Sunday, February 13, 2011


Matt and I were blessed this winter to get away from the cold and get to somewhere a bit warmer. We traveled to the island of Curacao, which was beautiful and amazing to explore on two wheels. My favorite part of the trip was riding with the Westpunt Riders.

The Westpunt Riders is a group of local Westpunt kids that meet every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon at David’s house. David was whom we rented our apartment from for the duration of our stay in Curacao. He also showed us around the island by bike on many occasions. So once at David’s house the Westpunt riders are decked out with helmets, gloves, shoes and a bike to ride that day. David’s friend Derrick is also there helping get the boys all rounded out. I think it’s important to make it clear that these kids are less fortunate, and without the Westpunt Riders Club none of these kids would probably have the opportunity to enjoy cycling at this level. Yes, they might have there own bike with a rusty chain and no brakes to ride around the neighborhood but to actually have a fully functional brand name bike and gear to ride long distance on the road or take to some single track is quit amazing. The group also travels to many of the islands races and local riding events.

Matt and I didn’t miss a chance to go ride with these kids. As I sit here and write it’s hard to put into words why this experience was so amazing. My love for cycling grew so much deeper from this experience. If you ride a bike, and most likely if you are reading this blog you do, then you can understand how riding a bike with someone can bring you closer together. You see the boys ages 8 to 15 years old speak Papiamento, not English. We couldn’t communicate with words but in some weird way we were able to through the bike! I felt that in just a few rides I built an amazing connection with these kids that without the bike I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do.

Having a club like the Westpunt Riders is so crucial to the island and Westpunt community. Just like anywhere in the world, there is crime on the island of Curacao. From what we heard it is mainly drug related, that leads to theft, robberies, and unfortunately sometimes murders. The root that leads to all this is poverty. David and Derrick are investing in these kids by giving them hope and a positive direction in hopes that it will keep them from falling into the same trap that some island locals resort to. The bike is no doubt playing an important role in their lives and giving them something to be proud of. I’ve experienced first hand how the bicycle can be used as a tool to bring hope to the world. I’m so thankful for people like David and Derrick who are taking time out of their lives to impact the next generation.

After this experience I’m even more honored to have World Bicycle Relief as one of our sponsors this year and riding for an organization that is making a difference in poverty-stricken lives around the globe. For me this is what a bicycle is all about, bringing hope.

A picture with Nathaniel, the youngest rider in the club.

Group photo of the Westpunt Riders after an evening ride.

Nothing like a ride to the beach and then some cliff jumping. Matt had to have the moral support of the youngsters before attempting the 25 ft free fall into the water below.

The Westpumt Riders getting ready before the Curacao Ride for the Roses.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Yesterday was the start of our Wednesday rides at Camp Alexender, and it was an awesome time. Friend and Mountain bike rider Gary Bacon had already started doing some group rides with his friends and let me say that group has grown, so add are High Gear team and friends and we had about 25. Yup 25 people out at Camp enjoying each other and the awesome trails (Thanks to Bacon's group that cleaned up the trails Sunday, and added some awesome signs)!!
Now if you ask me that's what riding is all about, so if you have a bike and you want to join us..
Every Wednesday at Camp Alexender(6:30) Hope to see you there...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

First Post / First Race of 2010

Well I'm happy to say that today will be my first official post, I've been meaning to do this a long time ago but it's been crazy busy. As a lot of you know we moved the shop to 520 Commercial and the new location is just amazing. With all the remodeling that had to be done, from mid Feb to mid March, I got no riding time in. But I have to say that the New Shop was worth it, its so nice to be able to work without stepping on each other. That being said I missed two Mountain Bike races that I was really looking forward to. The shop was crazy busy so while we were here at the store our teamates were at the races representing High Gear and of course our amazing sponsors-Great Job Guys!!

So when I looked at the race calender I figured my first official race was going to be "Ride with the Devil" 3-6 hour race. I was so pumped up cuz this race was going to be at Clinton Lake, which is an amazing trail. I knew I wasn't in racing form, but I was confident I could manage the trails at Clinton (As I've raced there several times before). Unfortunately Thursday I found out that race was postpone until Oct.16th (everyone marked that down on your calender). So Matt talked me into going to Wilson Lake to race. It took a little convincing, I've ridden at Wilson Lake with friends before and its a little out of my comfort zone. Lots of Big Slick Rocks, and tons of cliff riding (did I mention my fear of heights). In the end I decided I'd go, and boy was it an experience.
Before the race I wasn't very confident cuz I had prerode part of the trail the day before, and forgot how tricky some of the sections are. In the end I dropped out of the race but I felt the race was good. I know what some of you are thinking, usually if you drop out of a race the last thing you say is it was "good?" But it was good, it totally up'd my confidence when it comes to rocks, extremely treacherous descends, and conquered my fear of heights!! I was surprised that the expert women had to race the same amount as the expert men-27miles. So when I crossed the finish line, I still had to go out and ride 8 more miles. Friend and Teammate Randy Smith decided to go out with me and ride the last eight with me (thank goodness). The best part of those last 8 miles (should I say 5miles) was that I was just to tired to get off my bike on technical parts, so I ended up riding down and up some stuff I NEVER thought I could do (that's amazing). My Paragon was probably having a blast getting to show me how awesome it can handle those parts. And the worst part was on mile 5 I just couldn't go any further, I was done. Randy tried to give me some confidence by telling me I only had 3 more miles left, but my body wouldn't go. Lucky Randy went out and found Dustin B and Jena, and they came to my rescue. How Lucky I'm that I have these amazing guys racing for our team.
What a way to start off the season..
I do want to Congrats Karen Borgstedt for being one Tough, Super Fast Chick! Placing First in Expert Women's field.