Ultimate Cycling Challenge

I will be participating in my first bike event of 2012 this Saturday, February 25 at the Ultimate Cycling Challenge(UCC). This will also be the first event that I will be riding as a member of the Cross Country Cycle mountain bike team. I’m excited for both reasons. I don’t have a trainer like many other cyclists because I prefer to ride outside through the winter, so this will also be a something out of the norm for me.

The UCC is an indoor cycling fund raiser that benefits Livestrong, the widely recognized cancer awareness and resource not-for-profit that Lance Armstrong started several years ago. Teams sign up for either the 12 or 24 hour challenge, committing to collectively ride for the entire duration, relay style. The ride starts at 8pm Friday night and ends at 8pm on Saturday night. I’m signed up for the 9-10a.m shift Saturday morning. Individuals can sign up as well and are able to schedule themselves into available reserved individual slots. This year’s ride is being held at Ridge Point Community Church (The Center at Ridge Point) in Holland, MI.

In addition to the entry fee each rider pays, participants are encouraged to raise funds through solicitation of friends, family, co-workers, etc. Donations can be given to teams or individuals directly through the UCC website. On top of that, one of this year’s participants is offering to contribute $10 for every song dedication submitted. No donation is required by submitting a song.  It’s an awesome and substantial gift. The anonymous donor will take the songs dedicated, have someone read the dedication over top of the song, and create a playlist to be listened to throughout the year on various rides. Those that have been following my blog for some time know that I was involved in the Relay for Life fundraiser last year through The Bank of Holland, where I work. Because I’ve been impacted by family and friends who have battled cancer, participating in these events holds a very dear place in my heart. I think of these people all the time while I’m riding and running so I can relate to this individual’s quest.

One really cool aspect of this challenge is that you don’t need to own a bike in order to participate. Teams are provided a location and can choose to bring in their own bike trainers and bikes, or they can coordinate having a stationary bike placed in their spot. And, because each team is responsible for filling their time slots, you can choose to ride for however long you feel comfortable with that works for your team. Finally, everyone can participate, obviously, by supporting a team or rider financially.

There are approximately 55 teams signed up this year in total, which means you’re essentially riding in one big peloton. The only difference is that there are no dropped riders, no one is held back from riding faster, and the terrain is what you envision it to be. The downside is that there’s no drafting. Plenty of entertainment and activities are scheduled throughout the event for riders, volunteers, and supporting visitors alike. This will be the first time I’ve participated in the event so I don’t really know what to expect, but I’ve heard that it is a really energetic atmosphere.

I’ll post more about how it went with some pictures afterwards, so keep posted. In the meantime, check out the website and consider donating to the battle.

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