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Specialized Ride to Vegas

Published September 20, 2009

Randy Berthold has been riding with Mike Sinyard for more than 35 years, since their former hippie days. Now employed with NASA, he said it’s not unusual for him to get a call from Mike from Asia, asking him if he wants to go on an adventure. He doesn’t always know what the trip will entail, but he knows to pack riding clothes and a sense of adventure.

Like Randy, I really didn’t knew what I was getting into when I signed on to join Specialized president Mike Sinyard, staff, dealers and fellow journalists for a 660-mile, six-day ride from Morgan Hill, California to Las Vegas for Interbike. But Mike had personally invited me and BRAIN publisher Marc Sani, a ride veteran, assured me it was an experience not to be missed. About two weeks before Marc and I were set to leave I looked at the route map and began to panic.

Despite my attempt to pack in some miles before our departure, I now know I would have needed to start my training much earlier—as in years ago—in order to hang with the core group. This is a group filled with former racers like Chris D’Aluisio, who holds the Specialized record for most commute miles, who harness a nice tailwind to finish a 100-mile day in a blistering four hours and start planning creative ways to pack in extra miles the remaining two days of the trip.

Still, the route across the Sierras challenged all of the riders, many of whom have battled heat, fatigue or cramps at some point. But the support of fellow riders and an amazing support crew of Specialized and Western Spirit guides has kept us all going.

The ride has been challenging (multiple days with more than 6,500 feet of climbing), amazing (views of Half Dome and Mt. Whitney) and memorable. From making the grueling climb up to Yosemite with a group of gals who wouldn’t let one another give up to taking a long, screaming descent from Mammoth on Mike Sinyard’s wheel to sitting in the middle of a paceline doing 30-plus mph on the flats, the best moments were shared moments.

At the end of the day that’s what this ride is all about: creating a shared experience between people with a common passion for riding and a willingness to take on an adventure.


Mike Sinyard shows his chart to determine whether you’re properly hydrated based on the color of your pee. The new Specialized motto: “Hydrate or die.”




Neil Bremner of Bike Barn crashed on a tight corner descending Mt. Hamilton the first day. Fortunately, a trip to the hospital determined that he had no broken bones. And thanks to an expert tape from Rebecca Rusch, he was back on the bike the next day.



The main pack makes the arduous climb into Yosemite on Day Two. These guys ride fast and hard.



Some of the group enjoy a dip in the ice cold water in Yosemite... healing waters after the 70-mile ride into the National Park.



Skins compression socks and tights were all the rage in camp, where most of the riders sported them including sponsored athlete and three-time 24-hour world champ Rebecca Rusch.


The “chick train” pulled each other—and a few of the guys—when we couldn’t hang with the big boys and girls at the front. Paige Dunn of Road magazine, Megan Tompkins of BRAIN, Patty Woodworth of Action Wheels and Rachel Lambert of Specialized. You girls rule!

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