*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 30, 2007

Art Weichbrodt - Auburn, WA

I just got home from Sun Valley Idaho tonight, after a weeklong family vacation. My friend Chris has lived there for 15 years now and I usually see him twice a year, in the spring for one day of skiing and in the summer for one day of riding. Now Chris and I have been riding together since the late 1980's and we had a few memories between us. Riding with Chris was only part of what makes this my favorite ride. He is sort of a side story, the real story being my six year old son Clayton learning to ride. What has turned out to be one of my favorite and most memorable rides is Adam's Gulch/Fox Creek in Sun Valley. Chris came by for our annual ride last Thursday at 4:00 after he got off work. He decided to do Adams Gulch with the possibility of adding the Fox Creek loop if we have time. So he picks me up and we start to do the usual recall of rides and bike past and for some reason today was just super cool. We started to remember my old Bridgestone MB5 with Exage shifters and Bio-Pace chain rings, his old off the floor KMart special and the way we rode those into the ground. And we moved onto the better bikes like my MB2 and his Trek 880(?) with the hot pink letters on the black paint and how we used to do these epic rides out in the boonies and how that one time we came accross this guy fishing for this legendary diamond ring in this pond by the side of the road, and how on the descent my front wheel (Ritchey Vantage) lost spoke tension and how our friend Dan (who raced against Greg Lemond as a junior) tensioned and trued the wheel on the trail and how I never had to touch that wheel again, and how from there we took that wheel building class at Wright Brothers here in Seattle and built up the bomber Araya RM 20'S with the XT hubs that lasted forever and how I still have those hubs. He talked about how hard it was to destroy those old Bontrager cut down rims. I talked about building my Bontrager into a SS and how fun it is to ride and how he is going to do the same thing with his, but that this old Race blade fork he has is about 1 inch too short in the steerer. So we get to the parking lot and its really relaxed. I guess I forgot to mention that Chris has alwas been strong as a rider and has towed me around on many occasion, and I have been known to complain without knowing it so I really just wanted to focus on just riding and keeping my mouth shut. After all, the trails there are pretty damn sweet, so other than never being as fit as I want to be, there is nothing to bitch about, In fact it had rained all day, stopped ay 3:30, the sun was out and the temp was perfect, and the trails were buffed with no dust. The Ride. It was epic. The trails were in great shape and the recent rain made most of the ride super sticky and all of the climbs rideable. I remember doing this ride about 10 years ago and suffering miserably but for some reason this time, the legs and lungs were there. The last little grind up Fox Creek was definately tough on my sea level conditioned lungs but I just suffered through it. The downhills were soulful and smooth, like riding a rail. A ride to remember. (the pics from the ride are on a disposeable camera that I have yet to develop so I didn't include them) Post Ride. This is where it gets better for me because my 6 year old son gets into the act. Chris gives me a ride back to the condo. We have a beer and my boys (ages 3 and 6) are milling about and showing off on their scooters, bikes and whatever else is handy. Chris is talking to my In-Laws since they knew his parents when they were kids. But you see, my 6 year old just had me remove his training wheels on his sixth birthday, July 11th. So he is still sort of "scootering" around on his bike but not pedaling. So Chris leaves, and I am still basking in the glow of a really cool ride and as I am telling my Father in Law about it, I look up and my son is pedaling his bike onto the grass. The look on his face was indescribeable. My son looked right at me and all I could see in his eyes were pure joy and alot of pride, Somehow, Grandma has convinced him that if he falls on the grass, it wont hurt. Now please keep in mind I have been trying to get him to do this off and on for about two years. He rides up, stomps on the brakes and says "Dad was right!". I assume it's because it was not as hard in reality, compared to what he was thinking in his mind. So now it's look out, full speed ahead. He is riding around the driveway, on the street, over the gravel shoulder, and wherever his wheels will take him. His face continues to beam for the rest of the night and we could hardly convince him to come inside. This continues through Friday and Saturday with the highlite for me being Sunday. You see, I could have gone on another big ride on Sunday but Clayton says he wants to go on a mountain bike ride WITH ME! I am far from dissapointed. I have been waiting for this day for six years. The only place I can think on is Fox Creek since I was just there and I really dont know too many other flat sections of trail. I park near Hulen Meadows, which is at the foot of the hills and has the trail access to the ride. This is a ride of many firsts, first time on the road together (to access the trails) first time on dirt together, first single track. So we head up the hill on the road into Hulen Meadows and as we crest the top he says, "Dad, it makes my legs hurt", but he is a trooper, and as I drag him around looking for the trail he chatters on about how this is the best ride ever and how when he grows up he is going to have a house here and take his friends riding. He filled his dad with pride and I hadn't even found the trail yet. So after about a half hour of riding around the neighborhood on the road, I finally find the trail. As we enter, he is a little nervous and does not want me to get too far ahead in case "something happens". Pretty soon he is ahead of me and I am trying to dig the digital out of my pocket, and I accidentally take a video and swear into the camera as I figure out the settings. In the mean time he is churning along on his ride, apprehensive at times, confident later when he figures out how it all works. I let him tell me when to turn around and after about 10 minutes he decides he wants to go on a side trail to the Big Wood River. This is where the single track comes in. So he walks down a steeper section, hops on and grinds through some sand as we make our way to the river. I am stingy with my comments, trying not to coach but to encourage and give him confidence. We come to a bridge, he looses his balance and falls into the angle iron rail. I see him wince, but he instantly proclaims "I'm Okay" and pushes his bike the rest of the way over the bridge. We turn around and it is time to wrap up our journey as there are other errands to run this afternoon. He makes his way back, never complaining at any step. As we get back on the road to the car he proclaims it the "Best ride with you ever!" We hit the short down hill and his confidence is flowing out of him. He is singing as he rides, a nothing tune, just sounds of joy. We conclude and I take a few more pictures of him with his bike. He tells me he wants to do the kids race at the Labor Day Cyclocross race. His confidence in all of his activities has increased the last few days The pictures I really want to include are also of him on the disposable as it was the closest camera at hand when he made his first pedal strokes three nights before. I was trying to use it up but now realize how lucky I was to have it in my pocket. I will get it developed tomorrow, but I wanted to get this submitted tonight while it was still in my head after a 10 hour drive. I should have stated the obvious in the beginning: I am a very poor writer. There are so many more aspects that I want to include but I would be here all night. I apologize now for any typos or grammatical errors. I will not apologize for being a proud father. I hope that if only one person reads this' that I was able to convey the pure joy and freedom that my son felt in learning to ride his bike if by way of an indirect story. All of the great cycling joys I have had over the years, I could see in his face in that brief second on his first pedal stroke. I heve been trying to educate him about what cycling is but I knew it would have to be on his terms. I now know to stand back because there are many more journeys and explorations ahead for him on this two wheeled steed. I cant wait to watch it happen. Go Clayton go.