*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

Qben Oliver - Anacortes, WA

In a single ride I can experience exhaustion, exhilaration, rejuvenation, fear, and amazement. No matter how many lumps the trail leaves me with, I always return feeling renewed. There are few pursuits which provide the same versatility and none which provide it with such vigor. I do it because I love it. I love those moments of seclusion when all that can be heard are the gentle mechanical sounds of the drivetrain mingled with the sound of my tires gliding along the trail. I love the synergy I feel when my breathing seems to compliment the rustling of the wind in the trees. I love it when I’ve been grinding out an ascent and my helmet shifts just enough to send a torrent of sweat off the visor. When I reach the point of sheer exhaustion and step off the bike, I love the feeling that my legs are made of Jell-O; That moment of serenity, fueled by endorphins, when I collapse in the bushes and a wave of relaxation floods over me. When I get back on the bike, the pedaling is so effortless that I feel like nothing could stop me. I thoroughly enjoy this feeling even though I know that within moments I will be abruptly reminded of reality. I love it when I’m grinding up around the corner of a steep switchback and the front tire starts to float just above the trail, but somehow finds it’s way to just the right spot when it comes back down. It puts a smile on my face when I round the corner of an unfamiliar trail and find that I am going just the right speed and in just the perfect gear to provide a burst of speed which seems to defy several physical laws. I love it when I’m taking a corner hard around a tree and I can hear and feel the tires slide, when my sleeve just touches the tree and I know that there is no way that corner could have been taken any faster without crashing. The sense of accomplishment is unmatched when I’m in good enough shape that I can climb up a physically demanding section of trail and still have enough in reserve to bomb down the next technical section without even slowing down. I love that section of trail where there’s no turning back once I’ve committed; Where it is steep enough, and technical enough, that it would be impossible to stop without crashing; Where anything less than absolute attention to the trail would have disastrous consequences. It is exhilarating to be in that moment when I am not focusing on any one thing, but take in absolutely everything that is immediately pertinent to maintaining some semblance of control; To feel myself reacting, effortlessly and precisely, to feedback from the bike and the trail without even thinking about it. I love how alive I feel when I’ve pushed my limits; In that instant, like when you lean just a fraction of an inch too far over the edge of the roof, my stomach drops and my face flushes. In that moment I am reintroduced to that line; The line that begs me to come right up to it, maybe even lean over, but never fails to punish me, sometimes harshly, when I trespass on the other side.