Monday, January 01, 2007

2007 Race Season Plans

I’ve been racing mountain bikes in and around Colorado since 1996, and during the late 80’s as a junior I raced on the road. In all that time I’ve been racing for myself with no compelling reason to race other than the personal enjoyment, commitment and challenge of racing. For the past couple of years I’ve been racing for COMotion Sports in Colorado. The team is the four time Mountain States Cup team champs in cross-country. Racing on COMotion provides a greater reason for racing than racing as an individual, as there is no way the team could win the season series without every racer on the team being committed to the goal of winning the team title. But the fact is that cycling, even on a team, provides way more personal benefits than it does a greater good purpose.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older or more concerned with issues beyond my own little world that I’ve decided to have my 2007 race season have a greater cause than just racing. I know part of it is the result of a friend of mine, Bob, who raced an IronMan triathlon in September. He dedicated his race to a local homeless shelter and helped raise funds to support the shelter. Bob’s good will and effort to make his race more than a personal benefit got me thinking. It has taken me a while to determine what to dedicate my race season to and how best to benefit a cause.

My first thought was to dedicate my season to children’s health care, working to raise funds for a local children’s health organization. I figured I could steal another page from Bob and have a key event to sell people on, and then tie a fundraiser to the event, probably a silent auction. However, my biggest concern with this was really being at the mercy of others to donate money to the charity I picked. While I know people would be willing to help it just wasn’t what I was looking for. I wanted to pick a cause that was meaningful to a lot of people, but also a cause that I could help without forcing people to donate money. I may know a lot of people, but most of them don’t have a lot of extra money to donate to a charity.

I decided I needed a cause that I could personally work on to provide benefit, a cause that is meaningful to everyone, and, if I am lucky, a cause that I can raise a few bucks for throughout the 2007 race season. On one of my flights to India I saw the movie Al Gore put together, An Inconvenient Truth, and learned considerably more about our environmental impact on the world, global warming. The more I thought about this cause, the more it made sense to me to dedicate my season to educating people on how they can help reduce emissions that cause green house effects. The bike, a great alternative transportation source to reduce CO2 emissions, made sense. I also found out there are significant actions everyone can take at home to help reduce their environmental footprint, whether it be recycling grocery bags, turning lights off or driving a little less. I also found a significant number of non-profit organizations that are working to reduce educate people about the environment, educate people on global warming, and legislate to reduce our impact on the environment. I decided educating and making people aware of our impact on the environment was a cause I could fully support, hopefully help bring a little attention to the issue and potentially raise funds for an organization focused on reducing our environmental footprint.

To truly focus on racing and dedicating my season to educating people on environmental issues, I’ve decided to not race on a team in 2007. My thought is, the less competing efforts I have to make, the more I can focus on the parts of bike racing that I’ve decided are important to me this season. I’ve decided to race the Firecracker 50 mountain bike race in Breckenridge on July 4th for a goal event. The purpose of the goal event will be to give me and anyone who cares to follow my efforts something to measure the success of this project. Near the time of my goal event I will attempt some fundraising effort with all donations going to the Environmental Defense organization. I plan to continue racing a full mountain bike schedule through the summer, but will use this race to focus attention for those not use to the world of mountain bike racing.

My goals for the 2007 related to educating people on our environmental impact are:

Begin to provide people information and resources on the effects of global warming
Raise $1,000 for the Environmental Defense to help research and educate on issues related to humans environmental impact
Educate people on the ease and benefits of using the bike as a means of transportation

I invite each of you to follow me on my journey throughout the year where I will provide information on ways everyone can easily reduce their environmental footprint and keep you apprised on my preparations for the Firecracker 50 at and, if you like, to donate at



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