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Bikes for Kids in Utah raises $10,000

Derek Parra, sponsors and University of Utah and Brigham Young University cycling enthusiasts helped this non-profit achieve fundraising success with its Dinner Auction and Red vs. Blue Time Trial.

Bikes for Kids Utah, a non-profit 501(C)3 organization that annually provides 1,000 new bicycles to underprivileged Utah children, today announced the combined fundraising efforts of its annual Dinner Auction and time trial event raised $10,000.

"Bikes for Kids Utah had, yet again, a successful year," said Debbie Reid, founder of Bikes for Kids Utah. "Whether it was through donating items for the auction, purchasing seats at the dinner or riding in the time trial up Traverse Ridge, we are so grateful to all the community members who came out and supported our efforts to provide new bikes for Utah children."

The Bikes for Kids Utah Dinner Auction had several items to bid on. Some of the more popular ones were a weekend getaway at Snowbird Resort, dinner and brunch at La Caille, a private bike ride with Eric Heiden and a session of speed skating at the Olympic Oval with Derek Parra.

Parra, the first-ever Mexican American to win a medal in the Olympic Winter Games, spoke at the Dinner Auction about the confidence cycling gave him to pursue skating and the positive influence it can be in the life of a child who has the opportunity to own a bike.

"Whether it is confidence on skates, or confidence on a bike, learning something new gives kids the opportunity to be challenged and have personal success," Parra said after he reflected on the confidence-building experiences he had on his bike as he was riding to his skating training sessions.

Parra continued, "I promised my daughter that I would buy her a new bike as soon as she learned to ride her first bike without the training wheels. The first time she got on that new bike, she rode it from Draper to Taylorsville without falling, a three hour ride. It really hit me that her first cycling experiences are preparing her to live a confident and successful life."

Red vs. Blue Time Trial

To raise funds for Bikes for Kids, close to 80 cycling club and team members, alumni and fans of Brigham Young University (BYU) and the University of Utah (Utah) gathered at Traverse Ridge for a three-mile hill climb time trial with an elevation gain of more than 1,300 feet and 10 percent to 12 percent grades in some locations.

According to Millisecond Sports Timing, which averaged the top 10 speeds of each university's official cyclists, Utah cycling team won the team race with an average time of 18 minutes, 39 seconds. BYU's club followed with an average time of 20 minutes, 13 seconds.

However, when including the schools' fans and alumni in the average, BYU finished the race in 22 minutes, 4 seconds and Utah finished in 22 minutes, 21 seconds.

The Utah cycling team was awarded a $1,000 cash prize to help with its future racing efforts and BYU was awarded the O.C. Tanner Cup for the fastest overall time, including fans.

Michael Romero of the Bad Ass Coffee Co. racing team faced Traverse Road as confidently as he hopes the Bikes for Kids recipients will approach the opportunity to own a bike. "Hello hills!" Romero said to introduce himself to his cycling challenge for the day. "My name is Michael. I'm here to conquer you."

Romero started building his cycling confidence as a child. "I first learned how to ride on a bike that probably cost around 50 bucks," Romero said, "If I can give a kid a new bike, helmet and lock for that same price, I want to donate what I can to make that happen."

The next Bikes for Kids Utah event will be the annual bike giveaway scheduled to take place on May 30, 2009.

(Additional editorial assistance provided by Susan Westemeyer.)

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