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SoCal industry rallies to support NICA fundraiser

Published February 12, 2016

IRVINE, Calif. (BRAIN) — When Andy Lightle's wife asked him what he wanted for his birthday eight years ago, he couldn't think of anything he really needed. In lieu of giving him gifts, he asked friends and loved ones to attend a fundraiser on his birthday to raise money for the Homeless Women and Children's Shelter of Orange County.

Lightle first reached out to The Path Bike Shop, which stepped up to back the event, and went on to procure product donations from a number of local suppliers, including Oakley, Intense and Shimano, as well as several retailers. He spread the word on the SoCal Trail Riders forum, and drew about 60 people to the raffle, which was held at a local deli. That year, the event raised about $600 for the shelter.

The fundraiser has become an annual tradition. With the help of the bike industry and other local businesses, Lightle has raised as much as $15,000 per event for charities or friends in need. One year, money was raised to help MTB Hall of Famer Steve Blick, whose son Tyler was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010 when he was 4 years old.

"We raised thousands of dollars to help Steve cover all the expenses that health insurance doesn't cover that add up fast," said Lightle, a longtime mountain biker and co-owner of Non Dot Adventures, which organizes races and other events in Orange County.

Three years ago, Lightle teamed up with Monique "Pua" Mata, a former champion endurance mountain bike racer whose birthday falls near his in February. The two continue to celebrate their birthdays together by co-hosting the fundraiser, which draws a bigger crowd — and more sponsors — each year.

This year, Lightle and Mata, who now works as a sales rep for Bianchi, decided to pull the industry together to raise funds for the SoCal National Interscholastic Cycling Association league.

"Through Non Dot, we've really noticed that there aren't many kids coming out to race, and we'd all like to see that change," Lightle said. "So I thought it would be a good idea to support NICA, since those kids are really the future of our sport."

Shimano has always supported the event by donating product to the birthday raffle, but this year, it is hosting the fundraiser at its headquarters in Irvine.

Shimano Multiservice vehicles will also provide mechanical support for the morning group ride. The company will staff the event with about 15 employees, and supply food and beverages. And if El Nino decides to return to Southern California next weekend, Shimano will set up large tents to keep everything and everyone dry.

"This is such a great cause to support, and we have this awesome facility here so it just seemed perfect to host the event," said Jason Sheehan, who works in OEM sales for Shimano. "We're happy to do everything we can to make it a successful event."

The fundraiser will be held Saturday, Feb. 20. The group ride starts at 10 a.m., followed by lunch and a sizable raffle. All proceeds will be donated to the SoCal NICA league.

Sponsors include Fullerton Bicycles, The Path Bike Shop, Rock n' Road Cyclery and other local retailers. CamelBak, Ibis, Niner, Shimano, REI, WTB, Oakley, Intense, Tykes Bykes, MTBR, Troy Lee Designs, Fox, SRAM and many others have donated product to the raffle.

Registration is required to attend the event. To learn more and reserve a spot, visit nondotadventures.redpodium.com.

To donate to the raffle, contact Andy Lightle at andyakarut@gmail.com.

 

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