Solar Bear Ride Background

The seeds for the Solar Bear Ride were sown on a cold winter’s night about six years ago.  Two guys, Carl Karpinski and David Welch, were sitting next to one another at a basketball game at R.J. Reynolds High. Both men enjoy cycling; both have screws loose, too, which helps.  Out of the blue, Welch turned to Karpinski and said “You know what’d be fun? Riding our bikes to the beach.”
And so it began.
That year and over the next few, they coerced friends and family to come along. David’s brother Philip, Jim Vaughan and Fred Williams joined in. This year, they convinced a man named Jim Olson, a triathlete, that he should come, too. And for comic relief, they extended an invitation to Scott Sexton as well.  As the plan evolved – the 2013 version was also expanded to run across the entire state – it was decided that we might be able to do accomplish something other than wearing ourselves out. On New Year’s Day 2013, an annual fundraiser called the Polar Bear Ride that benefits Cancer Services of Winston-Salem, was cancelled due to poor weather.
Thus, the Solar Bear Ride was born.
We’re going to write, photograph and videotape some of the planning and the trip itself, and publish it in the Winston-Salem Journal and online at in hopes that some of you might be amused (or moved) enough to support the effort by supporting Cancer Services.
Stay tuned.
Scott Sexton, Winston-Salem Journal

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From the left: Philip Welch, Jim Vaughan, David Welch, Fred Williams and Carl Karpinski. This was from 2012

solarbear 2012

Who’s In:

Paul Armfield

Education: Guilford College

Occupation: Investment Manager – Wells Fargo

Family: Anna and her menagerie

Experience: It all started with the 2005 Tour to Tanglewood.  Have since ridden in the Alps, Dolomites and Colorado Rockies. Have ridden from the Triad to the NC and SC coasts in one day twice (200+ miles), so I’m hoping this ride is a more enjoyable way to get to the beach.

Why he rides:  Physical and mental health.  To see and visit beautiful places.  And a lot of my friends are cyclists. My dad died of lung cancer at 55, so I want to help others who are afflicted by the disease.

Matt and Amy Canter


Matt: North Forsyth High.

Amy:  Human Nutrition at U of NC Greensboro, Registered/Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist, Certified Healing Touch Practitioner, Aromatherapy Practitioner


Matt: Co-Owner of Ken’s Bike Shop

Amy: Owner of Balance Energize Thrive, LLC

Family: Married and have an 19 year old daughter


Matt – Riding long distances and racing since 1989.

Amy – Riding road, cross and mountain bikes for pleasure since 2010.

Why he rides: “Just the ability to go out on a bicycle and come back with a clear, happy head.”

Why she rides: A way of living further into my true authentic self.

David Fain

David Fain

Education: East Carolina University & many years of listening to others more wise than myself…….

Occupation: Business Development Manager with FSIoffice

Family: Married to Sherrie Fain, two children, Jake age 20 and Bouldin age 14.

Experience: Bike riding was my primary means of transportation when I was a kid. I rode everywhere….. More recently, I’ve participated in Triathlons and in area distance cycling events.

Why he rides:  Fellowship, competition, good health and a love for the outdoors. I loved riding bikes as a kid and about 10 years ago, after many “inactive” years, decided to get moving again. I first began Swimming at the YMCA where I was encouraged to get involved in Triathlon. That led to running and cycling where friends opened my eyes to many challenging and fun events, some of which benefit local charitable organizations like Cancer Services.

Why Solar Bear: Cancer has touched our family, like it has so many others. I want to help bring awareness to the good work of Cancer Services. I want to help raise awareness and much needed funds for Cancer Services. They helped our family in our time of need and now we want to help others.

Tommy Jonas, Jr.


Education: University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Occupation: Senior Support Specialist, Inmar

Family: Married; beautiful wife and 3 grown step sons.

Experience: Started Riding in 2003, it’s very addictive! Completed numerous challenging distance rides, including: Three State Three Mountain Century, Bridge to Bridge, 3 Mountain Madness, Assault on Mitchel, Blood Sweat and Gears and most recently Beech Mountain Metric! The more you ride the more you challenge yourself! Plus just being outside and enjoying this beautiful world!

Why he rides: It’s my therapist, mentally cleansing and physically challenging! Cycling is a great past time, and with the saddle time you build friendships that can’t be replaced!

Carl Karpinski

Education: East Carolina University.

Occupation: Professional Solar Bear

Family: Married, three sons ages 25, 30, and 32.

Experience: Has been riding since 1993, triathlete, long-distance rider.

Why he rides: For his health, the camaraderie and being outdoors. “We’re not afraid to ask people where we are.”

Petr Masny

Education: Industrial College, Czech Republic

Occupation: CTS Manager, Smith Phillips Building Supply

Family: Married to Beth Sands Masny. Son, stepson, stepdaughter, two grandkids and two dogs. And can’t forget the rest of my wonderful family in here and back in my original homeland.

Experience: Rode all kind of bikes since childhood. I enjoy mountain biking and road biking.

Why he rides: I’m riding for free endorphins. While riding I’ve met many new friends including Solar Bear bunch who gave me opportunity to participate in this ride.   I have my close family members and friends affected by cancer.

Hal Newell

Education: East Carolina University

Occupation: retired – sales executive with Yellow Transportation

Family: married for 33 years to Lynn Kiser Newell, 31 year old daughter.

Experience: bought my first road bike in 2015 while training for a triathlon. Always been a runner and got hooked on bike riding. Rode with the Solar Bears for most of the 2016 trip. Biking is a great way to get and stay in shape

Why he rides: I am cancer free – I was extremely lucky mine was caught in time and I have had minimal complications.

Jim Olson

Jim Olsen

Education: North Carolina State University.

Occupation: Businessman.

Family: Married, two daughters ages 25 and 21.

Experience: Triathlete, long-distance rider, swimmer.

Anna Roberge

Education: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, George Washington University, East Carolina University

Occupation: Speech-language Pathologist

Family:  Paul, the famous Moxie dog, two kitties, and of course, my cycling family

Experience: I started riding in March of 2016 and was immediately hooked!

Why I ride: It makes me happy; it keeps my mind in check, I enjoy my riding buddies, and I need an appropriate outlet for my immaturely competitive nature!

Ed Rockstroh

Occupation: Service Director, Valmet Automation- 32 years

Family: Married to Barbara (B-Rock) for 36 years, 2 children: Nikki – 32 and Danny – 28

               Pets: Dogs, Parakeets, deer, owls- whatever strolls through the backyards

Experience: I saw my neighbors on a group ride out of my subdivision one day and thought that looked like fun and was not getting younger!  Low and behold, my neighbor was an ex pro rider who then began to teach me about bicycle riding, training, periodization and generally how to ride for short and long rides. Knowledge is everything, just like Cancer!

Why I ride: I can stay stay laser focused on whatever the mind brings up… I like the suffering along with the calm, focus and beauty it brings depending on the weather. It clears the mind away from the stresses of everyday life. It keeps my health in check and is a way to set goals to achieve a better positive attitude.

Greatest Bike Accomplishment: Won the 3 Gap ride in the North Georgia mountains in 2013.

Why Solar Bears: My neighbor Philip Welch one of the original founding members, whom I have been riding with for many years, had been asking me to ride the Solar Bear ride in previous years. I always had an excuse or commitment. After a few bouts of Basal Cell Carcinoma over the years and in 2017 being diagnosed with Melanoma (Stage 1 thank God) I decided to move this ride up on my priority list.  I wanted to be able to contribute to the Solar Bears Mission!

Eric Sauer

Occupation: Prepress Manager at Salem-One

Family: Married to Teri for 26! Emily – 22 and Evan – 18

Experience: Been on 2 wheels, in one form or another, for most of my life! Competed in multiple 100 milers, 24 hour and multi-day MTB events and have recently acquired an appreciation for road biking as something more than a training tool.

Why I ride: Riding gets me outside, exploring new places, new challenges and pushing myself. It helps clear the mind and burns calories, did I mention I have a chocolate problem?

Scott Sexton


Education: University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Occupation: Columnist, Winston-Salem Journal.

Family: Married. Son, 23, and a daughter, 21.

Experience: Not much – a little over two years. Frequently left behind, but have completed several long-distance rides.

Why I ride: First time crossing the state, I ride for my health – mental and physical – and because it’s fun to see how I stack up.

Jim Vaughan

Education: Bowling Green State University, Ohio Northern University School of Law.

Occupation: attorney, Blanco Tackabery & Matamoros, P.A.

Family: Married, two children – a 25-year-old daughter and a 22-year-old son.

Experience: Started riding in the 1980s, gave it up for 25 years, then started back about 9 years ago. Has logged almost 30,000 miles and climbed almost 1,300,000 feet, or more than 44.5 ascents of Mt. Everest from sea level.

Why he rides: To stay in shape, enjoyment and competition between friends. “I like riding with people of similar ability who push me. It’s a good, healthy activity that helps keep you feeling young.”

David Welch

Education: University of North Carolina.

    Occupation:  Owner, Eagle Septic Pumping

Family: Married; two sons, 27 and 25.

Experience: Triathlete, long-distance rider for eight years.

Why he rides: “I enjoy doing this stuff because I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to do it. So I’m going to as long as this old body allows.”

Philip Welch

Education: Elon University, MBA – South University Columbia, South Carolina

Occupation: VP, Commercial Banker for IBERIABANK in Georgia

Family: One son, 9.

Experience: Has been riding consistently for seven years.

Why he rides: I ride for the enjoyment, exercise and meeting new people and other riders.  Cycling gives you such an incredible high and keeps your energy level high. Riding in the mountains though very hard, is my favorite pass time for it allows me to forget about all the unnecessary worries and enjoy the incredible views and scenery.

Fred Williams

fred williams

Education: Miami (Ohio).

Occupation: Wells Fargo, sales consultant.

Family: Married, two children, a son 20 and a daughter, 18 (Mt. Tabor).

Experience: In addition to cycling I have participated in multiple sprint and half Iron Man Triathlons, Mistletoe Half Marathons, MS Rides, Multiple Grand Fondo rides, and when not on the roads, Mountain and Cross biking.

Why he rides: “With work and kids, there’s always something going on, so it’s great to be able to let your mind go, enjoy the scenery and get a good workout at the same time.”

Christopher S. Yenrick


Education: University of Alabama

Occupation: President & COO, Smith Phillips Building Supply

Family: Separated, two boys, Ashton age 22 and Noah age 18.

Experience: Signed up for Tour to Tanglewood 13 years ago, didn’t even own a bike, avid enthusiast now

Why he rides: Good friends, Good Health, have made a lot of friends riding and participating in these charity events have helped me give back a little for several organizations that do a lot of good for our community, but honestly the benefits I have received in terms of mental and physical health have been a huge blessing to my own well being.