NEWBURY PARK, CA (BRAIN)—Cyclists including current professionals and racing legends will take to the picturesque roads of Southern California’s Santa Monica Mountains on Thursday, Nov. 3, to benefit the family of Road Bike Action magazine editor Zapata Espinoza, whose wife, Ronette, died of cancer this year.
The event is the third edition of the Mike Nosco Memorial Bicycle Ride, a charity that Newbury Park, California, resident Jack Nosco founded three years ago to honor his younger brother, who died in an auto collision in Oxnard, California, in 2004.
Shortly after his brother’s death, Nosco devised a hilly 80-mile route with 6,500 feet of climbing and set out on his own. “I just wanted to go out and suffer. The first time was miserable, and I suffered like no other. And I thought about my brother,” he said.
This somber annual ride went on for a while, but Nosco finally decided he needed to turn his sufferfest into something positive. “My brother would hate it if I wallowed in self-pity over his dying,” he said. So now, each year the ride is dedicated to raising money for a person or family from the bicycle industry in urgent need.
The first two years of the event benefitted Andreas Knickman, son of former 7-Eleven team rider Roy Knickman. Andreas was diagnosed with bone cancer in July 2009, at age 13, but is reportedly making a steady recovery. The 2009 and 2010 rides raised a total of $80,000, Nosco noted, with more than 300 riders participating last year.
Proceeds from this year’s event will go toward the Espinozas’ medical costs and providing for the education of their daughter. At the time the ride was first being planned, Nosco said, “Ronette was alive and still making a valiant effort to defeat the cancer, believing to the very end that she would be victorious. After her passing came the awkward ‘What do we do now?’
“It was obvious to me that we had a great opportunity to show support to Zap and his daughter Xakota, and that we as a community need to support this family more than ever—a single parent, daughter away at school and an overwhelming financial burden.”
The “Ride for Ronette” begins at Dos Vientos Park in Newbury Park at 8 a.m. and follows the same challenging 80-mile route Nosco rode shortly after his brother’s death. There are several aid stations along the way. Confirmed participants include such current and former pro riders as Bob Roll, Dave Zabriskie, Andy Hampsten, Dave Lettieri, Mari Holden, Ned Overend and John Tomac.
The ride will be bookended by a light breakfast at 7 a.m. and a picnic, raffle and auction from 3-6 p.m.
Pre-registration is not required but is recommended for the ride, and an optional $100 donation is suggested.
Industry sponsors include Primal Wear, Campagnolo, Road Bike Action, Win’s Wheels, Newbury Bike Shop, BodyArmor and Sidi America.
For event information—including registration, route details, volunteer opportunities, and raffle and silent auction donations—click on the link above.