I’m going to try something here that, admittedly, I’m not sure whether or not it’s socially acceptable. I hope, though, that in the spirit of trying to share exciting news about an awesome event, I might be forgiven. I’m going to post pictures that I’ve found and downloaded from Facebook that were taken at the Ultimate Cycle Challenge (UCC) this past weekend. I’m also linking to the UCC Facebook page which has an additional 360 pictures from the event. One of the things I’m trying to accomplish with this blog is to capture stories and perspectives about biking events, compile it into a more complete story, and then get that story out to as many different people as possible.
For starters, though, let me fill you in on some of the details of the fundraiser. The challenge started at 8pm Friday night and finished at 8pm Saturday night. Over 550 riders participated in this year’s event at Ridgepoint Community Church. When I got there at 9am, the room was packed and buzzing with conversation and energy and there seemed to be just as many people standing, supporting riders as there were riders. Bikes were placed about every 3 feet and were lined up in rows facing the stage where the many various forms of entertainment took place. A Zoomba team was just finishing up when I arrived and about 20 minutes later a musician playing acoustic guitar started his set. Team names and team lists, cancer facts, and motivational quotes were projected on big screens in the front of the auditorium next to the stage for everyone to read while they were riding.
Riders were mounted on a wide variety of spinning equipment. Many people had brought in their own bikes and mounted them to bike trainers. You could find everything from road bikes, tri bikes, and mountain bikes, to cruiser bikes, tandem bikes, and recumbent bikes out on the floor. A couple of hand powered bikes were also present up near my station for a group of paraplegic riders. That is always inspiring for me to see. Stationary bikes were also scattered throughout the room.
In the back of the room Holland’s famous ‘Bike-n-Bar’ was serving up frosty mugs of root beer for participants to enjoy either before or after their shift. Volunteers roamed the room visiting each rider asking if they needed anything and offering up fresh cut banana halves, trail mix, and other snacks. Messages were available to work out tense muscles (provided by Everyday Message & Wellness) and a quiet room was available for those who needed a bit of time to reflect or have time to themselves. Most people know someone who has or has had cancer. With the purpose of the event to raise funds and raise spirits, there can be emotions tied to participation.
Participants received a cool t-shirt and Jersey’s and other swag were available for purchase to help raise funds. So far over $62,000 has been raised for Livestrong, which exceeds last year’s total of around $61,000. A big part of getting to that number is the support of corporate sponsors who donated both money and in-kind items needed for the event. This year’s financial sponsors included Herman Miller Foundation, Global Parts Source, Inc., Ryder, Lakeshore Family Chiropractic, Osborn Abstracting Services, Inc., Infiterra Sports, LLC, Lakeshore Area Radiation Oncology Center, Cross Country Cycle, Comprehensive Physical Therapy Center, and Lake Michigan Wellness. Entertainment sponsors were Last Call Band, Staff Infection, Joe Johnson and the Bluebacks, Sanger Brothers Band, Andrew Martin, 12th Street Harmony, and Thunder Mountain Music DJ/Karaoke Service. The in-kind sponsors were Two Men and a Truck, Endurance Fitness Centers, Besco Water Treatment, Inc. Evergreen Commons, West Michigan Uniform, The Gilmore Collection, Gentex Corporation, and Center for Good Health (Holland Hospital).
So now that we’ve covered that, the really cool stuff that you just can’t capture in words is the energy and thrill of participating in this type of fund raiser. As with the paraplegic riders I noted earlier, the power of the human spirit is always evident at events like this. The determination to fight against a common enemy and overcome hardship creates a bond that just is hard for me to put into words. For that, pictures tell the story: