The best ride is a safe ride, where riders stay together, communicate hazards, follow rules of the road, and arrive at the finish line with everyone intact! The Ride For Roswell is conducted on open roads where riders share the way with cars and vehicles. Only a very few brief lane closures are in place to aid traffic control, but all roads are open. It is easy to get the feeling that the cyclist is in a protected zone, because the start lines and lanes at UB are closed and traffic is tightly controlled by Amherst Police.
It is easy to feel like the right lane on JJ Audubon Parkway is for bikes only – but it’s not! This section of road, before you make your first big turn on Dodge Road, is the perfect place to start following safe cycling. Before Ride Day, review these safety tips with your family and team, and practice them on your Pre Ride training rides.
The Ride is a ride — not a timed or sanctioned race. High-traffic intersections along The Ride’s routes are managed by local fire police or by town, county or state police. In addition, volunteer Route Guides are located at many turns, intersections and gates. Their job is to cheer you on and give directions — they are NOT authorized to control vehicular traffic. For your safety, please maintain a comfortable rate of speed while complying with standard traffic laws and with the instructions that are given.
A “gate” is an intersection chosen to serve as a short cut for riders who do not “make the gate” by a certain time. If you are “late to the gate”, you must take the short cut in order to finish The Ride by a safe time.
Areas where routes converge are neutral zones, where it’s important to adjust speed to traffic congestion. Each route has gates that close at specific times, after which riders will be diverted to a shorter route for safety reasons. All routes starting at the University at Buffalo are round-trip loops, and the shortcuts are marked in large blue and white signs. Feel free to divert and take the shorter route if you become too tired to continue. You do not need special permission to divert to a shorter route.
Ride to the right unless passing a slower cyclist. Always pass on the left, never on the right. Call out “on your left!” and use your bell as you approach and pass.
Don’t ride more than two abreast. Traveling in groups of more than two riders side by side makes it difficult for both cars and other riders to pass safely.
Obey all traffic signals, devices and signs. Follow directions given by law enforcement and fire safety personnel, Route Guides, Riding Marshals and other Ride volunteers. Slow down in neutral zones where routes merge.
Use verbal commands and hand signals. Most bike accidents occur when two or more bikes collide, usually caused when one rider isn’t paying attention. Use loud and clear communication! Declare your intentions by using hand signals to alert drivers and riders when you turn, slow or stop. Common verbal alerts to conditions and hazards include:
- “Car Back” or “Car Up” (there is a car coming from behind or approaching)
- “On Your Left / Right” (I am passing on your left or your right)
- “Turning” “Stopping” “Slowing”
- “Glass” “Rough Road” “Hole, etc. (There is debris or a rough spot in the road)
Practice your safety before The Ride, and before you know it, you’ll be calling out “On Your Left” at home and even in the supermarket!
We’re excited to announce the new RosRoll route for the 2017 Ride For Roswell. Our Operations & Logistics manager, Tom, gives you an inside look into this new route:
The 14 Mile RosRoll will start and finish at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, creating a new Finish Line for the first time ever in Ride history. RosRoll is a partnership with Slow Roll Buffalo, the cycling phenomenon that takes to Buffalo streets every Monday night, May through October. Slow Roll Buffalo is a series of community bike rides sponsored by Independent Health and Go Bike Buffalo.
The RosRoll will blend the fun and community aspects of Slow Roll with the cause and mission of The Ride For Roswell. Five hundred riders will ride together, escorted by Buffalo Police parade detail and a contingent of Slow Roll Buffalo volunteer riders. The RosRoll will ride past iconic Buffalo landmarks in the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Olmsted Parks System, the Central Terminal, and Larkinville.
The RosRoll is perfect for all levels of cycling experience, and for families with children. The riding pace is 8 – 10 miles per hour, and the whole group stays together to see the community, not to ride fast. Buffalo Police officers control traffic at all intersections, and Slow Roll Buffalo #squad volunteers ride along as riding marshals and bike mechanics to provide a fully supported bike riding experience without the worry of city traffic. Slow Roll Buffalo routinely conducts rides of 1000+ riders, so keeping the RosRoll at a cap of 500 registered fundraising riders will ensure maximum riding fun for all.
The RosRoll starts at 8:30 am, after the Canada routes have started, at Roswell Park’s Kaminski Park. The riders will experience a moving send-off with a tribute to Roswell patients, staff, and volunteers.
Newly Announced: We will roll back to Roswell Park around 11:30 a.m. for a 60’s – themed after party with lunch, music, and celebration, hosted by Team Roswell’s Love Fest group. Convenient free downtown parking on Ellicott Street is included.
In 2016, 657 teams took part in The Ride For Roswell, raising $3.7 million. WOW! Being a part of a team might seem like a lot of work, but the truth is, it’s not! Here’s what it takes:
You + one other person = a team.
It’s that simple! Your team can have as many people as you would like, as long as one person is designated as the Team Captain. If you have never been a team captain for The Ride For Roswell before, check out the Team Captains page for tips, tools and the Team Captain Action Plan to building a successful team. You can also join our Team Captains Facebook Group to connect with other Team Captains and stay up-to-date with the latest Team Captain information.
Once your team is registered, returning for the next year will be a piece of cake. During registration, Team Captains are presented with the option to reactive their team, which automatically transfers over a team’s page content, contacts, and emails from the year past!
There are several perks to having a team at The Ride. Teams have the option to reserve a team tent in Ride City to serve as a central gathering place on Ride Day, and can also participate in the Best Team T-shirt and Best Team Tent contests! Team Captains (and Extra Mile Club members) will also receive an invitation to the annual Above & Beyond Celebration held in the fall, where the Top 100 teams are presented with a personalized plaque.
For team-related questions, please contact Allison Polakiewicz at Allison.Polakiewicz@RoswellPark.org or (716) 845-8846. We look forward to seeing you and your team at The Ride!
Val Grigoriou, a “mostly-retired” bike mechanic who has since turned to the exciting world of software development, spent many years sharpening her skills at Campus WheelWorks, Trophy Bikes (Philadelphia) and Mountain Sports Outlet/Bicycle Village (Colorado). She founded a local women’s mountain bike club, is currently a member of Nickel City Cycles women’s development race team and races track, road and mountain bikes. She hosts events and maintenance classes on behalf of Campus WheelWorks, and has supported The Ride For Roswell for several years.
We all get involved with The Ride For Roswell for different reasons. Whether this is your first year riding or you’ve been a veteran of The Ride for years, some pre-ride preparation will take you a long way and ensure you have the best ride experience you can have.
1. Dust off the bike and visit your favorite bike shop, well in advance of The Ride.
If you take no other advice from this little blog, take away this piece! We are SO lucky in Western New York to have so many quality bike shops to choose from. Take your bike to any of the fine establishments in our community at least a few weeks before The Ride and have them conduct a safety inspection. Safe and properly working gear is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your Ride experience. Going weeks ahead of The Ride will ensure that even if the shop of your choice is backlogged with repairs and service during this, their peak season, you’ll have enough time to do any necessary repairs or work to your bike.
This rule is true for everyone. You may be thinking, “But I only ride a couple times a year and my bike just sits in the garage untouched the rest of the time, it’ll be fine.” This isn’t necessarily true — even “just sitting” bikes are still exposed to a lot of abuse from weather, temperature and humidity changes. Chains can rust, tires can crack – all from “just sitting.” It’s best to have someone take a look. Or maybe you’re a weekend cycling warrior and regularly pull 200 miles or more per week on your own and can’t bear to be without your bicycle for more than a few minutes. You’re ignoring that creaky noise because “It’s been going on for a few weeks, what’s the harm in a couple more?” Schedule an appointment with your favorite shop to minimize the time your bike needs to be away from your side. Maybe walk around and grab some coffee or lunch while they do they work that needs to be done, or stalk Strava segments in preparation for when your bicycle is back in your loving embrace. Better that than having that creak you’re ignoring turn into something bigger and more catastrophic on mile 72 of the Century route.
2. Flat tires are the most common mechanical issue on The Ride. Buy flat-fixing supplies.
While you’re at the bike shop getting your safety inspection, pick up an inner tube in the correct size for your bike. (The size is written on the side of your tire, much like the way it is on car tires and will most commonly start with 24, 26, 27, 29, 650, or 700 for adult size bikes.) Or, the staff at the bike shop can guide you to which size you need if your bike or wheel are present. If you want to go above and beyond, you can pick up a small pump, tire levers and a way to carry these items. Even if you don’t know how to fix a flat, if you have all the tools to fix it, chances are another passing rider or a support vehicle who do know how to fix the flat will pass you. If you’re prepared for what your bike needs, they will be better able to help you out and get you rolling again. Don’t forget, you can also call in to Ride support for help.
3. Do a personal safety and comfort check.
Helmets are required for The Ride. Period. Make sure yours is safe and fits well. If you’re unsure, bring it with you when you take your bicycle for its safety inspection.
If you don’t already own a helmet, you don’t have to spend a ton of money on one. However, buying a helmet that fits well, that you find aesthetically pleasing and gives you the right amount of comfort and breathability means it’s more likely that you will wear this helmet again and that is what’s most important. Think of all that time and money you spent educating your brain — that’s a pretty crucial investment in there, and it’s best to protect that investment with a helmet. Its simple economics.
Gloves and cycling-specific clothing can also greatly enhance your Ride experience. At the very least, wear something that you would consider wearing to the gym. Remember, it’s going to be the end of June and our summers are hot and humid. No one wants to be sitting in sweaty cotton on a day like that. Bicycle shorts are 100% worth the investment. The combination of padding and breathability makes a huge difference for your ride quality.
Finally, ask the bike shop staff questions. Trust me, they’ve heard it all and there are absolutely no dumb questions. Wonder why your seat feels like a medieval torture device? Do you start sweating like a barn animal the second you even look at your bike? Need to find a jersey that matches your shoes? Ask! They are there to help!
4. Attend pre-Ride events.
There is no better way to get excited and feel like the important part of this community that you are than attending the pre-Ride events. Not only can you rub elbows with other riders, but you’ll learn something about The Ride at each event that will help you on the day of. Maybe you’ll even meet someone doing the same route and you’ll make a new friend you can ride with that day.
5. Train for your Ride.
Training doesn’t have to be a scary, intimidating thing. Like most other things in life, training is a wide spectrum. The nice thing about training is that it lets you know your limits. With a little personal insight, you’ll make better choices on the day of your ride.
Let’s say you’re doing the 10-mile route with your kids and family. What better excuse to get everyone outside on a lovely May afternoon than to go for a similar length family bike ride? Warm air, bike paths, maybe a stop for ice cream? Even a ride that simple and leisurely will give you some quick insights. Maybe your 8-year-old gets cranky around mile 5 and you need to pull over to take a break before that happens. Maybe your 10-year-old is so fast they’re a shoo-in for the Tour de France in a few years and you need to reel them in somehow. Getting out before the big event can give you all this insight — not to mention it can be fun and a great way to get outside and make some memories.
On the flip side, maybe you’ve set a goal to do 20 or 60 or 100 miles during The Ride. It’s smart to try and work your way up to these distances. Start small, give yourself some reasonable goals and make mental or actual notes on how each ride felt. Did you have enough water? Did you have enough food? Did you have fun? Listen to your body, you know it better than anyone. There are also many training rides put on by shops, clubs or other Ride For Roswell riders that you can join in on.
6. Consider attending a bike maintenance class.
You’ve taken your bike to a shop, you’ve bought a replacement tube and maybe some tools but you’re thinking, “Man, I’d sure love to know how to do this on my own!” Being prepared gives you the confidence to go longer distances. It can also make you someone else’s knight in shining armor…err… Lycra™ on the day of The Ride as you pull over to gallantly help them with their metal steed. Check with GoBike Buffalo, Campus WheelWorks or other shops to see what classes they are offering. (Some are free!)
7. Prepare your necessities the night before.
The night before, lay out all your clothing, route maps, water bottles, snacks, helmet, cell phone, extra tube or flat fixing supplies and any other Ride-pertinent documents or other items you personally need to make it through the day. This will save you some stress in the morning and ensure you don’t forget something import.
8. Stretch, breathe, check your tire pressure & relax.
Once you have arrived at The Ride, take a few minutes after you check in to stretch. It will “wake up” your muscles and keep them loose. Take some deep breaths and try to relax. The less tense you are before The Ride, the better your ride will feel. Finally, do a quick tire pressure check. This simple gesture will make your Ride more efficient and can even help prevent certain types of flats. There are designated locations to do this with volunteers from local shops willing to help you pump up your tires before you go.
9. Drink water. Eat snacks.
Now that you’ve done all this prep work, make sure you keep yourself hydrated and fed throughout The Ride. Cycling burns quite a bit of calories, so it’s best to keep some healthy snacks (I prefer dehydrated dates or other fruit, and sometimes an energy bar or gel) with you and remember to eat small bites before you start to feel tired. Drink water often and fill up at each rest stop.
10. HAVE FUN!
The most important part about this Ride is that you are there to support this incredible organization. Maybe you know someone who has fought cancer or maybe you’re just a supportive community member — but the real focus of this Ride is to raise support for Roswell Park and to have some fun doing it.
The Ride For Roswell will be here before you know it and there are still hundreds of volunteer positions to be filled. We hope you will consider signing up, and asking your family, friends and colleagues to join you.
Click here to sign up to volunteer today!
There are many assignments for volunteers and there is sure to be one that fits your skills and schedule. Here are just a few of the openings:
Volunteers are needed at the start line at Roswell Park from 4:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 24 to check riders in and cheer them on. We’re also looking for parking and route guide assistance, especially volunteers who are familiar with downtown and can help direct riders from the Trico lot to check-in at RPCI.
Parking & Traffic
Riders, family and friends need courteous and knowledgeable parking and traffic direction. This volunteer assignment is vital to helping the event run on time. Shifts are available at UB North Campus Friday, June 23 during the Celebration of Hope and early Saturday morning.
Route guides are needed Saturday in three to five hour shifts, from early morning until early afternoon. You’ll direct riders at turns and intersections, watch out for rider safety, and cheer on participants. You can volunteer with a friend, and you may be able to be a route guide near your home.
Courtney Walczak is an experienced rider who will be riding the 65.6 mile route at this year’s Ride with team LocalEdge. Like so many in Western New York, Courtney has a cancer connection, and her family is grateful for the care and compassion her uncle experienced while he was a patient at Roswell Park. In her spare time, Courtney volunteers as a member of the Slow Roll Buffalo Squad, supporting riders with mechanical fixes and safety education.
Courtney shares her tips for hill climbing, and the concepts she describes are the same for the Delaware Park Ring Road and the Onondaga Escarpment!
Conquering Hills – The Basics:
- Keep your eyes on the road so you can spot the hill approaching in plenty of time.
- When approaching the hill, start gearing down — doing this ahead of time means you will have fewer gears to drop when the hill starts.
- When you’re on the hill, continue to drop gears as needed. Try to drop through the gears one at a time, as dropping several at once can sometimes cause the chain to drop off the gears completely. For extra power, you may want to stand as you pedal up that hill.
How To Change Gears – Review:
Click here to review the basics of changing gears. You should find this extremely helpful for hill climbing, and for maintaining a safe and efficient ride, whether it’s to the corner store or to Lake Ontario.
Hosting a team fundraiser in June? Planning post-training ride drinks with your teammates? Now through the end of the month, 25 cents from every case of all Labatt products sold at participating retailers, including Tops Friendly Markets, NOCO Express, and Anchor Bar locations, will be donated to The Ride For Roswell.
This post was submitted by Justine Jopp, Ride Volunteer Emeritus and Extra Mile Club Member. Justine is both an avid cyclist and shopper that embraces every undertaking with a sense of ownership, zeal, and enthusiasm. Not only have you seen her out on the routes planning, supporting and encouraging riders — you’ll also see her around town wearing orange and riding her orange bike supporting The Ride For Roswell.
After winter in Buffalo, any sunny day above 40 usually gets everyone thinking about spring. And in my house, it usually means thoughts turn to biking.
I do the preliminary checks on bike tires and air pressure; chain and brake condition; and making sure my seat pack has sun block, spare air, patch kit, tire levers, and — in my case — lipstick. Any true maintenance needs, I let the professionals hook me up and take my bike right to my favorite bike shop.
My next thoughts turn to what to wear. Because each season and weather condition differs, I’ve invested in quite the wardrobe. I’ve got padded cycling shorts to protect the privates; a wicking undershirt; a jersey; long-sleeved, cool-weather jacket; a windstopper jacket, balaclava; cycling gloves; shoes; and helmet. And it all comes in orange, my favorite color!
But not everyone needs all of this.
If you’re a casual rider and you ride around your neighborhood or go a few miles along the bike path, comfortable shorts and a shirt are just fine — skipping flip flops for sure.
Before heading out, be smart and take a look at the weather forecast.
Always wear sunscreen and a helmet. Wear a light jacket in cooler weather and while cotton is okay for a short jaunt, cotton is rotten in the rain. A good waterproof jacket will keep your torso dry and help regulate your body temp. GoreTex is the best material and it is both waterproof and breathable.
For the more traveled cyclist, you’re going to want to invest in those padded shorts. Cycling shorts are designed to make your ride more comfy and to protect you from irritation and chafing. Because they have bacteria-fighting liners and flat seams, it’s recommended to skip the skivvies. Your shorts should fit like a glove.
Your hands will thank you for protecting them with cycling gloves. The constant friction of the handlebars moving against the skin on your hands –especially when they’re damp — can cause blisters. Gloves also can improve your grip on the handlebars and provide warmth and wind protection in cold weather.
And you’ll probably be more comfortable with a moisture-wicking shirt and jersey. Cycling jerseys are designed for sweating in and are designed to stay put when a rider leans forward. Biking jerseys come with pockets in the back where you can store all sorts of things: a snack, banana, light repair items, maps, money, ID or even lipstick.
Feel free to start small, adding apparel one piece at a time until you feel comfortable biking in all weather conditions. And of course, have fun with the many colors and designs offered. Who knows, The Ride For Roswell EMC jersey alone might motivate you to become a top fundraiser — just for the wardrobe start!
Mark Pietz is a US Army Veteran who has competed in multiple Olympic-distance and Long-Course Triathlons (Half and Full Ironman), as well as other stand-alone swimming, biking, and running endurance events. He is a Ride For Roswell rider, volunteer, and committee member who is proud to be a 10-year (and still counting) member of the Extra Mile Club.
As I’m writing this, the signs that spring has sprung are all around; the snow has melted, kids are playing outside, my lawn and landscape both need a lot of work, and most important, The Ride For Roswell is fast approaching! If you have already signed up for The Ride, you know which route you’ll be riding. If you haven’t signed up yet, you might be wondering which route is right for you. Either way, by now you should be thinking about how you’re going to train for that route. We want everyone to have fun and be safe on Ride Day. Part of that includes you, the rider, making it to the finish line feeling great. The question is, what should you do between now and Ride Day to get ready?
Whether this is your first or twenty-first Ride For Roswell, you’ll definitely want to train for The Ride. How much training you need to do depends on the route you plan to ride and your level of fitness right now. Equipment (i.e. your bike) also plays a big part in the equation. The most important piece of equipment is the engine used to power that bike – you! It’s time to get moving and get that engine ready to go.
At a high level, the answer to “How do I get ready to ride X number of miles by Ride Day?” is to gradually work up to it. Your options for riding in spring weather conditions are to buy weather-appropriate gear and ride outside or to ride indoors on a stationary bike (or with your own bike on a trainer). In addition to riding, its always a good idea to include some form of cross-training. Activities such as strength training, walking, running, hiking, swimming, rowing or using an elliptical machine are all great cross-training exercises. A weekly training plan should include ride days, cross-training days, and rest days.
For the purpose of this article I’m going to break the fourteen Ride For Roswell routes into three general categories; Short (3-20 miles), Medium (30-45 miles), and Long (65 and 102 miles). I’m also going to assume that you have twelve weeks to train (starting on or around April 1). If you’re starting later than that and have less time you should adjust as best as possible. This is only a guide. Any training plan that you start should be based on your level of fitness and possibly an approval from your doctor. Every plan and route distance will have one thing in common — you only need to train for 75% of your distance by Week 11. You should be able to build up enough fitness by training for that 75% over eleven weeks to complete the entire distance on Ride Day without a problem. For the distances up to 45 miles you can ride the entire distance prior to Ride Day if your fitness and training allow for it. For the 65 and 102 mile routes anything over 75-80% could build up excess fatigue prior to Ride Day.
Short Distance Plan
The Short Distance Plan includes the 3, 10, 12 (Peloton), and 20-mile routes. This is the easiest plan to train for and gives you a lot of flexibility. There isn’t a lot of structure to this plan. The key is to try to get out and ride 2-3 times a week and gradually build up to your goal time. Knowing your pace helps. If you generally ride at 10 mph and you plan on riding the 20-mile route you should build up your weekend ride to 90-120 minutes. Start off easy and ride for 30 minutes a day 2-3 times a week. Gradually build up your weekend ride (or rides) to 45 minutes, then 60 minutes, and then 90-120 minutes. Use these numbers as a baseline and adjust for your pace and distance accordingly. If you need help determining your pace and distance (most people tend to underestimate both) you can buy an inexpensive cycling computer for your bike to track speed and distance or you can download GPS-enabled apps to your phone that track both.
Medium Distance Plan
The Medium Distance Plan includes the 30, 34, 44, and 45-mile routes. These routes require more planning than the Short Distance routes but you have plenty of time to get ready for them. When planning and training for these routes, you should be able to track your speed and distance with a cycling computer or smart-phone app. If you average 10 mph and plan on riding 45 miles you need to train for 4.5 hours in the saddle. On the other hand, if you ride at a 15 mph pace, that same 45-mile ride should only take 3 hours. This is a big factor in determining how much time you need to spend training, not how many miles.
For the 30-45 mile routes I recommend 3-4 days of riding. One day (usually on the weekend) is going to be your “Long” ride. This ride might start at 45-60 minutes and will gradually build to be 75% of your goal miles by Week 11. Your other 2-3 rides during the week will probably start in the 30-45 minute range and gradually build to 45-60 or 60-90 minutes each, depending on the amount of time you have and the distance that you are riding on Ride Day. Use one of these mid-week rides each week to challenge yourself to some intervals by breaking up the ride with some short sprints. Warm up for 10-15 minutes with some easy riding and then sprint for 15 second sprints with a full 1-2 minutes of easy “recovery” riding in between. Start off with 3-4 reps of this and gradually build up to 5-6 reps at 30 seconds. These intervals will increase your speed and overall fitness.
Long Distance Plan
Are you ready to jump up and tackle one of the two “milestone” cycling distances? The Metric Century (100 kilometers) and the Century Ride (100 miles) are two rides that require planning and commitment. Finishing The Ride For Roswell 65-mile or 102-mile routes will allow you to cross one of these off your bucket list, but you absolutely need to train for both.
Due to the fact that both of these routes require a full article’s worth of planning my first recommendation is to search on Google for a training plan. Bicycling Magazine has plans for both of these distances on their website, but they are not the only ones. Spend some time looking at 8, 10, or 12-week plans and pick the one that is best for you based on your current level of fitness. Most of these plans will have similar characteristics; 1 “speed” day, 1 “endurance” day, 1 “long” day, as well as 1 “active recovery” ride, and the option for another ride or cross-training day. A “rest” day is key for this plan. If you can plan an easy “active recovery” ride (i.e. short ride, 30-45 minutes, light, easy “spinning” gears) the day after your long ride and then a full day of recovery after that, your body will be better prepared for the following week’s training.
Based on experience, my personal recommendation for either of these long routes is to make sure you practice your nutrition strategy ahead of time. You will need to figure out what you can eat in the morning and then along the route in the weeks leading up to Ride Day. Practice this each week as part of your Long ride. Avoid heavy foods that don’t digest well. Whatever breakfast you eat won’t fuel your whole ride. You’ll need to eat and drink along the way in order to avoid the dreaded “bonk”. Try different energy bars, gels, and drinks to determine what fuels and hydrates you without causing GI issues. Trust me, you do not want to wait until Ride Day to find out that the gel you’re using for the first time doesn’t agree with you. Try different options ahead of time and stick with what works. Fortunately, there are rest stops along the route where you can fill up on water and other snacks. Carrying your own personal choice of nutrition is a safe bet on the long routes though.
If you follow one of these plans, I’m confident that you will cross the finish line with a smile on your face. Good luck with your training and thank you for supporting The Ride For Roswell!
When three Grand Island freshmen were looking for a new, innovative idea for a community service project, they found inspiration in The Ride For Roswell and their own personal experiences with cancer.
Faith Gworek, Gianna Horvath and Celia Jones are members of the Grand Island High School chapter of DECA, which prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. DECA hosts competitive events across the country, where students present new concepts and their marketing plans.
This year, Faith, Gianna and Celia decided to enter the “community service project” division of DECA. Motivated by Faith’s younger brother, Luke, who was diagnosed with leukemia in 2013 and their own participation in The Ride, the students came up with their own take on the event — the Mini Ride For Roswell.
As part of the event, which raises funds for Roswell Park, students and teachers compete in a tricycle race and are challenged to beat each other’s times.
“The girls really brainstormed what they could do to make their idea different and decided to bring in their own personal connection into it,” said Cheryl Chamberlain, DECA advisor.
Faith, Gianna and Celia developed a 30-page business plan and the first Mini Ride For Roswell tricycle race at their middle school’s family fun night, which raised $500. They hope to bring the Mini Ride to other schools.
“Our target is middle schools. We really want to get the word out about The Ride and Roswell Park, and help raise more money,” said Jones.
The students took their plan to the state DECA competition, placing second, and will head to nationals in Nashville later this month. Faith, Gianna and Celia are the first freshman at Grand Island High School to qualify for nationals — and the first team ever to earn a bid at the National DECA competition for a community service project.
“The judges listened to their presentation and thought they were seniors,” said Chamberlain. “It’s a project they are really passionate about, and it shows.”
If you are interested in supporting the team’s travel expenses to DECA Nationals, you can donate via their GoFundMe page.