*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

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Chad Williams - Fort Collins, CO

Last year while riding at Devil’s Backbone in Loveland, CO, after a tough section of technical single-track, a Zebra appeared on the east side of the trail, just fifteen feet from me and my bike. I had been floating that day, present in every sense, the rocky single-track disappearing under my wheels. Confused by the anomaly, endorphins pulsing, I laid my bike in the middle of the trail and tried to get closer to the animal. With each step forward the Zebra moved cautiously away, always keeping an eye on me. I followed it into a small valley and up the other side, losing sight as it bounded over the crest of a hill. I walked slowly back to the trail and continued the ride, but couldn’t shake the vision. Something magical happened. The euphoria producing, technical single-track elixir of riding magically peaked that day. Other days are different. I struggle to find the line; the zone sits just out of reach. Last week, in the middle of the day, two small yellow-bellied birds with black wings burst into the air ahead of me. I was powering through waist high grass that reached into the trail, grabbed at my legs. Tiny butterflies darted in and out of my peripheral vision, performing some sacred dance, and I swung the bike side to side, avoiding the beetles crossing my path. Karma. Sweat stung my eyes with every pedal stroke. Deeper into a trance I fell, my bike and I becoming one, jumping lightly over rocks, floating. After jumping a boulder and landing on the edge of the grass, I heard the tail of a rattlesnake shake. Every uphill has a downhill; it’s expected, and always delivers. Mountain biking can be relied upon. Two days ago I ran over a rattlesnake. Didn’t hurt it, just went right over it. Lately they’re everywhere. You get to meet nice people out there too. Yesterday my partner and I got lazy and decided to forgo driving 30-minutes to Young’s Gulch in the Poudre River canyon, a climb that snakes up a gulch with numerous technical river crossings, exciting stuff. Instead we stayed in town and did the Shoreline trail at Horsetooth Reservoir. We were an hour into the ride, a ways away from people, when a female jogger with her Yellow Lab approached us. She quietly flagged us down as if she didn’t want to bother us, asking if we thought getting bitten by a rattlesnake was bad. We asked her to hand over the dog and I got to stay with her while John busted ass to the road to get help. She ended up getting a very expensive helicopter ride, but got to live. They even put our picture on the front page of the local paper. A little divine providence, and proof that mountain biking even saves lives. Mountain biking is a communion with the creator, the closest I get to a house of worship. If I had to list what really gets me going, I’d list everything. Smooth and fast descents down fire roads, twisty single-track, technical rock gardens, long climbs. I’m an all-around kind of biker. I do understand downhill. I mean I love going down, but I like to earn it, and I’m too old for that 50-foot drop shit. In fact I owe my life to mountain biking. Back in ’94 I was pretty heavy into drugs and kind of switched to biking at some point. I tried combining the two but it didn’t work. Devil’s Backbone is still a favorite ride. I took a friend the other day that didn’t like the large number of rocks, and for a minute I couldn’t understand, but everyone’s got their thing. The Zebra however hasn’t made an appearance this summer. I won’t stop searching though.