Final Countdown for the 9th World Bicycle Relief Charity Challenge

What time is it? It's almost the end of the 9th Annual Charity Challenge for World Bicycle Relief (WBR)! If you're not familiar with my favorite non-profit charity organization, they provide rugged, purpose-built bicycles to those in need, making a huge impact on recipients' ability to travel to school, work, obtain food and water, and generally have a better life. Providing bicycles may seem like a simple mission, but it is simply powerful in providing a leg up for many around the world. Being a professional athlete certainly requires a lot of quot; me quot; time, and this event is one of my favorite ways to turn the tables and bring people together to give back to a very worthwhile cause. The Challenge ends at the end of the year - 11:59:59PM PST on Dec. 31, 2017. All the way until the end, 100% of all donations to WBR will be matched by anonymous donors, meaning whatever we raise this year will be doubled.

Last year, we raised $75,000 for WBR. Our total for the past eight years is north of $500,000 or over 3,400 bicycles! That's a LOT of bikes, and deserves one heck of a pat on the back for everyone that contributed. Our lofty goal for this year is to raise another $60,000 (408 bicycles)!

And we are almost there with over $50,000 raised so far.

To enter the challenge, you can donate online at the URL below. Link: You can also submit donations via traditional mail (make sure to make a note it is for the Rappstar Charity Challenge) at this address:
World Bicycle Relief
Attn: Development
1000 W Fulton Market
4th Floor
Chicago, IL 60607

Donations post-marked before the end of the year will be considered eligible for this year's Challenge.

Award drawing tickets will be assigned automatically from the donations, so please make sure to give us an email or phone number (or both) where we can reach you. 100% of your contributions are tax deductible and will be directed back to World Bicycle Relief. How does the Challenge work? Most of the basics remain the same as in previous years. You can donate ANY amount, but ONLY donations of $147 or more (the cost of one bicycle) will make you eligible to earn some of the great fundraising awards. For every multiple of $147 that you donate, you get another chance at an award. $294 earns you two chances, $441 earns you three, $588 earns you four, etc.

This year we are again making a small tweak to honor those who have stepped up in a big way for us. Donations of 9 bikes ($1,323) or more will get an extra chance (so any donation of $1,323+ gets you one extra chance in honor of the 9th year of the fundraiser) for an award.

The first 100 donors have always gotten something special, and this year is no exception. A huge thank you to my new employer Zwift who has donated 100 gift cards good for 3 *FREE* months of Zwift - a $45 value each. Ride On! Zwift is an amazing supporter of WBR in many ways, and I first came to know about the company through participating in the 2015 Zwiftathon for WBR, their annual 24hr mileage-based fundraiser. Fast forward two years and to now be working for this company that WBR introduced me to, it all seems very appropriate. At the 2017 Zwiftathon - I am sure I saw some of you there!, Zwift raised over $125,000 in just one day. Wow!

There are always some very special items and experiences which are available in much more limited quantities. In most cases, these companies have been supporting this fundraiser since year one, so a huge thank you to them for their generosity not only this year, but also in all the years past.

Specialized Wind Tunnel Experience.

AERO IS EVERYTHING is the mantra that informs a major part of Specialized's product development of not only the bikes they make, but also helmets, wheels, and even shoes. Drag is the single biggest force affecting a cyclist, and since the only way to turn it off is to stop moving completely, eliminating every bit of it is critically important. Specialized's team of aerodynamic experts wield the tools of their trade—Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), on-bike Data Acquisition (DAQ), and wind tunnel testing—with authority. Best of all, with the addition of the Specialized Wind Tunnel, these tools are all here in Morgan Hill, right at their fingertips. Now aerodynamic innovation can happen at greater speed, making riders faster than ever.

THE TEAM driving Specialized to "Innovate or Die" is even more impressive than the facilities that they have supporting them. The tools and science behind aerodynamics is only as good as the people who interpret and apply it. Specialized's aero team is a true aerodynamic tour-de-force. Between them, Chris Yu, Mark Cote, Chris D'Aluisio, and Chuck Teixeira have 50 years of aero experience, with over 20,000 hours in wind tunnels. Their expertise and presence at Specialized is unique, and a key component in continuing to move the science forward for us in new ways. The right team, given convenient access to all the tools—CFD, DAQ, and wind tunnel testing—is a recipe for innovation.

THE WIND TUNNEL Specialized designed and built the Specialized Win Tunnel wind tunnel as they dreamed it—to be the perfect, cycling-specific wind tunnel. It's optimized for real bike speeds and is large enough to allow them to test multiple riders at once, simulating group riding situations. Its proximity to the team enables them to conveniently test things without concern to cost or time, and also gives them the freedom to test everything they make—from a commuting helmet, to apparel, and everything in between. Since it will also be used as an educational facility, there's room for their SBCU classes to observe testing in progress and learn. And, in a rare and special opportunity, one lucky person will have the chance to work with Specialized's aero team in Specialized's tunnel in Morgan Hill to receive the full professional treatment. Tweak your position, test your equipment, or whatever else you desire. The facilities and - most importantly - the expertise are yours for a full, professional athlete experience. Travel to/from Morgan Hill is *NOT* included; you've got to get yourself to there. But once you're there, you will be blown away - both literally and figuratively - with the opportunity in front of you.

NormaTec 2018 Pulse Recovery System

The new NormaTec PULSE system (MSRP $1495) brings everything you love about NormaTec and packs it down into a 3lb unit that includes a built in battery pack for extreme portability. New for the 2018 system is enhanced battery life, improved durability (though mine sure took a beating traveling to races and never missed a beat), and even quieter operation (making nap time in the NormaTec easier), and extended warranty, and a lower price tag. Recover faster. Recover better. Recover anywhere. The PULSE!

I've been working with NormaTec since 2009, and it's been a real privilege to see the evolution of the product and the company first hand. The original NormaTec system was like a monster lunchbox, but it was so impactful, I figured out ways to get it to my races. Since then, NormaTec has constantly been by my side. The new unit means I no longer have to compromise in order to bring my NormaTec to races with me. It packs so small - and is perfectly acceptable in your carry-on luggage - that you can't not bring it.

As NormaTec describes the system, "Recovery is your edge to train harder, and go faster, and the 2018 NormaTec PULSE is the ultimate in recovery. On top of all of the pro-level athlete recovery benefits, the system is totally portable, with a device weight of just 3.6 lbs and world voltage capable power, making it perfect for recovery on-the-go. Reduce pain and soreness, rejuvenate muscles, increase flexibility, and boost circulation with NormaTec's patented recovery massage technology. It feels like heaven after training and races, and will help you make the most out of every workout, giving you fresh legs faster."

First Endurance $9x100 Gift Certificates

First Endurance has been fueling me since 2008, and they also fuel many of the top pros in the sport. Now is your change to get access to that same complete system thanks to a donation of 9 separate $100 First Endurance gift certificates. In the past few years, First Endurance has overhauled two of their most important products with the introduction of the new Multi-V PRO and EFS PRO.

EFS PRO takes First Endurance's class-leading Electrolyte Fuel System and revamps it with a new carbohydrate blend allowing for significantly lower osmolality, giving you more calories in an easier to digest package. It's a double win. "The new EFS-PRO drink mix is an ultra low osmolality, state-of-the-art endurance and hydration formulation that's engineered with the latest innovations and technology to meet the unparalleled requirements of professional athletes. EFS-PRO delivers higher levels of calories, electrolytes and other essential nutrients than other drinks without causing GI distress, even in the most extreme conditions. Plus, it's designed to taste like flavored water so multiple bottles can be consumed easily without the dreaded 'sweetness fatique.' EFS-PRO features a proprietary blend of carbohydrates that has unique benefits for endurance. The primary carbohydrate is a low osmolality amylopectin multi-branched cyclic dextrin that's 100% soluble in water. This means EFS-PRO can be mixed at stronger concentrations than other drinks and still be absorbed quickly and easily."

The new Multi-V PRO takes the best athlete's daily multivitamin and makes it even better with the inclusion of a prebiotic BetaGlucan complex and complete vitamin and mineral support, including iron in an amino acid chelate. MultiV-PRO is a comprehensive multivitamin that's designed to meet the unique requirements of professional endurance athletes, delivering the power of 4 products in one bottle. (1) Provides clinically effective doses of vitamins, minerals and key endurance specific nutrients designed to enhance overall wellness. (2) Features our exclusive Beta Glucan complex with Wellmune®, which has been clinically proven to reduce upper respiratory tract infection symptoms associated with hard training, improve recovery times, and offer unparalleled immune support. (3) Utilizes a proprietary prebiotic/enzyme blend to enhance macro and micronutrient absorption. (4) Includes a clinically effective dose of iron amino acid chelate to maximize aerobic capacity and ensure peak performance. For additional information go to"

These products keep me at my best on and off the race course, and I'm excited to have the chance to share them with nine of you!

Kiwami $509 Gift Certificate

The new Kiwami Spider LD trisuit takes Kiwami's proven fit and combines it with wind-tunnel researched and validated performance for the fastest and most comfortable long-course specific trisuit on the planet. Talking about their suits, Kiwami says, The Spider line is designed to be the pinnacle of triathlon performance wear. Using new innovative materials and technologies, the suit aims at optimally performing in all three disciplines. When the suit was designed there was special attention given to technical integration of compressions throughout the suit to slow down the onset of fatigue. Choose from this or any of Kiwami's other one and two piece tri kits, trail running gear, or cycling apparel. All available with precision vinyl graphic transfer for customization and name placement.

ROKA A.P.E.X. Package

Industry maverick ROKA Sports launched with a splash and has taken the tri world by storm with their incredible wetsuits and swimskins. They've since expanded into eyewear, and we are proud to have an awesome 3-piece special package from their new A.P.E.X. line - Advanced Performance for Extreme Conditions (A.P.EX).

The A.P.EX collection is the ultimate in sports performance optics. Designed for the athlete who requires maximum field of view, protection, and retention. The collection features ultra-lightweight construction without compromising durability, an adjustable titanium core for a customized fit, and advanced materialization with ROKA's patented GEKO™ fit and retention system. ROKA's advanced optics and coatings will outperform the competition in even the most extreme race conditions. Designed by and for those who seek to redefine the standard. One pair each (one single prize package) of SR-1, SL-1 and TL-1.

SRAM Force1 group set

Everything you need. Nothing you don't. For you, advancement means having everything you need. And nothing you don't. This is SRAM Force 1 in a nimble nutshell. Innovative, responsive, race ready. Last year's game-changing upgrade for cyclocross has expanded to triathlon, criterium, and other 700c disciplines, paved and beyond pavement. With a host of drivetrain options, all featuring SRAM 1x™ technologies, and the broadest assortment of braking options available today, SRAM Force 1 is quietly simplifying the experience.

I've been training and racing on 1X for three years now on all my bikes - road, tri, and gravel - and I don't even know what a front derailleur does anymore let alone how to use one. 1X has changed my riding experience more profoundly than any technology I can imagine and in ways that I never expected. It's just simpler. And more fun.

Zipp 302 wheel set

This bulletproof wheelset is the BUFFALO bike of wheels. I've flogged and abused the pair I was given for testing, and they still look like new. This wheelset redefines the do it all wheel. Climbs and corners like a rocket, but rugged enough for gravel or cross or anything else you want to throw at it. All in an awesome Made-In-USA package!

Quarq DZero aluminum power meter

Quarq's next-generation power meter platform, DZero, is named for the DZero Experiment, one of science's most accurate and innovative projects to detect subatomic particles moving at the speed of light. DZero combines 10 years of accumulated Quarq advances with new features and a simplified product line. With a new measurement circuit, a revised strain gauge design, improved accuracy throughout the pedal stroke and software advances built into the Qalvin App, DZero represents the state of the art in power meter technology. DZero power meters inherit 10K temperature compensation, easy-to-replace batteries, OmniCal (change chainrings without affecting accuracy), AxCad (accelerometer cadence – no magnet), an IPX7 waterproof rating and a 2-year-warranty.

Please share. Please donate. You can change the world through the Power of Bicycles!