*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

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Richard Champney - Essex Junction, VT

In Northern Vermont we have a trails that will scare you, trails that will wear you out, and trails that beat up your bike. But one trail here claims a special identity – everyone loves it. Her name is Flo. Flo is located in old hillside farmland abandoned decades ago. The farmers worked hard to clear the land and remove the rocks. The trees have returned but now the woods floor is smooth and fun to ride. Flo runs for miles. For novice riding friends who ask if I’ll show them what mountain bike riding is about, Flo fits the bill. The trail rolls and winds through forest, overgrown meadows, and even along a woodland pond. Stop anywhere for a rest and enjoy the woods. It is beautiful. The smooth riding is interrupted with some short technical sections, a couple mud holes, and a leg-burning climb. Those sections are challenging enough to make the novices walk and decide they need to come again and practice for the day they can ride everything. Unlike more difficult trails that wind up scaring them away from mountain biking forever, Flo works her magic on them and they come back for more. For the expert rider Flo is equally challenging and addictive. Forget the granny gear and start building speed on this narrow singletrack and everything changes. The trees are much too close and there is no room for error. In some spots there are fractions of inches between the end of your handlebar and the tree trunks. Are you going to slow down and walk like a novice? The answers lie in the scars on the tree trunks and riders. Sweeping between the trees the trail zigs, zags, has sharp 90 degree and 180 degree turns with drops and climbs that keep you out of your seat and up on the pedals. Straight-aways are few and far between. You ride with your fingers always on the brake levers while accelerating, braking, turning, climbing, or brushing shoulders with tree trunks. It is an exhausting work-out that punishes errors painfully and you can’t wait to do it again. From the new rider to the expert, everyone loves Flo. You see her mission accomplished at the trailhead. Everyone is smiling and making plans for their next ride. Flo reminds us that it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been riding or the gear you ride on… we are all out here to have fun.