The ride was a great success with 400 registered cyclists and over $125,000 raised to support FARA's mission- to treat and cure FA through research advancement. All of the routes were very tough but I know everyone proved something to themselves through participation i n this ride. Thirty of our FA families joined us on bikes and trikes, volunteering at tricky turns, and cheering along the route- marking the day as one of camaraderie and personal triumph. FARA is grateful to Outback Steakhouse for helping us to make Ride Ataxia a truly great event. In addition to Outback's support in ride planning, Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's Italian Grill, and Bonefish Grill generously donated their time, talent and food to treat participants and guests to a first rate meal following the ride.
The weekend started with pre-registration at Outback Steakhouse where we all gathered and participants could pick up their registration packets so they would not have to find a place for all the great stuff from the bags during the morning of the ride!
That night a group of us gathered to honor Mary Brown and Blair Desaw for the 2010 FARA Friend and Ally Award. Blair handles all the web maintenance for curefa.org and rideataxia.org. Mary is the administrator of our Facebook page. Both peeople spend countless hours making sure FARA communicates well with our community and with the general public. It will take a community to cure this disease and these two are playing a key role in creating that community!
Ride day started early before the sun came up as we set up the park and drove the course to make sure our directional markings were accurate. It was freezing cold that morning!
It started warming up a bit and registration was smooth and orderly as people started showing up and everyone got suited up and ready for a great ride.
The 50 mile ride took off at around 830am with a huge crowd of cyclists.
The 25 miler took off at 915am and the 10 miler left at around 10am. All of the routes were very difficult with nonstop hills which challenged every single participant. There were several hand cycles and trikes on the road which were propelled by the bodies and hearts of Ataxian Athletes one of which was Sam Bode who trained for months to be able to complete this ride alongside her many friends and supporters.
One of the other Ataxian Athletes was Nick Carbone who was riding his new Top End Force handcycle that he received through FARA's 2010 Ataxian Athlete Initiative (AAI).
After the ride, all of the 400 participants enjoyed a huge spread from three of the best restaurants in the business. Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's Italian Grill, and Bonefish Grill were there to spoil us with tasty treats after a tough ride.
The afternoon also included something for everyone with race cars, fire engines, clowns, face painting and massage therapy.
Everyone had an incredible time and we raised a lot of money for an important cause. Below is a little about that cause. We hope to see you next year!
Once again, thank You to our generous sponsors!
Presenting Sponsor: Outback Steakhouse
Headline Sponsors: Carrabba's Italian Grill and Bonefish
Rest Stop Sponsors: Hank's Beverages, Allied Beverage,
F&F Mechanical, and Sunbelt Coastal Produce.
Special thanks to Bikesport, Tri-County Bikes and Spinners for event SAG
Since FARA's incorporation in 1998, participation in events like Ride Ataxia have supported research resulting in the fundamental understanding of what causes Friedreich's ataxia. While the development of treatments is a labor intensive and costly process, FARA prides itself on facilitating this important work with strategic funding and collaboration. Specifically, FARA has awarded 8 research grants from Ride Ataxia fundraising over the past 4 years, totaling $960,000 in funding for research. All of these grants have supported research with a direct link to advancing treatments; testing drugs in the laboratory, developing cell models that allow us to discover and test new compounds, clinical research such as testing and validating new biomarkers and clinical measures and trials. The two most recent grants were just awarded this month. One is for a clinical trial, a pilot study of a drug that has shown encouraging results in laboratory tests, and the other is for the development of a high throughput screening assay that is needed to discover new drugs in the fight against Friedreich's ataxia.