attorney, Brian Weiss, had agreed to ride with the team, but a June 2023 leg injury forced him out of the saddle.

In addition to competing, the group also saw to it that Bachman would leave a legacy in his classroom, as well. The group raised $8,265 toward supplies and equipment, ensuring his vision of helping students thrive outside lives on.

Miller and Bachman on one of their countless outdoor adventures.
Crystal Miller/Courtesy photo

Kirsten Gilb, who runs often with Miller, took on the first test of the Lead Challenge on June 17 at the Leadville Trail Marathon, where a slushy wintry mix blanketed the cloud city.

“She had the hardest leg,” Miller said of Glib, who had always appreciated Bachman’s quiet, humble and goal-driven presence.

“Just watching him on the trail was a gift,” Glib wrote on the team’s Colorado Gives365 page before competing. Her partner, Gretchen Nies, held down the 10k on Aug. 13. Her lessons from Bachman included “being prepared, living in the moment and loving what you’re doing.”

The team’s Leadville 100 trail mountain bike representative, Fred Newcomer, said Greg and Crystal — his neighbors — were “a driving force” in getting him back to focusing on the bike. 

The Lead Challenge team formed in honor of Greg Bachman crosses the finish line of the Leadville 10k trail run together.
Courtesy photo

“Greg would always quietly nudge me on our morning dog walks — ‘get out and pedal today,'” Newcomer stated on the team’s page.

“He and Greg were very, very close,” Miller added. “I would say Fred has definitely been kind of my rock and support helping me through the day-to-day living.” 

Crystal Miller hugs Fred Newcomer after the end of the Leadville 100 Trail Mountain Bike race earlier this month.
Courtesy photo

Holly Cross carried the baton on the final leg, the Leadville Trail 100 Run on Aug 19. In her previous attempt at the race, she dropped out around mile 70. 

“Greg and I have some unfinished business on the course we need to complete,” she stated on the team’s webpage before the race.

But Cross, who has emerged as a close confidant for Miller throughout the last year, wasn’t able to finish the Leadville 100 Trail Run. She dropped out at mile 76, experiencing knee pain and nausea.

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And so, as with Miller’s efforts to clear her husband’s name, some unfinished business remains. Perhaps, however, hope does as well.

While riding, Miller still talks to Bachman frequently — about everything: the accident, their past, the many beautiful memories they shared and others they’d hoped to make. 

“I think a lot about what he would have told me; I do think about him and our life together,” she said.

During her leg of the challenge, the Silver Rush 50 MTB in July, Miller had a moment where she felt hopeless and weary, grinding up the never-ending county road ascent of Leadville’s east side.

Whenever he sensed such dismay, the skilled, well-balanced Bachman used to put his hand on his wife’s back and give her a push as he pedaled. 

Alone on Leadville’s mining district road, when quitting seemed to be the best option, Miller noticed something.

“I felt his hand on my back, pushing me,” she said. 

“If we can give back to the community, ultimately that’s what Greg would want,” Miller said. “To be able to give back to Snowy Peaks.”
Crystal Miller/Courtesy photo

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