MORGAN HILL, CA (BRAIN)—A small group of retailers, media and Specialized employees embark this morning on a 600-mile, six-day bike journey to Interbike as part of Specialized’s annual ride to draw attention to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
The ride starts at Specialized headquarters in Morgan Hill, California and climbs over the Sierra Mountains by way of Sonora Pass through Mammoth Lakes and into Death Valley before ending at Outdoor Demo in Boulder City on Tuesday afternoon.
The crew includes 13 retailers from New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas and California, five cycling journalists and a group of Specialized employees including company founder Mike Sinyard. The ride is supported by five Western Spirit guides.
Many of the riders are first-timers on the odyssey—now in its fourth year—and were nervous but excited about the intense miles, mountain climbs and potentially searing temperatures waiting between Northern California and Las Vegas.
For Dennis Coffman, owner of Rincon Cycles in Carpinteria, California, the ride marks one year since he underwent his third and final heart surgery to correct an atrial fibrillation. He’s been logging 200 to 300 miles in the saddle every week since he was invited on the ride two months ago.
“It’s sort of a celebration of have a heart that works properly. Now if my knees hold up, I’ll be in good shape,” Coffman joked, after a pre-ride meeting on Wednesday evening.
Besides the physical challenge, the Specialized ride aims to raise awareness for breast cancer research with riders decked out in pink For the Cure kits.
Specialized is in the final year of a five-year partnership with Susan G. Komen, during which time it’s raised $850,000 for the foundation through the sale of limited edition bikes and accessories.
It’s committed to donate another $150,000 this year, said John Hammarley, vice president of communications for the foundation and another newcomer to the ride.
“[Sinyard] really wanted to raise awareness, that’s part of the genesis of the whole ride. He’s dealt with cancer in his family in the past few years; it’s important to him. That personal commitment is how Komen started 29 years ago,” Hammarley said.
Photo: SBCU fit specialist Aaron Post checks BRAIN publisher Marc Sani's knee alignment during the bike fit process for the Specialized ride to Interbike.