*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 2, 2007

Steve T. - Redding, CA

Chasing singletrack is my destiny, my journey, and my passion. I'm on a mission. A mission to ride. The dawn of a new day brings endless possibilities. Darkness prevails as I take in breakfast so I can actually digest my food before the pedaling commences. As I stumble out to the garage to check my steed I remember I need to replace the cleats in my shoes. A quick 15 minutes of pre-ride prepping and my bike and shoes are set to go. After finishing up my bowl of cereal, checking my e-mail, and perusing some friends’ blogs I gear up and head out the door. It’s semi dark out by now but the sun still has not revealed itself. Finally ready, I roll down the driveway as my knobby tires speak up loudly in the quiet morning. I figure by the time I am knee deep in singletrack the sun will be rising. I climb as the sun begins its ascent into the morning. As I drop into some tight twisty singletrack my shadow faintly appears. The sun’s rays piercing through the pine trees light my path as I careen down the mountainside. Today the dirt is good. The recent rains have saturated the trails to perfection. As I wind through the trees my tires never give a hint of losing traction. All that’s left behind is the feint sound of knobs gripping the decomposed granite. A slight breeze picks up as the surrounding trees begin to sing their sweet song. It’s as if the pine needles are whistling. My breathing rate increases as the trail turns upwards causing me to interrupt the natural melodies abound. After an hour of climbing I arrive at the top. Breath taking views surround me as I try to take in as much as I can. The majority of the people in town will never see this sight. It’s rather disappointing to realize that most people would rather stay indoors and deteriorate. I stand and breathe the fresh air. Feel the cool breeze against my face. Sense the dirt on my legs and the sweat dripping in my helmet. Overwhelming stimuli continue to invade my presence but I can’t get enough of it. I stare out over the valley I just climbed out of. It causes the tiny hairs on my neck to stand up and sends chills through my body as I realize I am just a speck in a larger than life picture. After a brief moment of reflection it’s back to business. The trail points down and I follow. Blazing through the canopy of trees, the leaves crackle to life as I roll over them. Nothing in life matters other then nailing the turns and keeping the speed up. My senses are on overload as the trail keeps dishing out the adrenaline my mind craves. It feeds my body and allows it to continue propelling itself through the forest. Halfway through the ride now and my body is feeling a little fatigue. Three hours into it at this point as I reach for some fuel to recharge. I take a short break by a creek as the flowing water offers a peaceful opinion but not enough to disturb the silence. A splash of fresh water on the back of my neck and face is frigid and invigorating. As I stare up to the heavens, the water beads and rolls off my face. Off for more trail time. I have another climb before I drop down towards home. The mind says go but the legs fight and refuse. Luckily the mind wins this time and the higher I climb the better they feel. I look back down the mountainside and see the trail I just ascended. It’s astounding the amount of ground a bicycle can cover. I gather the strength to careen down the final singletrack leading me home. The sun is in full force as it warms the Earth’s surface. The sun-baked pine needles line the trail and offer a delightful scent that smells scrumptious as I flow through the trees. The trail ends and it’s a short spin home on pavement. It can be a little disappointing heading home however it is another day of riding to put in the books and motivation to ride again the next day. I’m on a mission. A mission to ride.