BY RICHARD RHINEHART
Gaithersburg, Maryland, July 14, 2011 – One of the mid-Atlantic’s most challenging fundraising bicycle rides is preparing for big growth this year. Ride Allegheny, a 320 mile, four day ride from the suburbs of Pittsburgh to Gaithersburg, Maryland, is actively seeking additional participants for its 11th annual ride this October 6-9.
Benefiting Operation Second Chance, a Maryland non-profit that provides support to wounded warriors and their families as they transition to active duty or civilian life, Ride Allegheny follows the Great Allegheny Passage rail-trail and the C&O Canal Towpath between Homestead, Pennsylvania and Gaithersburg. Following abandoned railroad grades and the historic 19th century canal, the vehicle-free route has an average grade of less than one percent.
Participants of Ride Allegheny have the option of choosing between three cycling routes for 2011. The full 320 mile route is limited to the first 50 registered riders; other options include a two day ride of 163 miles from Cumberland to Gaithersburg and a one day, 80 mile round trip from Darnestown, Maryland.
Riders from past World T.E.A.M. Sports events such as the Face of America are welcome to participate in the early October ride. “We are thrilled to have World T.E.A.M. Sports participate in this year’s ride and welcome all experienced disabled and non-disabled riders,” said Ride Allegheny Commissioner Walt Ellenberger.
Registration fees range from $100 for the one day ride to $225 per participant for the four day ride. Participants are also encouraged to raise $500 or more in sponsorships to benefit Operation Second Chance. Registration deadlines begin August 31.
Ride Allegheny began in October 2001 as an adventuresome challenge between Gaithersburg cyclist Clark Wagner and neighborhood friends. In 2005, the ride directors met Cindy McGrew and learned of her ongoing efforts to assist wounded warriors at Walter Reed Medical Center. As a result of the commitment of Ride Allegheny to fund McGrew’s continuing campaign to assist the disabled, she created Operation Second Chance. In five years, the ride has raised more than $280,000 for the non-profit organization.
Recognizing the value of Ride Allegheny to the mid-Atlantic disabled community, the leadership of World T.E.A.M. Sports has committed to providing assistance to the ride directors in 2011. As an independent event, Ride Allegheny can provide participants of past World T.E.A.M. events with a similar riding experience, and benefit wounded warriors. In 2011, the ride has a goal of raising $150,000 for Operation Second Chance.