Dirk Hollebeek, a resident of Gallup, New Mexico with his wife and three children, has won the BMC-Cyclingnews Giro d'Italia sweepstakes. Hollebeek will receive a BMC SLC01 Pro Machine road bike frame valued at $2,999 USD - the same frame ridden by the riders on the US-based BMC Racing Team - as well as an Assos-made BMC team jersey, cap and socks valued at $219 USD.
Hollebeek, a middle school counselor, regularly takes part in local cycling events. "I participate in as many local races and benefit rides as I can both on the road and the trail. Last year a group of us participated in the Tour of the Gila together and we hope to do that again next year as well. There is a healthy biking community in the Gallup area and the road and mountain biking is superb with the red rock landscape and national forests."
Due to health conditions, cycling has been an important part of Hollebeek's life. He was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis at the age of two and soon found that non-weight bearing sports would be beneficial. "I decided to give swimming and cycling a try. I swam for years but once high school was over, I hung up the goggles and turned more of my attention to turning pedals.
"I found that cycling for me has gone well beyond just the exhilaration that good rides provide. Through biking I have kept my weight low, my body strong and joints limber which have all allowed me to manage my arthritis better than most who have the disease for over thirty years."
Seven years ago Hollebeek suffered a traumatic brain injury and road cycling proved to be a panacea. "I had to learn to pronounce words correctly, read and generally communicate again. A number of those symptoms returned last summer when I suffered a concussion in a mountain bike crash. The only remedy? Road biking.
"My thinking routinely became clear and my speech easier to understand after an hour plus ride. It was like a switch got flipped on in my head and things worked again. Having a doctor’s note to go riding is one sweet excuse."
Besides participating in cycling, Hollebeek is a fan of the sport at the professional level. "I love watching the pro races and the drama as it unfolds on the asphalt. While the Grand Tours are certainly my favorites, the Classics and even domestic races like the Tour of California are really fun, too."
Congratulations to Dirk, and thanks to all of you who took the time to enter the contest!