*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 17, 2007

Tom W. - Treynor, IA

I ride to live. Yes, that sentiment is on an IMBA t-shirt, but I really ride to live. In March 2005 I suffered a stroke caused by a disintegrated heart valve. At my cardiac rehab exit interview I was asked what I was going to do for exercise to continue my recovery. I was not sure but knew I had to do something. You know how things just work out? I knew I did not enjoy running and walking – that’s “work”. Now I had not ridden a bicycle since a kid – I figured why not? There is no reason to bore you with the details, so the short story is that I started on a comfort bike, graduated to a hybrid and never looked back. In the first full year, I logged over 2000 miles. Most of the miles were on paved trails and rails-2-trails. While I enjoy those trails, something was missing. I bought a mountain bike and joined IMBA and T.H.O.R. (the area mountain bike trail group). On my first singletrack ride, I was HOOKED! That was on the Lake Manawa SP (Iowa) trails. If there is such a thing as a “home trail” Manawa is mine. Each time I ride I feel that I am at home. Now there is only some 7 miles of trail here. There is something for everyone. - tight winding singletrack, open doubletrack, logs to jump, rocks to negotiate, some TTFs, and views of the Missouri River. Lots to keep me occupied. What puts that goofy smile on my face? Riding Fast Track (one of the “blue” trails), ducking branches, dodging trees, finding a faster line through the trees, and riding with my friends. Mountain biking has now become a passion. My mission. Sure, I enjoy the group city trail/road rides – any way to get outside on my bikes – but my passion is the singletrack. I love the winding, wooded singletrack. In April I entered my first mountain bike race (I finished last but know I was a success because I did it). I started taking pictures of mountain bike races and attended the Black Hills Fat Tire Festival. The races get me pumped up, stoked. This year I took over as T.H.O.R. Webmaster and started editing our newsletter. I can’t get enough of mountain biking – my mission, my passion. Yes, a real passion. A passion I have never felt. Trying to describe my passion brings tears to my eyes. I can’t get enough of reading of epic rides, yearning to be good enough to ride those same trails. I can’t sleep after a particularly good ride. When a trail is over my abilities, I want to add to my skill set. My bike-path riding friends think I have gone off the deep end. A 59 year old retiree does not belong trying to jump logs! “You might hurt yourself”. I just say to them that I am in my third or fourth childhood and having fun. Don’t mind me. Nothing will get in the way of my passion. There may be some bumps, but “Look out! – Here comes that old mountain biker. He rides with the passion of a horny teenager!”