Hey, Spike! peddles a Marine’s Triangle story | SummitDaily.com

Hey, Spike! peddles a Marine’s Triangle story

Miles F. Porter IV
Special to the Daily
Marine Sgt. Joe Heater
Special to the Daily |

Once a Marine, always a Marine — that pretty much covers 73-year-old cyclist Joe Heater from Palatine, Illinois.

Joe will again be tackling the Copper Triangle three-pass ride on Saturday in an anticipated field of 3,000 plus cyclists.

Tomorrow’s Davis Phinney-Connie Carpenter/Colorado Cyclist event production, directed by Scot Harris and Scott Olmsted, marks a decade of helping fund Parkinson’s disease research, an ailment that hit Olympian cyclist Davis. The rides have raised $750,000.

Longtime locals will recall those Phinney-Carpenter bicycling camps out at Copper and over at the Galena Street Inn, then headed by Sam Parker.

Today, the Olympic medal-winning couple’s son Taylor carries on the family tradition, riding professionally for BMC.

Joe rode in the inaugural Triangle event but missed a couple of years; this marks his sixth. It’s the only biking event he enters.

The annual ride starts at Copper on Saturday, heads up over Fremont Pass (11,318 feet), down almost to Leadville, then has riders passing Ski Cooper, Camp Hale, over Tennessee Pass (10,424 feet) and Battle Mountain, down into the Eagle Valley, through Vail and then up the steep west side of Vail Pass (10,666 feet). Distance covered: 78 miles.

A resident of Palatine for 32 years, a suburb of Chicago, Joe retired from Honeywell in 1998 after 29 years. He was a field service engineer, salesman, service manager, branch sales manager, regional sales manager and in software sales support and marketing.

Wife Joan is a retired nurse, who worked in a single practitioner office for 20 years before retiring in 1998. She’s a golfer, taking up the sport after retiring.

Joe maintains his physical and mental toughness developed in the Marines — 1965-68 — and served in Vietnam, where he came out a sergeant. While in Vietnam, he was awarded a Purple Heart and Bronze Star with Combat V.

Sgt. Joe was in the infantry as a radio operator in Delta Company, 1st Battalion 9th Marines, also known as “The Walking Dead,” long before the TV show.

The battalion was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation by President Johnson for exceptional and meritorious performance in Vietnam from June 1965 through September 1966.

For more info see these two links:



Even though Joe is long retired, he serves as a volunteer teaching assistant at Sundling Jr. High in Palatine.

“I have worked with the same teacher since 2001, teaching American history, focusing on years 1763 to 1877, and teaching an introductory course on the U.S. Constitution to seventh-graders, with a brief overview on my service in Vietnam to eighth-graders,” he explains.

As for Joe’s cycling life, he puts in an average of 5,200 miles per year, with the highest being 6,300. He’s very pleased with his ride, a “carbon fiber Trek 5200, purchased in 2006, with a self-modified drive train to accommodate the mountains and my aging legs.”

Joe has been staying at Copper’s East Village since July 19 and will head back to Illinois on Sunday.

Continuing his training regime here, Joe rode from Glenwood Springs to Aspen and back and has ridden Vail Pass a couple of times.

While Joe’s soloing this Triangle ride, three years ago his brother, JT, from Nevada City, California, and good friend Kevin White, from Chicago, rode with him. The last two years a couple, Pat and Brian Bloom, also from Palatine, rode with him.

Joe’s post-ride reward: “A Colorado Rocky Mountain high is a cold beer or two after a tough ride.”


Out and about recently, we spotted these folks:

Patti Casey, Judy Prager, Sandy Greenhut, Alli Langley, Cindi and Scott Gelman, Pat Butler, Elizabeth Miller, Pup Ascher, Trygve Berge, Nancy and Tony Peterson, Tom Hronek, Kay and Bill Henkhaus, Sandy Sheffield, Amy Lange, Annie Brewster, Mary and Harold Wilson, Gala Eppstein, Marcia and Joe Newhart, Phil Wilson, Darcy and Jack Lohman, Liz, Mark and Nicki McManis, Hillary Chu and Rick Rixon, Karen and Kara Lampe, Jeannie and John Gerlach, Jennifer David, Kim and Ray Slaughter, Larry and Zach Feldman, Bob Sluiter, Kevin and Julie Zuckerman, Betsy Bracken, Barb Holloway, Ben Stielow, Harry Roa, Dan and Steve Sawusch, Annie Reichel, Anne, Larry Matney, Tim Lockwood and Carmen, Doug Tomlinson, Yoram Gal, Kara Young, Bruce White, Randy Smith, Jerry Scavezze, and Mark and Jean Oberkirsch.


Joining the 1995 Toyota Camry in the Seniors’ Rummage Sale silent auction lineup this weekend is a 1986.5 Porsche 928S — in wowser! red — with only 28,500 miles.

The silent auction ends on Saturday, Aug. 1 at 4 p.m.

Miles F. Porter IV, nicknamed “Spike,” is a Coloradan since 1949, an Army veteran, former Climax miner, graduate of Adams State College and a local since 1982. An award-winning investigative reporter, he and wife Mary E. Staby owned newspapers here for 20 years. Email your social info to milesfporteriv@aol.com

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