Rappstar’s 8th Annual World Bicycle Relief Charity Challenge

What time is it? It’s time 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 - Dec. 31, 2016. Throughout the months of November and December, 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 well over $70,000 for WBR. Our total for the past seven years is over $450,000, or over 3,000 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)!

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

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. This year, donations of 8 bikes ($1,176) or more will get an extra chance (so any donation of $1,176+ gets you one extra chance in honor of the 8th year of the fundraiser) for an award.

The first 100 donors have always gotten something special, and this year is no exception. We are doing a limited run of 100 of BOCO's awesome technical headbands. As with the past, it will be a custom design commemorating World Bicycle Relief and the 2016 Charity Challenge. Anyone who donates $147 or more will receive one of these.

Now onto the limited offerings. As you will see below, many of my sponsors and other supporters have been VERY generous in donating several awards for the challenge. The basic way the awards work remains the same, though. The challenge awards will be done electronically, on a roll-down system. The first winner will get first pick of awards, second place gets second choice, etc.

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 Pulse Recovery System

The new NormaTec PULSE system (MSRP $1595) brings everything you love about NormaTec and packs it down into a 3lb unit that includes a built in battery pack for extreme portability. Recover faster. Recover better. Recover anywhere. The PULSE was introduced to the world at the Ironman World Championships in Kona this year, though after getting a sneak peak earlier in the year, I was almost as excited to get my own unit as I was to get one to give away here. 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, "The PULSE Leg Recovery System is our most popular and most essential package for athletes at all levels. It comes with everything you need to get started. No matter what your sport, your power probably comes from your legs, so keeping them fresh is essential for victory. Having a total package weight of just 11.5 lbs means that you can take this package with you and recover anywhere." And let me reiterate, that tiny package includes a built in battery that powers the unit for well over an hour, giving you plenty of time for recovery wherever you choose.

First Endurance $888 Pro Package

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 an $888 First Endurance gift certificate, enough to fuel you like a pro in the lead up to your biggest race of the season. In the past two 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 firstendurance.com." 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 you.

Kiwami $508 Gift Certificate

The new Kiwami Spider trisuit and Kona Wings top is the ultimate combo for all races distances. The recipient will receive a $508 gift certificate redeemable for their choice of either the front-zip Spider LD1 or the back-zip Spider WS1 triuit and either the short sleeve or long sleeve Kona Wings top. 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. On their tops, they add, Validated after intensive wind tunnel testing, Kiwami's short sleeved Kona Wings will offer you free speed. With its unique and very breathable fabric, this top will let you speed through the wind and reduce drag to its minimum.

Silca WBR-edition Super Pista Pump and Tool Kit

Josh Poertner was the technical director at Zipp for many years before leaving to revive and reimagine venerable Italian inflation company Silca. Silca is a small company, but one with incredible values. Ultimately, they believe that perfection can be found (and sometimes created) in the details of everything that any of us do. They support their products with spares and replacement parts for as long as possible, because they know that the perfect pump is yours. It's the one you've had as long as you can remember. The one that's never let you down, the one that's dirty and battered, the one that appears on so many of your great stories, from so many great trips, and so many great rides with so many great friends. Perfection. Silca has donated: 1x SuperPista pump & HX-One tool kit (MSRP $575). Reimagining the iconic SILCA SuperPista was a transformative experience a small company like Silca. But they have enjoyed untold enthusiasm and support from SILCA fans worldwide through this process as they designed and developed. Hundreds of thoughts and opinions were solicited through their website as well as their Facebook page as they worked. What became clear through the process was that to SILCA users, the floor pump is not just another tool in the garage, it represents an important cycling ritual in their lives. For the HX-One, Silca had to start with the finest S-2 Tool Steel, a shock resistant steel which has been refined by Swiss and German toolmakers for the optimal balance of strength, hardness, shock resistance and dimensional control. S-2 yields stronger tools with much harder surfaces for prolonged tool AND fastener life. The keys are then coated with thin-dense Chrome, a process generally reserved for mold tool components or optical grade surfaces inside molding tools. This coating provides the hardest, most dimensionally stable finish possible on each hex key. Finally, each tool is spray coated with a high-grip, high-visibility textured polymer finish for maximum grip and control. No more dropping your tools with greasy fingers or losing them on your workbench!

ROKA Sports 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 cycling apparel, and we are proud to have two donations from them. A swim package featuring: a maverick pro wetsuit, viper pro swimskin, sim pro training short, and their new R1 goggle as well as a pair of their brand new super-functional and super-cool Phantom aviator glasses.. ROKA's self-appointed mission to help athletes #FindFaster has led them to rethink the way in which every product they approach is made. Their flagship Maverick Pro wetsuit is an amazing suit that is truly a pleasure to swim in. "We put everything we know and love into the Maverick Pro - no compromises. We built the suit from the ground up, focusing first on panel construction and materials that truly would make you faster. We leveraged physics, the world's fastest materials, 30+ years of elite swimming experience, and common sense. There's nothing like it on the market. The Maverick is an easy speed machine in a sea of flotation devices. The patent pending design will get you to T1 faster and fresher than the competition. We won't line up without one. Once you try it, neither will you." Their swimskins have been at or near the front in Kona since they were first introduced and have helped numerous athletes to PRs in the water. They bring that same passion to their recently launched eyewear line, all of which is designed to look good, fit great, and just work.

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.

Zipp 454 NSW wheel set

Zipp’s new 454 NSW Carbon Clincher is radical by design, evolutionary by nature. In the natural world, creatures are honed over generations to achieve a competitive edge within their environment. The result of this natural design process is adaptation − new shapes and forms that achieve a higher degree of efficiency and control.

Utilizing the principles of the emerging science of biomimicry, Zipp engineers studied the environment around them for instances of how nature solved similar problems of speed, control, and efficiency for the next generation of Zipp wheels. Think of a humpback whale’s fast but graceful movements thanks to the special features on the leading edge of its pectoral fins, or the unique micro texture of a shark’s skin, which gives it the ability to glide effortlessly through the water. These structures inspired Zipp advanced development engineers to, for the first time, systematically apply biomimicry to solve the complex challenge of designing a wheel that reduces both aerodynamic drag and side force.

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.

dome BEAUTY package

dome is designed for real women. EVERYONE. EVERYDAY. EVERY OCASSION. We invite you to simplify your beauty choices and express yourself by stepping into the dome difference. dome BEAUTY’s goal is to empower the real you as you take on real life.

However, you define your own beauty, the most subtle application of dome can help the REAL YOU shine through. dome is developed with REAL Life in mind. dome will last as long as your day so you can flow seamlessly from the gym to the office to home or a night on the town. Our products are inspired by the genuine need to simplify color selection, streamline application, and provide bulletproof REAL Products made to last.

Your gift set (retail value of $603) will include:
- Eye Jewels - Radiant Mouse Shadow (7 shades)
- Diamond Shadows Brilliant Eye Color (9 shades)
- Magnetic Mascara
- Black Out Eye Liner
- Eye Brush Set

Like a perfectly cut diamond, our EYE JEWELS (7 shades) glisten in the light of day and dark of night. The soft-to-the-touch finish allows for an effortless application and stays bulletproof once dry. Layer on our DIAMOND SHADOWS for a touch of extra decadence. Our curated range of 6 shades look dazzling on every skin tone.

Our glistening DIAMOND SHADOWS (9shades) have versatile formulas to be worn day and night. These brilliant gems won’t streak or crease. Our pigmented DIAMOND SHADOWS look lustrous on every skin tone and are available in 9 wearable shades.

VOLUME. LE VOLUME. VOLUMEN, Magnetic Mascara represents VOLUME in every language. With an extraordinary brush design that grabs and coats every lash, creating a supernatural effect that is out of this world. Powered by next generation ingredients, Keratrix™; to repair damage and maintain elasticity and Widelash™; to lengthen and strengthen.

A unique cream to cake formula, BLACK OUT eye liner defines your eyes in one stroke. Create a subtle line for day or a thicker line for night. You take control for the eyes of your dreams.

An EYE BRUSH SET which includes the EYE BLENDER, EYE SHADOW AND EYE LINER brushes wrapped in our exclusive dome BEAUTY BRUSH ARMOR protect your tools everywhere you go. The dome EYE BRUSH SET is perfect.

E-118 NEXT frameset (size S or M only)

The Argon 18 E-118 NEXT is the THE TIME TRIAL BIKE OF UNCONTESTED CHAMPIONS. With a time trial win by Team BORA – Argon 18 at the Giro del Trentino, and many more podium finishes in 2015, the E-118 Next is undoubtedly your best ally for shaving off those precious seconds. Its fully integrated front end is stiff and light. What’s more, it features our ONEness 3.0 concept and reversible carbon handlebar for the most aerodynamic rider positioning ever offered.

Superior adjustability. Total integration. A strong start for a podium finish.

N.B. - this is a frameset only, not the complete bike as pictured. Size Small or Medium only. Also, not really germane to this, but Argon 18 is not my new bike sponsor. This generous prize comes as a result of amazing Slowtwitch-er and engineer extraordinaire Marc Graveline. So thank you to Marc for making this happen.

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