*A trip for two to sunny Las Vegas, entry to 2007's Interbike and the chance to ogle all the new cycling goodies slated to hit the shelves in 2008*

*A 2008 Mission 3, Diamondback’s versatile all-mountain machine. Nimble, efficient and stable, the Mission 3 features Shimano’s new Deore XT components, including the Shadow rear derailleur and high power disc brakes.*

*15 minutes of fame in a Diamondback ad that will appear in Dirt Rag featuring the winner on their new Mission 3.*

*Swag from Dirt Rag, Diamondback, Fox Racing Shox, Rockshox, Shimano and WTB. *

To enter, simply go to diamondback.com and click on the “What’s Your Mission?” button to submit your all-mountain inspiring description and photo.

You will also find the fine print there, too, but here’s some to get you started: No purchase necessary to enter or win. One entry per person. Void where prohibited by law. Contest submissions will be accepted from May 1 through August 1, 2007. Entrant must both author their description and take the photo submitted

Monday, July 23, 2007

Aran S. - Rancho Santa Margarita, CA

The two Gooseberry Mesa rides will forever rate as a perfect 10. But, so does the same “ole” Whiting Ranch loop that I’ve done at least 150 times in the last 13 years. And, I expect the trip to Mammoth Mountain this August will also rate high on the list. But, with all due respect to the contest and the judges, asking to pick that one ride that is/was a favorite is wrong. How can any ride, no matter the beginning or ending not be rated a perfect 10. Unless “the end” means not living any more. But still, if whatever caused your death was spectacular enough, then it was still a perfect ride. Am I wrong?? Anyone?! Bueller? The crash that caused me amnesia (only for about 4 to 5 hours), the fractures in each wrist, road rash, poison oak so bad that my normally 13 inch biceps swelled up to over 16 inches, hamburger shins, bruises that lasted for months, asthma so bad I passed out, the mechanical meltdown, and sticking a 3 foot log jump so badly that I tore my sack in two spots all add up to the best rides I’ve ever had. I dang near almost tore my taint clean off. Maybe I’m mistaking best with most memorable, but even if, I’m still right. Allow me to enlighten that argument with an analogy. Would you rather have sex with the best or with the most memorable woman? (10 minute pause whilst I, and probably you, think about that.) Uuummmm, doughnuts. The answer of course is both. But you’re not going to impress anyone with a great story of how you rode the San Juan Trail and never had to dab a foot, or even had a scratch. But if you bedazzle them with your feats of survival, then you’ve got something. You’re the man if you rode the rest of the trail after fracturing your wrist. Or explain how you once thought it rather ingenious to test the sponginess of the aluminum headset with yer package. All in all, every ride rocks. The feeling of accomplishment if you finish the ride in record time, or just finish. Going Gonzo on the rock garden that’s been the hemorrhoid on your riding arse for years. Feeling the suspension cushion your landing as you nail the perfect drop. You know the feeling. The one that makes you curse all those years before suspension. Executing a perfect switchback or making it up and over successive rock steps without dropping a foot. And screaming in your mind afterward, “Take that Hans Rey.” Carving the perfect turn that you almost never do since you don’t trust your own skills. The wind in your hair, or ears, for you bald fellas. Finally finding the trick to riding down and through the chutes. Or just surviving the facial after hitting a death cookie. It’s like surfing. Even if I never caught a wave, just being out in the waves floating around is still a great day. Last, since I will never be president of FEMA, Al Qaeda, or any other organization what would give me a public forum, I must do it now. I want to thank the people that have given me the one thing in my life that gives me reason to rise early on a Saturday. That gives me reason to go back and do the same thing again and again no matter how much pain I endured or how close I came to death. THANK YOU Russ Mahon, Gary Fisher, Joe Breeze, Charlie Kelly, Tom Ritchey, Paul Turner, Keizo Shimano, Keith Bontrager, Joe Murrey, Steve Cook, Hans Rey, Ned Overend, John Tomac, Chris King, Cindy Devine, Tinker Juarez, Max Jones, Mert Lawwill, Charlie Cunningham, Richard Cunningham, Juliana Furtado, Gary Klein, the Cook Brothers, Chris Chance, Steve Potts, Bob Girvin, and Alan Bonds. Special thanks also to those manufacturers that have given us so much reason to lust. Foes, Intense, Santa Cruz, Turner, Ventana, Ellsworth, Yeti, and Titus. And also thanks to the big boys that give the rest of us great bikes that last a long time. Thanks Trek, Specialized, Giant, KHS, Iron Horse, Cannondale, Diamondback, Mongoose, GT, Jamis, Kona, Norco, Devinci, Marin, RM, Fox, Manitou, and SRAM. And of course a special thanks to CAD programmers, the pocket protection wearing nerds, and the little guy that came and went but none the less added something to the overall sport; the true unsung heroes. And last but not least, God, for mountains, valleys and gravity. There are three great things about being a mountain bike fanatic. The first being able to open an old mag and reminisce about the past. I still get a lump in my throat whenever I see a photo of the Breezer Cloud 9 or Yo Eddie Team. The second is the future. Seeing that new design that takes your breath away faster than a 30 yard uphill sprint. And the best; being on a bike and beating your friends to the top of this hill, or the bottom, and along the way just enjoy hearing the sound of rubber on loose gravel, squeaks, groans and any other noise the bike makes. No matter the events happening in my life, they are all forgotten for the hour or 4 while in the saddle.