With hearts full of love and bodies full of carbs, Barracuda employees took to the streets to compete in the recent Challenged Athletes Foundation Back to Back NorCal Cycling Challenge (CAF NorCal).
The Challenged Athletes Foundation, or CAF, may sound familiar to this audience. The Barracuda team competes every year in the Christmas Coma, a Barracuda fundraiser for the CAF. Michael Hughes, our SVP Worldwide Sales and Christmas Coma organizer, led the CAF NorCal festivities and served as event chair.
The Challenged Athletes Foundation provides opportunities and support to people with physical challenges. CAF believes that involvement in sports at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence, and enhances quality of life. To that end, they organize activities around the goal of helping their constituents pursue active lifestyles through physical fitness and competitive athletics. They are one of our favorite organizations, and in addition to the Christmas Coma and the NorCal, we have also sponsored their Million Dollar Challenge for the last four years.
The CAF NorCal took place over three days, along this route:
- Day 1 from San Francisco to Sonoma with an 87 mile route and a 118 mile route
- Day 2 a 55 or 75 mile ride in Sonoma and Napa with a spectacular brunch/lunch stop at Silver Oak winery
- Day 3 ride back through Sonoma to San Francisco, an 85 mile route
Barracuda sponsored the event and our riders raised thousands more, bringing our contribution to about $30,000. Inside Channel Representative Mauricio Astacio served as a Ride Leader, which means he assisted other riders in the event. NorCal Ride Leaders guide others to make sure no one is getting lost or being left behind along the route. They also assist in the event of a mechanical issue until a support vehicle can arrive, and they triage any potential medical emergency. This was Mauricio's second year as a Ride Leader.
The event was definitely a physical challenge, and it brought out the best in the riders:
As someone who only rides casually [30-50 miles/week], this was the most challenging event I’ve ever experienced. It was great to have so many contributors of all ages and fitness levels get out there and do their best as well. Every push on the pedal in the scorching heat, up every never-ending hill; was for every athlete who could not do the same thing. That was the shared mentality among all riders.
Riders included former firefighter Sean Simonson and former pro-surfer Christiaan Bailey. Sean and Christiaan competed in the event and took the time to speak to the riders each night. By sharing their experiences as challenged athletes, Sean and Christiaan enriched the experience for everyone.
The CAF NorCal was a great success, with 85 riders raising approximately $440,000 for the Challenged Athletes Foundation.
If you'd like to learn more about the Challenged Athletes Foundation, visit their website here.