This October, one of Endura USA's own, Ryan Molony, who covers Northern California, took part in The Ride430 Challenge in Arizona, USA. The Challenge covers 310 miles by bike in 4 days, with over 17,000 vertical feet of climbing through scenic mountain passes. The journey for all who took part is both a physical and mental test of their limits, however, the promise of making a difference to the lives of injured members of the military and the families of injured and fallen warriors, made it all worthwhile. This is one ride that will stay with Ryan for a very long time.
Day 1 Mesa to Wickenburg, 100 miles / 2,050 ft of climbing
The Ride 430 journey started in Mesa, Arizona. As the 40 riders started to assemble, I got the feeling this was the start of something special. We had a brief opening ceremony, recognizing the top fundraisers with a commemorative colored jersey. At around 8am we turned our first pedal stroke towards the town of Wickenburg. At the start of this ride many of us were strangers, first timers all excited about the roads ahead, but with each mile we covered, we became friends on this journey to commemorate our wounded veterans and their families. Our total mileage the first day in the saddle was 100 miles, and if I’m being honest, pretty uneventful scenery. But as we rolled into Wickenburg that evening I began to feel the group was becoming closer and closer, I knew this was going to be a journey unlike any other.
Day 2 Wickenburg to Prescott, 75 miles / 5,830 ft of climbing (and 2 IV bags)
Today started like any other day after riding 100 miles, you wake up, shake out the sore muscles, and get ready to ride another 70 plus miles. The only difference is today we had about 6,000 ft of climbing to look forward to.
Unfortunately the ride saw an early casualty when one of our riders went down in a paceline when his front wheel struck a 10 ft metal bar and caused a trip to the emergency room. After the paramedics arrived, the group started heading towards Prescott. Feeling really good and full of confidence, I jumped to the front and went solo up to Yarnell Pass and hammered in the flats to the next rest stop, not paying any attention the fact the back half of the ride still had another 4,000 ft of climbing. Needless to say I spent the rest of the day in a place I like to frequent on the bike called the “Pain Cave”. Pushing myself one pedal stroke at a time, I made my way to the final rest stop where we all regrouped before riding together into Prescott. I must admit it is a great feeling to ride into town and with a rider either side carrying the American and Marine Corps flag and have cars honking their horns in support of this great cause. My choice of recovery drink after the days ride were 2 IV bags, needless to say I was pretty beat.
Day 3 Camp Verde to Payson, 60 miles / 6,060 ft of climbing
Today was by far some of the most fun I have ever had on a bike, I got to spend most of my time today riding with Major Devin Andrews who proudly carried the American flag on the back of his bike. We climbed from Camp Verde to Payson which was some of the most beautiful scenery you will ever see, not to mention some amazing descents that topped out at over 50mph. Mother Nature threw us a little curve ball in the form of rain and hail but I reverted back to being a little kid riding his bike in the rain and I had a big smile on my face all the way into Payson.
Day 4 Payson to Mesa, 75 miles 3,724 ft of climbing
Today was the final day of the ride. We were 75 miles to the finish with a route that had some amazing descents and some challenging climbs that averaged 8% for miles. At the final rest stop we all regrouped and were met with a police escort to take us through to the finish line, and our family and friends. With the ride complete, we had a closing ceremony were we gave over $300,000 to charities that help wounded veterans and their families.
After completing this ride I feel like a changed man, I will never forget the people I met on this ride, and I will have a place in my heart for the riders, their families, and the veterans I met during this journey. I have made a promise to myself that I will toe the start line for the Ride430 every year and continue to raise awareness the Ride 430 challenge and The Free Wheel Foundation.
For more information visit www.ride430.com