*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

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Jonathan Bialick - Thousand Oaks, CA

Today, life in America is a snooze for anyone who can afford it to be : computer servers retrieve and deliver information straight to our eyes, and cars takes us across roads reaching from the Pacific to the Atlantic. A man's pulse only has to beat hard enough to get blood to his head and finger tips to make a living these days. Before I could drive, turn on a computer, or ride a skateboard, there was one machine that gave back all the heart I put in - and that was the bicycle. At first I had trouble peddling fast enough to maintain balance, these days my gears don't crank low enough (On the flats and downhill at least, uphill can be just the opposite). Gas prices are high for a reason, most people aren't willing to exercise their bodies for motion. They may only look forward to the destination, unaware of the journey waiting to be had within the bike lanes of the streets they travel. Driving a car completely lacks the stimulation, sense of speed and sense of accomplishment from conquering a hill, only to fly down the other side five times faster than the ride up it. If I rode a Harley I might appear tough, when I ride my dad's old Apex (released before shocks became popular) I know I'm tough. The only ass I'm kicking is my own, peddling up long narrow trails, half-standing on the downhills, using all the muscle and weight I got just to keep up with the turns of the trail. My favorite ride is to a hill called Lizard Rock, named after the rocks at the top shaped like the head of a lizard (not to mention all the lizards inhabiting the area). This hill is in the protected open space of Thousand Oaks, CA, in a multi-acre nature park called Wildwood. Whenever I'm feeling low, all I have to do is take out the Apex, pedal for a mile and a half and I'm at the entrance. It really is like a roller coaster, the first part of the trail sets the mood for intense uphill riding. As I slowly defy gravity, I am reminded the journey to the top of lizard rock isn't going to be handed to me. Real focus comes into play, the second I loose it or think that I own it is when it goes away. I maintain my pace and reach the first peak, it sends me off down a rock-path hill. There is usually foot traffic on this opening, I use as little braking as possible. I need all the speed I can get, but never at the cost of a collision. There is a series of down and up hill straights, overall it is bringing me higher and higher after each extended mogul. I come to a fork in the road, I can go straight to Lizard Rock or I can pass through Paradise Falls. Lizard Rock is a dedicated uphill ride, while Paradise Falls is insanely pleasurable downhill which leads me to the very bottom of Lizard Rock. If it is before sunset, I take the Paradise Falls path. After I turn on the path I am sent down a hill, if I keep up my momentum the following hill requires no gearshift! This is where constant peddling really begins to pay off. The trail leads to an Indian TP, I choose the path on the right which is the trail from picture one. It's a windy gravel trail, it feels like riding an accelerating dirt bike going down, braking is definately necessary, but the less used the more fun! Thankfully my dad's apex is equipped with Shimano brakes, which I have trusted my life with many times. I wouldn't ride this with anything less, knowing that the end is a sudden stop with larger loose rocks on the trail. I continue down the path up a less defined trail for about a quarter of a mile, and this is where picture two begins. It is a slow, demanding ride up on top gear, a true test of strength and will power. My mind can't wonder around, I must affirm my intention to peddle all the way up, otherwise I find myself walking my bike. That's not how I want to reach the top, but I have turned to it before. As I become a stronger rider, I ride more and more of the path. After each stretch, I must rest to regain strength. It becomes more difficult to start each time, I try standing to peddle but my back wheel spins out. I know now the right way to do it is to ride it all the way through, it is possible. By the time I reach the top, I am far enough from the world to be anyone. After such a ride, I am not so anxious about the opinions of others, truer confidence in myself has been earned, if only for a few hours. I sometimes stand at the top of the rock and yell in celebration, there's not a single human in sight to hear me! I feel great usually, my stomach is fit and mostly vacant, having burned any food I brought with me. After this awesome feeling of accomplishment, the only thing left to do is ride down Lizard Rock. Riding down Lizard Rock is the whole reason I ride up it! On the paradise Falls ride, the momentum can't be transfered past those large rocks, down Lizard Rock there are no obstacles! After a couple sharp turns, I let go of the brake and trust the path. I zoom past coyotes on an awesome downhill adventure. All of the energy put forth on the way up is given back to me. With peddling, gravity sends me on a fast paced two mile ride back to the entrance of Wildwood park. I swear, the bicycle is the greatest invention of man. All it takes is man! Until I discover a more awesome trail, Lizard Rock has to be my favorite. After writing about my experience on it, a new bike isn't nearly as important to me. I can relive Lizard Rock any day of my life on a trusty, proven Diamond Back. The Mission 3 must to be a joy to ride, it has twenty more years of engineering technology and all the features I would look for in a bike today, including rear suspension and disc brakes. But when it comes down to it, the Apex has been doing the same job for years. If I did win the Mission 3, the first thing I'd do is go riding with my dad. He'd be better off riding bikes again than paying personal trainers. Trouble is, his friend who he used to ride with overdosed two years ago. I say its time to get back on the bike, I'll tell him about the Mission 3.