Product Profile: Diamondback Bicycle 2014 Overdrive Carbon Hardtails

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When we heard that Diamondback was adding a new lineup of Overdrive Carbon hardtail mountain bikes for 2014, we were excited. Utilizing the same trail/XC geometry as Diamondback’s Aluminum Overdrive series, the 29″-wheeled Overdrive Carbon designs incorporate their proprietary Advanced Monocoque Molding Process (AMMP) technology using the highest-grade carbon, constructed in the most precise manner, to produce world-class cross country machines. Our bike buyer, Ben, got a chance to try out one of the new high-speed off-road machines at the 2013 Sea Otter Classic XC race (a stern 40 mile test of California hills and dusty trails). How did he sum up the new bike? In a word – impressed. He called the Overdrive Carbon “a great all-around 29er race bike that climbs like a mountain goat, with crisp, precise single track handling and the components to match.”

2014 Diamondback Overdrive Carbon Pro Mountain Bike

2014 Diamondback Overdrive Carbon Pro Mountain Bike

The 2014 Diamondback Overdrive Carbon Pro Mountain Bike is dialed-in from top to bottom, featuring a lightweight carbon frame, Fox suspension and SRAM XO components. 142×12mm carbon rear drop out, a tapered head tube, and a 15mm thru-axle fork increase stiffness for enhanced steering and traction. The sloping top tube provides ample standover clearance. A 71° head tube angle and a 73° seat tube angle create the perfect XC/trail geometry. The 440mm (17.3 inch) chainstays equate to an extremely snappy bike.

The top shelf FOX 32 FLOAT CTD 29″ E-S fork gives you 100mm of plush travel up front with a CTD damper that supplies five different compression settings to optimize your ride for low and high rates of speed from a handlebar-mounted remote. A top shelf SRAM XO group including shifters, derailleurs and hydraulic disc brakes give you the absolute best of the best in performance, period. Add in Easton EA90XC 29″ Clincher wheels and you have one of the most comprehensive competition-based packages on the market.

2014 Diamondback Overdrive Carbon Expert Mountain Bike

2014 Diamondback Overdrive Carbon Expert Mountain Bike

The 2014 Diamondback Overdrive Carbon Expert Mountain Bike is built for maximum speed, stiffness and fun. With the same lightweight carbon frame and Fox suspension as the Overdrive Carbon Pro, the Overdrive Carbon Expert comes equipped with SRAM X7/X9 components. The bike’s Avid Elixir 7 Hydraulic Disc brakes have 180mm front and 160mm rear rotors for maximum modulation on the trail. The 10 speed drivetrain features a high quality X7 Front derailleur, X9 Type 2 Rear Derailleur and the S1400 10-speed crankset. Add in Diamondback SL-7 double wall rims with WTB Wolverine Race tires and you are set to conquer any and all off-road obstacles.

2014 Diamondback Overdrive Carbon Mountain Bike

2014 Diamondback Overdrive Carbon Mountain Bike

The 2014 Diamondback Overdrive Carbon Mountain Bike is sure to elevate your heart rate before you even hit the saddle. Utilizing the same Advanced Monocoque Molding Process (AMMP) carbon frame as the Overdrive Carbon Pro and the Overdrive Carbon Expert guarantees an extremely snappy bike with enhanced stiffness for precise steering and control. Avid Elixir 1 Hydraulic Disc brakes with 180mm front and 160mm rear rotors provide ample stopping power. SRAM provides a 10-speed drivetrain with an X5 Front derailleur and crankset mated to an X7 long cage rear derailleur for smooth shifting performance. Diamondback SL-7 double wall rims with WTB Wolverine Race tires round out this race and trail-ready package.

Employee Profile: Johnny Pratt & Bike Raising

From time to time here on the Performance Bicycle Blog we like to recognize our coworkers and let them share what they’re passionate about outside of work. This week we’re talking to Johnny Pratt, a Product Developer at our home office in North Carolina. Johnny joined Performance as the Merchant Assistant for components in August 2011, after working for companies as varied as Eastern Bikes and Credit Suisse. He grew up cycling and has always loved to be outdoors. He raced on the Appalachian State Cycling team while in school there and was a participant in the World Race, traveling to over 15 countries on five continents in a year’s time. Outside of work he spends most of his time racing bikes, doing adventure races, spending time with his family, and serving those in need.

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Johnny racing in the Pisgah Mountain Bike Stage Race

It was that passion to serve others that led Johnny to co-found Bike Raising Inc., a non-profit organization that raises money for charity through cycling events. Bike Raising was born on a ride – Johnny and his friend Josh Stinger were riding in the hills of North Carolina when the concept was formed to create an organization that dedicated 100% of the money earned at an event to small non-profits that are hindered by lack of funding. But we’ll let Johnny tell you more about why he wanted to create and run a non-profit, in his spare time, in his own words.

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Johnny in his Bike Raising kit

What is Bike Raising and why does it exist?

We wanted to make a difference to a few non-profits that had massive goals, but were constantly held back because they didn’t have the necessary capital to make it happen.  With my business background and Josh’s project management background we knew we could create something to help out.  We both loved bike racing and we knew our goal was fundraising so the name Bike Raising was born.  It started simple and it remains simple.  You participate in a fun, safe and challenging cycling event and a small partner non-profit gets some help.  In what other race does everyone win?

The charitable organizations we partner with have a purpose and a mission.  We call this their “critical pursuit.”  When they are unable to fulfill their critical pursuit it slows down the change they are working towards.  Many organizations say that the resource they’re lacking the most is funding.  We don’t want them to shift their focus from their mission by dedicating the majority of their staff and resources to fundraising.  Bike Raising strives to eliminate the need for these organizations to take their eyes off their goal – which is where we become a valued member of the team.  We partner with the organization, learn their needs both financially and socially, put together a plan of action, set goals and set forth to accomplish them all.  We allow the organization to keep pressing on with their mission while we handle the rest.  This is why our motto is to Race. Give. Love.

What is Bike Raising involved with now and how can someone help out?

The Needle Gate Project is a journey from the Space Needle to the Golden Gate Bridge.  It’s a pursuit of physical and mental limits.  It’s a platform for freedom both to the individuals riding and those whom are yet to be free.

For this project we are proud to partner with She Dances, who is doing the great work of providing holistic restoration for young girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited. She Dances needs funding to be more efficient and effective in their mission.  Due to the nature of the human trafficking industry there is very little time between when they discover an at risk girl and when an actual rescue takes place.  Funding in the hands of She Dances makes this process move faster, which results in that child’s restoration.

BRSDYou can help us in bolstering the speed and accuracy of She Dances’ mission.  Choose from one of our many exciting perks. Join the insider’s circle and get the video of us shouting your name on the Golden Gate Bridge.  Maybe you’d rather go with the Primo Pack that gets you some sweet MiiR stainless steel products, coffee and an original She Dances Tee.  Or maybe you want to join the Bike Raising team and get the complete kit.  If you help out in any way, you’re joining us on our journey and you’re partnering in the fight against human trafficking. Our goal is to raise $5000 to help support the work and restoration that She Dances is providing.

Community Events: 2013 Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic

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What do you get when you bring together over 10,000 cyclists from 6 countries and 45 US states, about 35,000 sandwiches, hundreds of volunteers and “ride referees”, and over 202 miles of rolling countryside in the Pacific Northwest over 2 days in July? One of the biggest, best-supported and most fun bicycle events in the US – the Cascade Bicycle Club‘s Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic (or STP). Now in its 34th year, STP was begun as a race in 1979, but it has since become one of the largest supported recreational bike rides in the country – and the primary fundraising source for the advocacy efforts of the nonprofit Cascade Bicycle Club as they work to create a better community in the Puget Sound region through cycling.

Most STP riders tackle the North to South route over Saturday and Sunday, with an overnight rest stop in between the 2 cities, but about 10-15% of the riders blast through the entire 202 mile challenge in one day. Most of these dedicated one-day cyclists start their journey before 5AM, and don’t reach the finish line until the early evening in Portland – the fastest riders complete the course in about 10 hours, but most folks trickle in after 12 hours or more in the saddle! Of course the vast majority of STP participants find that splitting up the ride into 2 long days on the bike is enough of a challenge – especially since 18% of them are trying the event for the very first time. These 2-day riders finish up their first century ride on Saturday and then camp out in a series of well-organized campgrounds near the halfway point of the journey – then get up on Sunday and do it all over again.

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So what makes STP so popular? After all, the 10,000 available spots fill up months before the start of the ride. We would definitely say that it’s the people that make the difference – although the beautiful Northwest countryside comes in a close second! Yeah, it sounds corny, but everyone we met was unfailingly friendly and happy to stop and say hi or talk about why they were riding. Plus we have to give a special shout-out to the Cascade Bicycle organizers and their army of supportive volunteers, who do an amazing job keeping this whole 200 mile rolling operation running smoothly – including 14 rest stops along the route, an array of halfway point campgrounds, along with the logistics of moving thousands of tents and pieces of luggage to exactly where they’re needed, like clockwork.

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Living the Dream cruiser bike crew

Every rider has a different reason for tackling this challenging adventure – but one of the most popular groups on the road was this collection of riders who completed the entire route on beach cruisers! What started out as 2 brothers raising money for the Living the Dream charity 9 years ago has grown into a crew of 19 single speed riders having a great time for a cause. They said that it wasn’t really the hills that were the most difficult to ride, but the flatter sections where they ran out of gearing and had to spin like mad to keep going!

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Bicycle built for a family of 4

We met this family and their bicycle built for 4 at the STP sign-in on the Friday before the ride. It takes some real family togetherness and coordination to get this big rig on the road, but when they dropped by our tent at the halfway point of the ride they were all smiles and ready for more! The whole family was outfitted in Performance gear from head-to-toe, so we made sure that all 8 of their water bottle cages were stocked with a brand new Performance bottle.

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Bill and his Scattante road bike

One day riders also came in all styles, from riders on full-on time trial bikes with carbon aero wheels, to folks who looked like they were on their everyday commuter. But most were like our friend Bill here, who rode his Scattante road bike the 202 miles in one day just for the personal challenge, checking in with us via social media along the way.

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One of our Spin Doctor mechanics, ready to help in Centralia, WA

With 10 stores across the states of Washington and Oregon, Performance Bicycle has been involved with STP for a decade now, and our team of Spin Doctor mechanics was excited to once again help out this year. During the 2 days of the event, our teams ran 7 mechanic aid stations spread out over the 202 mile route. So what does it mean to provide mechanical support for 10,000 riders? It definitely makes for a busy 2 days! From the time they set up until the last riders trickled in, the team of 10 mechanics at our biggest aid station at the halfway point of Centralia College worked steadily from 9AM until 6PM on the first day of the ride. Our guys fixed flats, changed cables, trued wheels, lubed chains and pumped tires, with a smile, for whoever came by our tent – going out of their way to make sure that no mechanical problem was going to derail someone’s STP experience. At the end of the day in Centralia we determined that our team replaced or fixed: over 120 flats, over 20 tires, 12 chains and even 2 wheels (not counting the ones we could true enough to get back on the road)!

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One of the advantages of being stationed at the halfway point in Centralia was that we literally got to see every rider that came through, on whatever bike brought them there. The array of bikes that people rode was staggering – it seemed that if you stood and watched you would see every single brand, make and model of bike roll by, from fully-faired recumbents to a custom carbon Calfee Dragonfly tandem (that one was a beauty – the newlywed couple riding it planned to complete a century ride a month). But the wide array of tandem bikes really caught our eye, so we couldn’t resist sharing this last album of just a few of the bicycles built for 2 that we saw at STP.

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We can’t wait to go back to STP next year – we’re already making plans on how to have an even bigger and better presence at this amazing event!

Wordless Wednesday

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Blood, Sweat & Cheers Scattante Giveaway

Looking for a way to get a great new ride for the summer? We’ve partnered with Blood, Sweat & Cheers, the free daily email that finds fun & active stuff to do with friends, Brooklyn Based, an online guide to what’s happening in Brooklyn (including bike events), and BikeNYC.org, a go-to source to connect with the vibrant world of bicycling in New York City, to give away a 2013 Scattante R570 Road Bike plus awesome gear to make the ride even better. And don’t worry, you don’t need to live in New York to win.

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So what is this array of extra cycling gear? How about a Scattante Razzo Road Helmet, Scattante Matrix 2 Multi-Lens Eyewear, a NiteRider MiNewt.250 Cordless LED Headlight and CherryBomb 0.5 Watt Tail Light, a Forté Strada Lite Stainless Road Cage, a Performance WideMouth 24oz Bottle, a TransIt 30 Wedge, and even a Garmin Edge 200 GPS to track your adventures.

bsc_prizesBut don’t delay – you can only enter for a chance to win until 5 PM EST on Wednesday, June 26, 2013 (by entering you consent to receive future correspondence from
Blood, Sweat & Cheers, Brooklyn Based, Transportation Alternatives and Performance Bicycle).

ENTER NOW over at Blood, Sweat  & Cheers and good luck!

Fuji Pro Bikes at the 2013 Amgen Tour of California

While we were out on the west coast watching the action at the 2013 Amgen Tour of California, we dropped by the 2 Fuji-sponsored pro teams in the peloton, Team Champion System and Team NetApp-Endura. Both teams put up a strong showing in the race, including a victory on top of Mount Diablo, the Queen stage of the race, by Leopold Koenig of Team NetApp. Don’t miss our photo galleries of Stage 6Stage 7, and Stage 8 over on our Facebook page to see more of the race.

Of course since we were so close to these pro bikes, we couldn’t miss the chance to do a quick bike check to see how they set up their Fuji Altamira and SST road bikes. Read on below to find out what Ryan Roth of Team Champion System and Leopold Koenig of Team NetApp-Endura  rode in America’s biggest race.

Ryan Roth – Team Champion System – Fuji SST Team

DSC_0026Ryan is a 30 year old “all-rounder” for Team Champion System, and has been a pro cyclist for 7 years. Ryan is the current Canadian national road champion and at 5’9″ tall, he rides a 54cm Fuji SST Team C10 High Modulus frame in Team Champion System colors.

DSC_0027His bike is outfitted with 2012 SRAM Red components (10 speed), including a 53-39 SRAM crank with an SRM power meter and Speedplay Zero pedals with stainless steel spindles.

DSC_0028The stem is an Oval Concepts R700 aluminum model, 130mm in length – note the stage’s important info taped to the top.

DSC_0038Red Velo bar tape (for Canadian pride) wraps around an Oval Concepts 700 aluminum handlebar, with a fairly round drop (and a 5mm spacer below the stem).

DSC_0032Custom number plate mount is definitely a pro touch.

DSC_0033Vittoria Corsa Evo CX 23mm tubular tires are mounted to Oseous T-FCC 38 carbon wheels (38mm deep).

DSC_0034Out back, Ryan either ran an 11-25 or 11-26 cassette (a SRAM PG-1070 model to add weight), with a PC-1091 chain.

DSC_saddle Selle Italia Flite Gel Flow team edition saddle (with anatomic cutout & ti rails).

DSC_0044In talking to the team mechanic, he noted that it doesn’t take much to keep the bikes spotless, since they are washed every night. Just a light spray down with very gentle cleaners (like diluted Dawn detergent) and water, then a light lube for the chain. At most they are only cleaning off one day’s worth of road grime. And nothing is changed on the bike unless the rider asks for it – wheels, tires and cassettes are left with the bike at all times unless the rider specifically requests a change. Most of the team riders rode the same wheels and cassettes on every stage, even the climbing stages. At most they would use an 11-26 – that’s all you can use if you want to keep up with the group on the climbs! An 11-28 cassette sounds nice, but if you shifted into those gears you would immediately get dropped and lose too much time.

Leopold Koenig – Team NetApp-Endura - Fuji Altamira SL

DSC_0749This is Leopold Koenig’s second year riding for Team NetApp – a 25 year old from the Czech Republic, Leo has been a pro since 2007. A climber and GC contender by nature, 5’9″ Leo piloted his Fuji Altamira SL C15 Ultra Light High Modulus carbon frame, a 54cm model in custom NetApp colors, to victory in the mountainous stage 7 of the 2013 Amgen Tour of California (after placing 8th in the stage 6 individual time trial).

DSC_0750Drivetrain duties were handled by new Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 series components (mechanical 11 speed), with a 53-39 crankset (although Leo runs an SRM power meter on his race bike) and Speedplay Zero Pedals.

DSC_0752In back there was an 11-25 cassette, with a Dura-Ace 11-speed chain.

DSC_0754Lightweight Oval Concepts 924 carbon tubular wheels were shod in Vittoria Corsa Evo CX 23mm tubular tires.

DSC_0758The Oval Concepts 713 aluminum stem measured 130mm, and there was no spacer below the stem.

DSC_0761Oval Concepts 700s aluminum handlebars, with a short drop, were wrapped in Prologo bar tape.

DSC_0756Leo uses a Prologo Zero TR saddle with sturdy titanium rails.

DSC_0760While this was Leo’s backup bike, it was outfitted exactly the same as his primary race bike (with the exception of an SRM power meter) –  the same bike that conquered Stage 7 of the 2013 Amgen Tour of California, the Queen Stage of the race that finished on top of the mighty Mount Diablo. But the Altamira isn’t just a lightweight bike for climbers – on the final stage in Santa Rosa, Daniel Schorn of Team NetApp came up just short in a pure drag race to the finish, taking second place behind Peter Sagan.

Wordless Wednesday

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Product Profile: Feed Zone Cookbook

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Our friends at Skratch Labs are obsessed with creating the best nutrition products – ones that taste great, that are made from real all-natural ingredients, and that are designed to optimize performance and health on the bike or off. Their famous Skratch Labs hydration drink mix can be found in our stores and on Performancebike.com, including their classic Exercise Hydration Drink Mix and their new Everyday Hydration Drink Mix (formulated with fewer calories). But Skratch Labs is also known for their real food recipes that you can make at home, collected in the aptly named “The Feed Zone Cookbook”.

skratch-labs_Cook-bookThe Feed Zone Cookbook provides 150 delicious recipes that even the busiest athletes can prepare in less time than it takes to warm-up for a workout (110 of them are or can easily be made vegetarian). With simple recipes requiring just a handful of ingredients, Biju Thomas & Allen Lim show how easy it is for athletes to prepare their own food, whether at home or on the go. To get a taste of what’s inside, the folks at Skratch Labs let us share 2 of their most well-known recipes below – Allen’s Rice Cakes and Biju’s Oatmeal. Give them a try and you’ll be hooked.

Allen’s Rice Cakes

AllenLim_ricecakeprep_72dpiAllen Lim started making these rice cakes at training camps and races to give riders something savory and fresh to eat while on the bike. They became a huge hit since almost everything the riders ate was pre-packaged and sweet. Not only are these rice cakes delicious, they also provide a consistent energy source that doesn’t upset the stomach.

SERVINGS> 10
TIME> 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups uncooked calrose or other medium-grain “sticky” rice [TIP: We always use calrose rice, a strain of medium-grain rice common in Asian cooking. This variety cooks fast (in 20 minutes or less), retains a nutty flavor, and is just sticky enough to hold our cakes together. If you can’t find it, use another medium-grain rice or any kind marked “sushi rice.”]
  • 1½ cups water
  • 8 ounces bacon
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons liquid amino acids or low-sodium soy sauce
  • brown sugar
  • salt and grated parmesan (optional)

allen rice cakes-1Instructions:

  1. Combine rice and water in a rice cooker.
  2. While rice is cooking, chop up bacon before frying, then fry in a medium sauté pan. When crispy, drain off fat and soak up excess fat with paper towels.
  3. Beat the eggs in a small bowl and then scramble on high heat in the sauté pan. Don’t worry about overcooking the eggs as they’ll break up easily when mixed with the rice.
  4. In a large bowl or in the rice cooker bowl, combine the cooked rice, bacon, and scrambled eggs. Add liquid amino acids or soy sauce and sugar to taste. After mixing, press into an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan to about 1½-inch thickness. Top with more brown sugar, salt to taste, and grated parmesan, if desired.
  5. Cut and wrap individual cakes. Makes about 10 rice cakes.

NUTRITION DATA PER SERVING (1 cake)> Energy 225 cal • Fat 8 g • Sodium 321 mg • Carbs 30 g • Fiber 1 g • Protein 9 g

Biju’s Oatmeal

FeedZoneCookbook_BijusOatmeal_72dpi_800pRice or pasta are common pre-race breakfast staples for professional cyclists, but at the 2011 Tour of California Chris Horner and the RadioShack team proved that oatmeal can be the breakfast of champions. Many cyclists have mastered this recipe, and it will become your favorite standby food too.

SERVINGS> 2

TIME> 10–15 minutes

Ingredients:

  •  1 cup water
  • dash of salt
  • 1 cup “old-fashioned”
  • rolled oats
  • 1–2 cups milk, depending on desired thickness [TIP: Use any kind of milk—dairy, soy, almond. Start with 1 cup and add more to achieve your desired consistency]
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 banana, chopped
  • ¼ cup raisins

Instructions:

  1.  In a medium saucepan, bring the water and salt to a low boil. Add oats and cook, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.
  2.  Add milk and brown sugar, and return the mixture to a low boil. Add molasses, banana, and raisins, continuing to stir until oatmeal reaches desired thickness. Remove pan from heat. Let rest for 10–15 minutes if you have the time.
  3. Finish with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon and a splash of milk.

NUTRITION DATA PER SERVING> Energy 490 cal • Fat 6 g • Sodium 181 mg • Carbs 102 g • Fiber 10 g • Protein 19 g

Recipes republished with permission of VeloPress.

Wordless Wednesday

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Community Events: 2013 Cycle to the Sea

Some people can’t imagine riding 180 miles on a bicycle from Charlotte, NC to North Myrtle Beach, SC in three days.  Now imagine doing this ride using nothing but your arms to complete the task.  That is what a group of cyclists did April 25 – 27, 2013 to raise money for the Adaptive Sports & Adventures Program (ASAP) at Carolinas Rehabilitation Hospital.  Cycle to the Sea (CTTS) is a unique ride that raises critical funds and awareness for ASAP to offer a variety of low-cost programs for youth and adults with physical challenges.  This bike ride is held every spring and involves athletes with physical disabilities who cycle on hand cycles and/or tandem bikes. Mark, a distributor from our components division here at our home office, participated in this ride with his hand cycle (he is also an accomplished wheelchair rugby player) and he took the time to share what this experience meant to him:

Day 1 started with a dozen hand cycles, 40-45 able bodied cyclists, and countless family members gathered to see their loved ones off on their journey.  The weather was chilly but it didn’t seem to dampen anyone’s spirit and anxiousness to get the ride started.  The group rolled out as one big unit but quickly separated into two smaller groups once we got out onto the open road.  There was over 3000 feet of climbing the first day but it didn’t seem to curb anyone’s spirit.  Everyone got over the climbs the best they could, whether by pedaling or getting pushed by a fellow cyclist, and everyone finished together.

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Assisting a hand cyclist up a climb.

The surprise of the day for me was our “safety patrol”.  The local Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Club volunteers every year to shepherd the herd to Myrtle Beach.  The guys were amazing.  They created a rotating formation around each group of cyclists stopping traffic from ALL side roads and on ramps allowing the cyclist to pass unimpeded.  We did not stop at 1 stoplight the entire 3 day ride.  Gentlemen, my hat is off to you and what you do.  This ride would truly not be what it is without you.  THANK YOU!

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Rolling Thunder escort

Day 2 brought more of the same just with flatter terrain.  The weather was a little grey in the morning and quickly burned off shortly after the ride headed out.  The longer the ride went on the more the cyclist, both hand cyclist and able bodies cyclist, gelled together.  The two groups were operating as fine oiled machines and were very impressive to see.  The speeds got faster and those that had been pushed the first day didn’t seem to need as much help as they once had.  Folks seemed to have a growing confidence in themselves and their ability to get this ride done.  It was truly inspirational.

Day 3 brought on the last 63 mile stretch and you couldn’t tell from anyone’s face they had ridden over 120 miles in the past 2 days.  Folks were eager, feeling good, and ready to get the show rolling.  Early in the ride, you could feel there was a sense of purpose.  I rode in the front group and speeds stayed between 17-25 miles per hour the whole way.  For those that do not know, such speeds are reasonably swift on a traditional bicycle but that is “cooking” on a hand cycle.

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Rolling down the road with the whole pack.

Upon arrival to Myrtle Beach, you could see emotion on everyone’s face.  Not only on the participants faces with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment but also on the family members faces that their loved ones could pull off such an undertaking.  I’m honored to have been a part of such a great event and Cycle to the Sea will now be on my yearly calendar of “must do’s”.

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Group shot of the Cycle to the Sea riders & staff

I was fortunate enough to be both a participant in the ride and a representative of Performance Bicycle, which was one of Cycle to the Sea’s corporate sponsors.  As a long time cyclist both before the wheelchair and after, I understand the amount of time it takes to both organize a ride of this magnitude and the dedication it takes to complete it.  I salute all involved for a job well done.  The ASAP staff that Jennifer Moore has put together is second to none and I’m proud to be an associated with this organization.  I strongly encourage anyone that is looking for a good ride, an incredible experience, and a worthwhile cause to be a part of to consider the 2014 Cycle to the Sea bike ride.

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Our author, Mark, with his hand cycle.

Everybody has different reasons why they ride.  Some ride to prove something to themselves, some ride to prove something to others, and some ride to honor someone that has touched their life.  For me, the 2013 Cycle to the Sea is dedicated to my friend Jimmy Melton.  I met Jimmy this past Thursday as the CTTS ride was leaving town.  We were both first time riders and Jimmy was there to support one of my fellow hand cyclists Jacob Conley.  We talked and came to know each other pretty well over the next three days.  The end of the ride came, Jimmy met my wife and baby daughter, and we made plans to see each other next year at the 2014 Cycle to the Sea.  Then I got the bad news that Jimmy had died the next night in his sleep.  I was numb.  Jimmy definitely touched my life and made me a better person for knowing him.  Godspeed my friend.  I will see you on the other side.

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Jacob and Jimmy.

Ultimately this bike ride is not about a charity event.  It is about those with physical challenges that display uncompromising human spirit, determination to accomplish what they aren’t supposed to be able to do, and those that just want to ride their bike.

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