Ride For Relief
Why I am raising funds for the Race2Rebuild Team.
There are many reasons why I feel driven to help those effected by Hurricane Sandy but I will highlight only a few of the most important to me here.
As a kid I remembers spending my summers swimming in the beach, biking on the boardwalk and running along the shores of The Rockaways. My friends and I did this all day every day because we enjoyed it. It gave us a sense of freedom to ride our bikes from Beach 40th all the way to Riis Park. We did it without Gamins, Heartrate Monitors or Powermeters. We didn't care how fast we were going or what our cadence was. We did it because we loved it. We loved the smell of the ocean and the sound of the waves along the shore.
We didn't know what a "Triathlon" was and we didn't care.
I would have never imagined that 20 years later I would be a competitive triathlete. It was those summers in The Rockaways that laid the foundation for my passion for Triathlon.
When Hurricane Sandy hit, two of the most devastated areas were the Jersey Shore and The Rockaways. I immediately felt like I had to do something to help. I owed it to this little peninsula for all it had given to me. However, like most of us I felt helpless and unsure about what to do to help. Then I realized that the best way to help was to do the thing that I love to do the most, namely swim, bike and run. I decided to dedicate Ironman Cozumel to all the residents of The Rockaways and asked friends to donate a dollar per mile. I figured that at most I would raise a few hundred dollars. Little by little more people started to ally themselves to the cause and ultimate my company NY Health & Racquet Club got involved. We eventually partnered with NY Cares and got our Members and Staff mobilized. During the race there were moments when I felt oppressed by the heat and humidity of the Cozumel Coast but I just thought about the families of these areas.. I though about how much they lost and what they had to endure. This gave me the energy to go on and finish strong.
To my surprise we were able to raise over $30,000!
Of all my Ironman races, (11 to date) this one was the most rewarding. It wasn't my fastest time but it is one I am most proud of.
Last year when I heard that the Challenge Series was coming to the Jersey Shore, I felt that same impulse to be a part of it. I knew how hard they got hit and how much help they needed. I knew that by participating in the Inugural Challenge Atlantic City we would be finacially impacting this area in a postive way. Several of my team members also signed up and we made it our team "A" Race.
This year we look forward to coming back with even more members and being a part of the Race2Rebuild effort. We believe that Triathlon is not just about winning medals, setting a new Personal Best or getting a Podium Finish. It's about being the "Best Person" you can be. It's also about helping the communities in which we race. It is about giving back and paying if forward.
We can't wait to be out there in Atlantic City again. To smell the ocean and hear the waves crashing. To once again feel like a kid enjoying an endless summer.
See you at the Finishline,
Echelon Performance Team
11x Ironman Finisher
Team USA AG Team
USAT All American
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