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Utah woman, 90, inspires others to stay fit through cycling

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She continued going on long horseback pack trips into the mountains of the West, and in the 1970s, she developed the old family farm into a subdivision.

Telford took up bicycling so she could easily chase down potential customers looking at the houses, and ended up loving the sport.

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A member of Bonneville Cycling Club since those days, she has cycled all over the West, in British Columbia, in Siberia, France and China.

In 1987, a friend 25 years younger mentioned she was from northern Cache Valley, and Telford persuaded her to take a ride through the bucolic farmland.

"While she’s telling me her problems, I’m thinking of an all-women bike ride," Telford recalled.

The next year was the first for Little Red Riding Hood.

Friday night, that friend, Sue Schalow, took the stage with Telford at the pre-ride party. They were honored for founding Little Red.

"She is really an inspiration of what you can do if you want to," said Schalow, now living in St. George.

Early riser » Telford rises each morning at 4:30 a.m., walks 10 flights of stairs in her downtown Salt Lake City apartment building, works out in the gym, and then walks 10 more flights.

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That’s before she goes to work at Zions Bank down the street.

Telford keeps in touch with President’s Circle members for the bank.

An art lover — her uncle was landscape artist LeConte Stewart — Telford has been on a number of boards at the University of Utah, which will get her body for science when she dies.

No longer able to drive because of nerve damage in the 2011 car accident, Telford relies on friends to take her places. "I miss my independence," she said.

She’s especially proud that the Bonneville Cycling Club turned Little Red into a fundraiser in 1999, and gives the proceeds for research in diseases that afflict women, ovarian and breast cancer.

About half of the riders each year, she estimates, are cancer survivors.

On Saturday, members of Cycling Sistas, a Boise-based club for cancer survivors, stopped to embrace Telford shortly after the ride began.

"May God bless me that I can live as long as you!" said Teresa Stepanek, who is from Salt Lake City, but rides with her sister, Carmel Crock of Boise. Both are breast-cancer survivors.

"Keep cycling and you can do it!" Telford replies.

Telford’s long-time friend, Madelyn Garrett, usually rides in Little Red, but was sick this spring and unable to train. So this weekend, the two kept company.

"There is a profound goodness in her. So just being next to her, you feel good," Garrett said.

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